Online Medical Assisting Associate Degree

Overview

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Medical assistants work side by side physicians with patients and perform basic clinical and administrative tasks. Medical assistants often prepare patients for examination by recording a patient’s medical history and measuring vital signs. They may also perform administrative tasks such as imputing patient information into an electronic health record system or scheduling appointments.

An online medical assisting associate degree will prepare students to complete a medical assistant certification exam and obtain an entry-level medical assistant position. While most states do not have any formal education requirements for medical assistants, most employers prefer formal training and certification, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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Course Work

Example courses
Medical terminology
Pharmacology
Human anatomy and physiology
Medical office management
Medical ethics and law
Clinical procedures
Medical coding systems and billing

Students in a two-year online medical assisting associate degree program can complete a combination of course work in medical terminology, clinical procedures and medical administration. In clinical courses students will learn how to measure vital signs, complete regulatory lab tests and sterilize medical instruments. They may also learn how to fill out insurance forms and provide instruction to patients on prescribed medication and diet restrictions.

An online medical assisting associate degree program cannot be completed entirely online as students are required to complete an unpaid, supervised on-site medical assistant practicum at an approved health care facility. The hands-on training is meant to enhance students' patient relation and clinical skills.

Job Outlook

Potential certifications*
Registered medical assistant
National certified medical assistant
Certified medical assistant
Certified clinical medical assistant

*per the BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook

Medical assistants generally work at hospitals, clinics, physician’s offices or nursing homes. As baby boomers age and require more medical care, the health care industry will continue to expand and additional medical assistants will be needed to assist at health care facilities with administrative and clinical duties. Employment of medical assistants is expected to grow 31 percent by 2020, according to the BLS.

Most employers prefer medical assistants to become certified. Certification can be obtained through a number of professional organizations, including the American Association of Medical Assistants and American Medical Technologists, among others. Professionals generally have to pass an exam in order to become certified. Eligibility requirements to take the certification exam vary, but most can be fulfilled by completion of an accredited medical assisting education program.  

The median salary for a medical assistant is about $29,000, according to the BLS.

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