Best Online Medical Assisting Programs

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Medical assistants play a crucial role in at physician offices, clinics hospitals and other medical care facilities. Their primary responsibilities include assisting and providing comfort for patients while augmenting the quality and scope of their employer’s healthcare provisions.

There are several routes for pursuing certification as a medical assistant. Online associate degree programs offer a convenient, flexible alternative to traditional classroom education while maintaining the same curricular standards and positive student outcomes as their brick-and-mortar counterparts. Key areas of study in an associate-level medical assistant program include medical examinations, laboratory procedures, first aid/CPR and staff management, as well as the latest platforms for managing medical records, patient billing and insurance.

Below, you’ll find our list of the country’s best online medical assistant programs. Each of the following schools is ranked according to its academic strengths, learning goals, course offerings and online classroom experience. As you research online programs in this rewarding field, be sure to take a look at these top medical assistant programs online.

2016 Online Education Trends Report: Learn how online programs are changing the face of higher education.

Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost Graduation Rate Location Description

Olney Central College

 2/548.7%Olney, IL


The Medical Office Assistant degree at Olney Central College is a 68-credit program that can be completed almost entirely online in four semesters. Two internship requirements must be fulfilled in-person after the first year in the program. Graduates are equipped with the ability to effectively communicate with patients, transcribe and manage medical records and fulfill office administrative tasks such as filing and making appointments.

Olney uses the Desire2Learn LMS to deliver its online course materials. Once they have login credentials for the school, students can take a free introduction to online learning course that will help them determine if online learning is right for them. Students will earn half a credit hour for completing the course. Online students can access their classes nearly every day of the year, at any time that fits their schedules, and they can utilize several student services such as advising, tech support and library access.

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Minnesota State Community and Technical College

 2/533.08%Fergus Falls, MN


Minnesota State offers a medical office assistant AAS degree which provides career training for students aspiring to land administrative positions within the healthcare industry. The 44-hour program combines courses in medical terminology, medical coding, and office technology with training in basic clerical skills, including patient registration, appointment-setting, and personal communication. Students will also study introductory anatomy and disease processes and functions. Graduates must complete a combined curriculum of required courses and restricted electives to fulfill all AAS requirements.

Applicants to M State’s online medical assistant program are required to complete developmental prerequisites in reading, writing, and math. Online coursework can be accessed through the SpartanNet student portal. The AAS medical office assistant program is offered entirely online through its eCampus, as well as at M State’s Moorhead and Wadena campuses.

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Minnesota West Community and Technical College

 2/549.68%Granite Falls, MN


Minnesota West offers a medical administrative secretary AAS degree which provides training in how to maintain discretion while performing clerical duties for a medical office. The program comprises 60 credit hours and includes coursework in both general education and optional electives. The recommended course sequence begins with basic human anatomy and disease conditions and progresses to include increasingly advanced courses in business, machines and transcription, medical office procedures, and management.

Applicants to this school’s online medical assistant certification program must have a high school diploma or GED. Once granted admission, students are required to take a college assessment test and complete an orientation course. Online coursework is delivered through D2L Brightspace. Non-degree-seeking students may take courses individually online or as part of a comprehensive degree or certificate plan.

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Keiser University-Ft Lauderdale

 3/554.95%Fort Lauderdale, FL


The 60-credit, Medical Assisting Science degree at Keiser can be completed fully online with the exception of a five-credit externship that is fulfilled at the end of the program. Through instruction in pharmacology, medical law and ethics, office management and procedures and more, students are prepared to take the Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) credentialing exam. Upon graduation, they will have the skills necessary for office administration, assisting physicians and preparing insurance claims.

Kaiser uses Blackboard for online course delivery. Once logged in to the system, students have access to their school email, digital library and a 24/7 tech help desk. Students communicate with their instructors and classmates through email, discussion boards and class wikis. They can turn on notifications to alert them when assignments are approaching their due dates, and a to do list is automatically populated for each class to keep students organized and on top of assignments. To explore Blackboard’s interface, log in as a guest with kudemo as username and password.

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Northland Community and Technical College

 2/535.01%Thief River Falls, MN


Northland offers an AAS medical assistant program to prepare students for entry-level employment in a variety of professional settings, including hospitals, clinics, or government agencies. Through completion of 60 course credit hours, the AAS program provides foundational instruction in medical language applications, electronic health records, business communications, and more. Students may also select an additional elective course from NCTC-recommended topics in public speaking or interpersonal communications.

Students enrolled in the medical assistant online program at NCTC must complete specific core requirements in order to earn their degree. Whether the student has satisfied these prerequisites through previous college credits or is taking the courses at NCTC, they must receive a “C” grade or better in each course to meet graduation requirements. Online coursework is delivered through D2L Brightspace. The suggested course sequence includes four to six courses over four semesters.

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Alexandria Technical & Community College

 2/558.27%Alexandria, MN

With the exception of a student orientation and an internship, the Medical Administrative Specialist AAS can be completed fully online. This 70-credit program, which can be completed in two years, is designed to prepare students to take the national certification exam from the National Healthcareer Association. Students take a combination of classes that give them the skills to manage and organize an office, work closely with other people and create and transcribe medical records. They graduate with a basic knowledge of human anatomy, technical writing and ICD coding.

ATCC is a member of Distance Minnesota, an organization that provides access to online courses and programs across the state using the Desire2Learn LMS. Students enrolled in ATCC's medical administrative program can use Distance Minnesota's resources, including tools to help with time, money and stress management. Through the D2L platform, students access all course materials, communicate with their professors and classmates on discussion boards and take quizzes.

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Minnesota State College – Southeast Technical

 2/530.31%Winona, MN

Southeast Technical’s AAS medical administrative assistant degree combines general education and technical coursework to provide training with a unique emphasis in humanities, liberal arts, and social science. The 60-hour program includes courses in pharmacology, advanced medical machine transcription, medical office procedures, and legal and ethical aspects of healthcare information. Students are required to fulfill prerequisites in some courses involving math, writing and/or reading comprehension skills as they relate to core coursework in billing, coding and transcriptioning in this program.

Applicants to the medical assistant program online at Southeast Technical must have a high school diploma or GED and schedule a time to take a placement exam approved by the school. Students enrolled in the online AAS degree in medical assisting must meet minimum course goals in liberal arts and sciences specific to the curriculum, as required by Southeast Technical administration. Online coursework is delivered through D2L Brightspace.

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Dakota College at Bottineau

 1/523.81%Bottineau, ND

The Medical Assistant AAS at DCB is a two-year program that is, with the exception of an internship, completed entirely online. Students are exposed to information regarding human anatomy, medical transcription, procedure and diagnostic coding, office management, CPR and human relations. Upon earning the AAS, graduates are eligible to take the American Medical Technologists (AMT) certification exam.

Students at Dakota College use the Moodle LMS to access materials for their courses at Bottineau, as well as online classes offered at other North Dakota University System schools. Online tests and quizzes are taken using Respondus LockDown Browser to ensure student honesty while working through the questions.

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Rochester Community and Technical College

 2/519.89%Rochester, MN

Rochester’s online AAS medical administrative assistant degree is one of several comprehensive career/technical programs offered by the school in this field. The online medical assistant degree comprises 60 credit hours and introduces students to medical terminology, medical transcription, business communications, microcomputer business applications and more. Students may take courses individually or as part of Rochester’s AAS degree in medical administrative assisting; additional available programs include a medical administrative assistant diploma as well as an AS degree.

Applicants should have satisfactory reading and math skills, as well as the desire to improve their problem-solving abilities. The suggested course sequence begins in the fall and runs through the spring semester, though some courses are available during the summer term. Students may complete the program on a full-time or part-time schedule according to their preference; part-time students may begin in any semester. Online coursework is delivered through D2L Brightspace.

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There is no shortage of job opportunities for medical assistants, and as the baby boomer generation continues to age, the demand for qualified medical assisting professionals will remain in the years to come. Associate degree-holding medical assistants can also capitalize on their knowledge of digitized medical services and programs, skills that older medical assistants may not have. Medical assistant programs online teach students how to use internet-based medical billing and coding programs, along with electronic health records management systems.

Those who graduate from an online program in this field may begin their career in a number of entry-level positions. Some of the most common paths for associate degree-holding medical assistants include the following roles:

Clinical Medical Assistant: Before a doctor sees a patient, medical assistants first collect their personal information and take their vital signs. Assistants are taught how to use clinical instruments, and they may also perform some administrative functions. These duties include reading and interpreting medical diagnoses and coding, answering questions from patients and managing patient billing information.

Medical Administrative Assistant: Medical administrative assistants provide clerical support to physicians and office managers in a hospital, clinic or other healthcare facility. Day-to-day responsibilities for these assistants include answering phones and making appointments, managing medical records, processing bills and verifying insurance claims.

Medical Office Manager: In large practices and hospitals, office managers keep their facility running smoothly by supervising secretaries and administrative assistants as they perform their regular assignments. In smaller clinics, medical managers are responsible for providing full administrative support for physicians and nurses. Medical office managers must also set appointments, organize patient records, communicate with doctors and patients and process insurance claims and billing reports.

Medical Receptionist: Medical receptionists are primarily responsible for answering phones at a healthcare facility and setting patient appointments. Like administrative assistants, receptionists must be flexible and adaptable to whatever is required of them on the job. Receptionists must stay on top of all forms of patient communication, communicating calmly and warmly with clients in-person and over the phone.

The following table shows the median annual salaries for each of the four positions listed above, as well as projected growth rates for that career path over the next 10 years.

PositionMedian Annual SalaryProjected Growth Rate
Clinical Medical Assistant$29,96023%
Medical Administrative Assistant$35,9703%
Medical Office Manager$83,7908%
Medical Receptionist$26,76010%

Though employers generally prefer to hire certified assistants with work experience, most states do not require certification for medical assisting jobs. An online medical assistant program delivers comprehensive training in the field in lieu of an in-person practicum requirement, thoroughly preparing graduates to work in a variety of healthcare settings.

Despite the relative affordability of online programs, the need for financial aid is still a reality for most students. But rest assured, loans aren’t your only option. Explore our collection of financial aid resources or dig into one of the following guides to read more about financing your education.

Understanding the FAFSA

Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the first and most crucial step for any student seeking financial aid. Follow our step-by-step guide for answers to frequently asked questions.

Financial Aid for Online College Students

Financial aid for online learning is equivalent to what you’ll find for campus-based learning, but that hasn’t always been the case. Learn about the changes that have taken place and funding opportunities for online students.

Scholarships for Women

Online programs can provide an affordable and flexible option for women trying to balance the demands of work, family, and earning their degree. We’ve curated a list of valuable scholarships specifically for women.

Scholarships for Single Parents

Online programs can provide an affordable and flexible option for single parents looking for a more secure financial future for their children. We’ve compiled a list of scholarships for these hard-working parents.

Financial Aid for Veterans and Active Military

Millions in education benefits are available for veterans and active members of the military. Unfortunately, much of this goes unused. Find out if you’re entitled to help with college and start planning for your future.