The Best Online Colleges for Medical Assistants

If you’re looking for the best online colleges for medical assistants, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve put together a list of the top schools based on factors like accreditation, affordability, and course offerings.

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Why Medical Assistants are in Demand

Medical assistants are in high demand due to the aging Baby Boomer population and the Affordable Care Act which has increased patient access to medical care.

Medical assistants play a vital role in supporting physicians and other healthcare providers. They perform a variety of administrative and clinical tasks to keep the office running smoothly.

Medical assistants typically have an associate’s degree or certificate from an accredited program. Some states require certification, but not all. Many employers prefer to hire certified medical assistants.

If you’re interested in becoming a medical assistant, check out our list of the best online colleges for medical assistants. These schools offer accredited programs that can be completed 100% online.

How to Become a Medical Assistant

There are many ways to become a medical assistant, but the most common route is to earn a certificate or diploma from an accredited program. Some schools offer associate degrees in medical assisting, but these are not as common. Most accredited programs can be completed in one year or less, and some schools offer online programs that allow you to complete your studies at your own pace.

Once you have completed an accredited program, you will need to pass an exam administered by the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) to earn your certification. Upon passing the exam, you will be registered with the National Registry of Medical Assistants and will be eligible to begin working in most states. Some states require additional certification or licensure, so be sure to check the requirements in your state before beginning your job search.

What are the Best Online Colleges for Medical Assistants?

When it comes to finding the best online colleges for medical assistants, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. The most important factor is accreditation. Make sure the school you’re considering is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). Both of these organizations are recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, so you can be sure that your degree will be respected by employers.

Another important consideration is the curriculum. Make sure that the program you’re considering covers all of the topics you’ll need to know for your certification exam, including Medical Terminology anatomy and physiology, administrative skills, and clinical procedures. And finally, make sure that the program offers plenty of opportunity for hands-on experience in a real-world medical setting.

With all of this in mind, here are our picks for the best online colleges for medical assistants:

What is the Medical Assistant Job Outlook?

The job outlook for medical assistants is positive, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics projecting a 23% growth in employment opportunities from 2016 to 2026. This is much faster than the average for all occupations. The aging Baby Boomer population and the increasing demand for preventive medical services are expected to lead to an increased need for healthcare services in general, and medical assistants in particular. Medical assistants can find work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, clinics, physician’s offices, and other healthcare facilities.

What is the Median Salary for Medical Assistants?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for medical assistants in 2018 was $33,610 per year, or $16.17 per hour. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $23,650, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $48,790.

What are the Top-Paying States for Medical Assistants?

In order to become a medical assistant, you will need to have at least a high school diploma or equivalent. Although some medical assistant positions may only require on-the-job training, many employers prefer candidates who have completed an accredited medical assistant program. These programs typically take about one year to complete and include both classroom and clinical instruction.

While most medical assistants work in physician’s offices, some also work in hospitals, clinics, or other healthcare facilities. Where you work will often dictate the hours you work as well as your duties. Medical assistants who work in physicians’ offices often have more regular hours, while those who work in hospitals or other 24-hour facilities may be required to work evenings, weekends, or holidays.

The duties of a medical assistant can vary depending on the size and type of the healthcare facility in which they work as well as the specific needs of the physician or practitioners they support. However, there are some common tasks that all medical assistants perform such as taking and recording patients’ vital signs, updating and filing patients’ medical records scheduling appointments, handling correspondence, coding and billing insurance forms, and preparing patients for examinations. Many medical assistants also perform basic laboratory tests and collect and prepare tissue samples for examination under a microscope.

Medical assistants are one of the fastest-growing occupations in the United States According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of medical assistants is projected to grow 29 percent from 2016 to 2026—much faster than the average for all occupations. The BLS reports that the median annual salary for medical assistants was $31,540 in May 2016.

While most medical assistants work full time, some positions may be part time or offer flexible schedules. Medical assistants who are paid hourly may earn more depending on the number of hours they work. In addition, those who work evenings or weekends may receive premium pay for their efforts

What are the Top-Employing Industries for Medical Assistants?

There are many different industries that employ medical assistants, but some are more common than others. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the industries that employed the most medical assistants in 2018 were as follows:

-Offices of physicians: This industry employs the largest number of medical assistants, with over 570,000 working in this environment. Medical assistants in this setting may perform a variety of tasks, including greeting patients, scheduling appointments, and handling insurance paperwork.
-Hospitals; state, local, and private: Over 310,000 medical assistants are employed in hospitals across the country. In this setting, they may work alongside nurses and doctors to provide patient care.
-Outpatient care centers: Medical assistants who work in outpatient care centers may be responsible for tasks such as recording patient vital signs and administering medications. There were over 160,000 medical assistants employed in this industry in 2018.
-Offices of other health practitioners: This industry includes a variety of settings such as chiropractic offices and optometry offices. Medical assistants who work in these settings may performs tasks such as maintaining Medical records and scheduling appointments.

What are the Job Duties of a Medical Assistant?

Medical assistants typically do the following:
-Take and record patients’ medical histories
-Measure patients’ vital signs, such as blood pressure and weight
-Explain treatment procedures to patients
-Prepare patients for examination
-Assist the physician during examination and procedures
-Schedule appointments
-Handle laboratory tasks, such as taking x rays or removing casts
-Code medical records for insurance reimbursement
-Perform administrative duties, such as handling correspondence, answering telephones, and managing billing

What are the Education Requirements for Medical Assistants?

Medical assistants are allied health professionals who perform a variety of administrative, clinical, and basic lab tasks in outpatient care facilities. They typically work in doctors’ offices, clinics, and hospitals. In order to become a medical assistant, one must complete an accredited postsecondary medical assisting program. These programs usually take about a year to complete and lead to a certificate or diploma. Some programs may lead to an associate degree.

What are the Certification Requirements for Medical Assistants?

There are no formal education requirements to become a certified medical assistant, but most employers prefer to hire candidates who have completed an accredited medical assistant program. These programs typically last between three and four months and cover topics such as human anatomy, medical billing and coding, and medical office administration.

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