Medical assistant schools online are growing in popularity as the need for qualified workers continues to increase.
While it is still possible to become a medical assistant with a high schools diploma and on-the-job training, more employers are looking for assistants with formal medical training through a certificate or degree program.
While there are great online programs out there, not all of them are recognized by American Medical Technologists, the organization that provides medical assistant certification through an exam process.
What to Look For In Medical Assistant Schools Online
There are two nationally-recognized accrediting agencies that are recognized by the United States Department of Education. These are the Accreditation Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) and the Commission on Accredited Allied Health Education Programs.
Obtaining a degree or certificate from an accredited medical assisting school online will automatically allow graduates to sit for the American Medical Technologists exam and become a registered medical assistant. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be eligible to take the exam until completing five years of on the job training.
Degree or Certificate Program?
Many medical assistant schools online will offer either a degree or certificate program. A degree program will typically take longer to complete, about two years instead of a few months.
There are advantages to pursuing an associate degree over an occupational certificate. Earning a degree will make it easier to return to school and pursue an advanced degree, such as a master’s or bachelor’s degree.
On the other hand, a certificate program can prepare students to enter the field faster. Many people complete certificate programs in as little as six months, making it an appealing option for anyone who wants to make a career change quickly without investing a lot of time and money into schooling.
Where to Find Medical Assistant Schools Online
Most accredited programs are offered through vocational schools, community colleges and universities. It is not mandatory to attend a formal training program, but your odds of getting hired and earning a decent salary will improve dramatically with a formal education.
How many courses are available online will depend on the school you choose. While some may offer programs completely online, other schools may require you to take a few classes in person, such as those that require the use of medical equipment or laboratory training.
How Much Will School Cost?
The price of medical assistant schools online can vary dramatically. You can expect to pay more for an accredited program, but the services and quality of education you’ll receive in return are well worth the investment. Junior colleges and community colleges typically offer tuition at a reasonable price. You’ll also have access to scholarships and financial aid.
Private medical schools online offer the convenience of studying online at your own pace. This is an important factor for students will full-time jobs or family obligations.
How Much Does a Medical Assistant Make
The salary potential for medical assistants will vary from state to state. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median wage for medical assistants is around $28,860. However, as demands for educated, highly certified workers grows salaries are expected to rise.
Assistants working in hospitals an expect to earn a bit more, roughly $30,770 annually. The job is also more demanding in a hospital setting, many workers are expected to work long hours, evening, weekend and even overnight shifts.