Do you love the healthcare industry? Helping people in need is indeed rewarding. The good news is you can earn a medical assistant associate degree entirely online in a school near you.
Online programs are becoming increasingly popular for their flexibility and relatively lower cost compared to traditional on-campus programs. You can now earn a medical assistant degree online from home while working or taking care of your family.
This article aims to educate you on online medical assistant programs in the simplest form.
What do medical assistants do?
A medical assistant’s work is different from a nursing assistant. Nurses work directly with patients on clinical and medical issues. On the other hand, medical assistants help keep patient records, billing information, manage appointments, liaise with insurance companies, laboratories, and much more.
You would also work with doctors, nurses, and other technicians with minor clinical tasks like explaining procedures, running tests, and lab work from time-to-time.
Your job setting is most likely in a hospital, doctor’s office, laboratory, chiropractic office, or nursing home.
How do you become a medical assistant?
Let us be clear about what it takes to be a medical assistant. Many job openings accept candidates with a high school diploma and on-the-job training. Some states do not even require candidates to hold professional certification. However, persons with a certificate, professional certification, or an associate degree have wider career choices.
With a medical assistant associate degree, you will be in a position to take industry certification exams to be professionally certified. Popular certifications include:
- Registered Medical Assistant (RMA)
- Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA)
- National Certified Medical Assistant (NCMA).
Graduates with a medical assistant degree online can later pursue a bachelor’s degree in nursing and various laboratory technology fields. Most employers tend to hire people with a bachelor’s degree, which qualifies you for higher pay.
Is there a demand for medical assistants?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) forecast the demand for medical assistants to expand by 19 percent from 2019 to 2029, i.e. more rapid than average. Meaning, 139,200 more medical assistants will be required during the same period.
The median pay for medical assistants for 2019 was $34,800 per annum.
What is an online medical assistant associate degree program?
For most people, an associate degree is a stepping stone to a bachelor’s degree. Medical assistants typically hold an associate of applied science (AAS) in health science or medical assisting.
Students will be proficient in medical billing and coding, sterile techniques, and patient care during the associate degree program. Some programs also offer concentration choices in cardiology, dermatology, obstetrics, and gynecology.
Duration and costs
An online medical assistant associate degree program is typically a 60 credit program running over four semesters. You can complete the program online in 24 months or less.
Most programs have an externship module where you will gain hands-on training in medical practice. This externship is probably the only time you will do offline work. A certified medical assistant, nurse, or medical doctor will supervise you during the practicum, typically over the 160 hours of clinical experience.
Among the cheaper online medical assistant associate degree program costs $79 per credit. Of course, this depends a lot on the online college curriculum, location, and various other student services scope.
A medical assistant online degree certainly opens doors for you to get into the healthcare industry. With many online colleges offering various concentrations, you are in an excellent position to be professionally certified in a career path you love.