Medical Assisting & Degree Programs
- Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Accessed September 2017, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/
- Medical Assisting, Ogeechee Technical College, Accessed September 2017, http://www.ogeecheetech.edu/584
- Medical Assisting, Kennebec Valley Community College, Accessed September 2017, http://www.kvcc.me.edu/Pages/Medical-Assisting/Medical-Assisting-Home
- Medical Assisting, Pamlico Community College, Accessed September 2017, http://www.pamlicocc.edu/programs-medicalassisting.php
- Healthcare Assistant CTI Program, Clovis Community College, Accessed September 2017, http://www.clovis.edu/cti/healthcareassistant.aspx
- Medical Assistant, Mountain State College, Accessed September 2017, http://www.msc.edu/programs-of-study/medicalassistant
- Medical Assistant, Renton Technical College, Accessed September 2017, https://rtc.edu/medical-assistant
- Medical Assisting Diploma, Southeastern Technical College, Accessed September 2017, http://www.southeasterntech.edu/academics/program.php?id=1058
- Medical Assisting Program, Forrest College, Accessed September 2017, https://forrestcollege.edu/ma-head/
- Medical Assisting Program, North Seattle College, Accessed September 2017, https://resources.northseattle.edu/programs/medical-assistant
- Medical Assisting, Lanier Technical College, Accessed September 2017, http://www.laniertech.edu/AcademicPrograms/LTCPrograms.aspx?id=26
- Scholarship of Excellence Program, ASAHP, Accessed September 2017, http://www.asahp.org/scholarship/
- Outstanding Student Award, AMT, Accessed September 2017, http://www.americanmedtech.org/Portals/0/PDF/Schools/outstanding%20student%20guidlines.pdf
- Maxine Williams Scholarship Fund, AAMA, Accessed September 2017, http://www.aama-ntl.org/about/endowment/scholarship-fund
Performing duties that are part clinical and part administrative, medical assistants are crucial to the smooth operation of many health care offices and facilities. Assistants are called upon to do intake services for patients, such as gathering information and measuring vital signs. They can also help physicians with exams, prepare blood samples and schedule appointments.
Medical assistants have a job that could see significant growth in the years to come. Between an aging population of baby boomers and an increase in chronic conditions, the medical field will need qualified support workers to provide care efficiently and effectively.
To land one of these jobs, you'll need proper training. While you can find online medical assisting degrees, this is a hands-on field so most programs require some in-person instruction in addition to online classes. Graduates from properly accredited medical assisting degree programs can apply for a Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) designation, the most common credential in the field.
Best Colleges for Medical Assisting Degree Programs
When it comes to the top schools for medical assisting, you'll find community and technical colleges dominate the list. That may be because these two-year schools typically focus on programs designed for career-minded students.
Here's a look at the best colleges for medical assisting according to a methodology that considered everything from tuition to program prominence.
Ogeechee Technical College takes the number one spot when it comes to top schools for medical assisting. Known as Ogeechee Tech, this two-year college is part of the Technical College System of Georgia. It was established in 1986 and enrolls more than 2,700 students.
For those interested in a career as a medical assistant, Ogeechee Tech offers a medical assisting diploma as well as a medical office support specialist certificate. The diploma program includes a practicum that covers a minimum of 270 hours in a supervised work setting, and graduates are eligible to sit for the CMA exam.
Like other two-year schools, Ogeechee Technical College offers affordable tuition rates. It also ranks high for its open admissions policy and student support services.
As one of seven community colleges in Maine, Kennebec Valley Community College has its campus in Fairfield. The school was organized in 1969 and has approximately 2,500 full and part-time students.
The medical assisting program at KVCC results in an Associate in Applied Science degree. The program is notable for its flexibility, making it a good choice for those interested in online degrees for medical assisting. Students can choose from online, night and weekend or on-campus classes. The program is designed to be completed in two or three years.
Kennebec Valley Community College also ranks high for the support it provides students, including academic advising and career placement services for graduates. Its open admissions policy means students won't have to wait to begin their education.
Another of the top colleges for medical assisting can be found in North Carolina. Pamlico Community College got its start as an industrial education center in 1962 and has since expanded to offer numerous degree programs.
At PCC, the medical assisting diploma program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs. That means graduates should have the chance to become Certified Medical Assistants should they choose.
Pamlico Community College ranks high for both its graduation rate and its affordable tuition rate. At 9-1, its student-faculty ratio is among the lowest on this list. PCC says its medical assisting program has had a 100 percent satisfaction rate among graduates and employers during the past five years.
Based in a New Mexico city bearing the same name, Clovis Community College offers both general education classes and technical training in a number of fields. The school can trace its roots back to 1969 when Eastern New Mexico University and Clovis Municipal Schools launched a collaborative effort to offer evening college classes at the local high school.
Today, students at CCC can study at night, on the weekends or during the day. There are also eight online programs offered. For those who are interested in medical assisting, the school offers a healthcare assistant program through its Career Technical Institute.
Clovis Community College ranks among the best colleges for medical assisting because of its affordable tuition. It has the lowest rate of any school on this list.
Mountain State College has a long history of educating students. It was founded in 1888 and has seen more than 50,000 students pass through its doors since its inception. Its campus is in Parkersburg, West Virginia.
The college ranks ninth for the prominence of its medical assisting program. MSC says students will graduate with all the knowledge needed for entry-level positions as a medical clinical assistant. The curriculum also prepares students to sit for the Certified Medical Assistant and the Certified Phlebotomy Assistant exams.
In addition to having a prominent program, MSC is one of the top schools for medical assisting thanks to its graduation rate. It ranks fifth for that metric among all the schools analyzed for this survey.
In 2015, Renton Technical College was named one of the ten best community colleges in the country according to non-profit education group The Aspen Institute. What's more, RTC regularly outperforms other community colleges when it comes to its retention and graduation rates.
The two-year college is based in Renton, Washington and was formed in 1941. Its medical assistant program has an average retention rate of 81 percent and a 97 percent graduate satisfaction rate over the past five years, according to the Medical Assisting Education Review Board.
Students selecting the RTC medical assistant program can earn either a certificate or an associate degree. There is also an opportunity to earn an associate degree with the option to transfer credits toward a four-year degree.
Formed in 1963, Southeastern Technical College was named Georgia's 2016 Technical College of the Year. It was a fitting honor for the school given that it had the highest growth among Georgia technical colleges and the second highest graduation rate at the time.
Medical assisting students first start in the school's medical administrative technician certificate program and then move on to earn a medical assisting diploma. Both programs are offered on the Swainsboro and Vidalia campuses of Southeastern Technical College. The certificate program is intended to last three semesters while a diploma can be earned in six semesters.
For these rankings, STC is also notable for its open admissions policy, student support services and low student-faculty ratio of 11-1.
Located in Anderson, South Carolina, Forrest College says it's a small school making a big difference. It was founded as The Carolina School of Commerce in 1946 and was later renamed Forrest College after an early owner.
Its accredited associate degree in medical assisting boasts an 82 percent retention rate and a 100 percent employer satisfaction rate over the past five years. The program's five-year job placement rate is 73 percent. Students who enroll in the program have the option of adding phlebotomy training to their curriculum.
On these rankings of best colleges for medical assisting degree programs, Forrest College shines for having the lowest student-faculty ratio at 8-1. It also has one of the best graduation rates among schools on this list.
Nearly 14,000 students attend North Seattle College each year, and they enroll for several reasons. Some are hoping to transfer credits toward a bachelor's degree at a university. Others, like many medical assisting students, are hoping to gain the skills needed to enter the workforce immediately.
The associate degree in medical assisting offered at North is intended to do just that. Students not only learn textbook knowledge but also gain hands-on experience in the college's lab. An externship is part of the program and provides the opportunity to work in some of the leading community clinics in the Seattle area. Among graduates who go on to take the CMA exam, the pass rate is nearly 96 percent.
North Seattle College is a public institution and part of the Seattle Colleges District.
With Lanier Technical College, the Technical College System of Georgia has yet another entry on this list of top colleges for medical assisting. LTC provides career-technical training, adult education and continuing education to residents near its Oakwood campus.
Its medical assisting programs include both a diploma and an associate degree in the field. While the diploma prepares students to become Certified Medical Assistants, the associate degree program builds on those skills so students can be more competitive in the jobs marketplace. Lanier Technical College also offers a phlebotomy certificate which may be of interest to future medical assistants.
LTC is notable in these rankings for its relatively low tuition rate, open admissions policy and various student support services.
Common Career Paths for Medical Assisting Majors
Students who want to become medical assistants typically earn either a diploma or an associate degree in the field. While either may result in a CMA designation, employers may prefer to hire those who a degree and more education.
Associate Degree Programs in Medical Assisting
Graduates who have an associate degree in medical assisting should be adequately prepared to carry out a number of administrative and clinical tasks within an office. In addition, they should graduate understanding the basics of patient confidentiality, effective communication and the legal scope of their work. After graduation, many people work in one of the following occupations.
Medical Assistant: While their duties vary by facility, medical assistants provide a number of critical services. They may gather information from patients, measure vital signs and help with examinations.
Phlebotomist: Medical assisting programs may include a phlebotomy component, allowing graduates to go on to work as phlebotomists. These professionals draw blood for testing or donation.
Surgical Technician: Some medical assistants may move on to become surgical technicians, also called technologists. These workers have a more hands-on role assisting surgeons in the operating room.
Career Outlook for Medical Assisting
Thanks to steady demand for health care, jobs for graduates of medical assisting degree programs should remain prevalent. Here's a closer look at the expected growth for a few of the common careers pursued by those in the field.
Expected Job Growth
|Occupational Therapy Assistants||38,170||$59,530||42.7%|
|Physical Therapist Assistants||85,580||$56,850||40.6%|
|Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapist Assistants and Aides||181,000||$48,410||40%|
|Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedics||244,960||$36,110||24.2%|
American Association of Medical Assistants: The AAMA administers the Certified Medical Assistant credential, provides members with education and networking opportunities, and advocates on behalf of the profession.
The American Registry of Medical Assistants: The ARMA offers a different credentialing opportunity in the field of medical assisting, that of a Registered Medical Assistant.
American Medical Technologists: As another credentialing organization, AMT offers certification for medical assistants as well as a number of other allied health professionals.
Financial Aid and Scholarships for Medical Assisting Degree Programs
The AAMA maintains the Maxine Williams Scholarship Fund to help pay for the education of deserving medical assistant students. The Association of Schools of Allied Health Professionals offers a Scholarship of Excellence for those enrolled at a member school, and AMT has an outstanding student award as well. These are just a few of the financial aid options available to those pursuing an education in medical assisting.
Automatically renewable if renewal criteria met.