2020-21: Best Value Certificate-Level Online Medical Assistant Programs

best valued certificate degreeBecoming a medical assistant is one path into an industry that is growing like gangbusters in the United States. According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the healthcare industry accounted for almost 18% of the entire Gross Domestic Product of the country in 2018. Healthcare also accounts for the largest sector of the American labor market, and that job share is only likely to continue increasing right along with the growing demand for healthcare services.

Driven by an aging population, demand for more advanced services, and a shortage of doctors, most healthcare employers are not only expecting to do a lot more hiring over the next decade, but will also be offering higher wages as a way to compete for the most qualified candidates. This is as true of medical assistants as it is of any other allied health profession, and perhaps even more, especially in the smaller clinics and private practices that have come to rely on them to keep the business running smoothly.

But the same factors that are driving those increases are also making it more important to get the right education. Healthcare has become highly technical and extremely complicated. A high school diploma just isn’t enough, even at the entry-level.

An online certificate program can help qualify you to perform those tasks and pull down the kind of paychecks you deserve as a medical assistant.

Does a Certificate Program Qualify You For Certification as a Medical Assistant?

Yes. Certificate programs in medical assisting not only give you the skills you need to serve as a vital member of private practice and other healthcare teams, they also meet the minimum education requirements for industry standard professional certification.

There’s a difference between earning a certificate and becoming certified, and that’s a point that often needs some clarification for people getting started in the field. An academic certificate is similar to earning a degree; it’s what you earn after completing your education and training through a community college or private vocational training program… Professional certification, on the other hand, is something you can choose to earn voluntarily through a third-party certification agency. It involves meeting certain education and training requirements to be considered a qualified candidate, and then passing a certification exam. An academic certificate in medical assisting meets the education and training requirements to become nationally certified.

Although certification is not a legal requirement for becoming a medical assistant, it’s a common requirement among many employers since it’s an easy way to identify the most qualified job candidates.

Although a certificate program is usually the fastest and least expensive option for meeting education requirements for professional certification, you can also fulfill it by earning a diploma or an associate’s degree in the field.

In the U.S., there are two organizations that offer certification for medical assistants:

Both the CMA and RMA credential require you to pass an examination and to undergo professional training from an accredited school. For the RMA, the school you attend must hold regional or national accreditation, which is a basic standard that every credible school in the U.S. meets. The CMA credential, on the other hand, requires that your certificate have specialty program-specific accreditation from CAAHEP or ABHES.

It’s important to note that not all certificate programs are automatically accepted for the CMA. Some schools have structured their courses to offer a low-cost certificate that serves as an introduction to the field, but does not fulfill all CMA requirements. Those schools instead treat the certificate as a pathway into a longer associate’s level program that they also offer.

For any certificate programs we feature on this list that don’t meet the CMA requirements, we note it clearly.

Will an Online Certificate Program Deliver the Training You Need to Become a Medical Assistant?

Online programs can be a huge advantage for anyone looking to become qualified as a medical assistant. They are typically less expensive than traditional options and much more flexible. It’s easy to hold down your current job and keep up with all your family duties when you can time-shift your courses to evenings or weekends, or tackle coursework whenever you have a couple hours to spare.

Medical education in patient-facing roles is very hands-on, however, so no medical assistant certificate program is truly offered 100% online. You’ll find that there are still certain courses and labs in patient care that require you to show up on-campus, and you’ll also be participating in an internship or practicum at some local medical facility to get the required real-world experience.

By combining those on-site classes with virtual courses using the latest technology in chatrooms, digital blackboards, online libraries, and video conferencing, you can get the best of both worlds, receiving the kind of hands-on training that gives you confidence in your new skills, while maintaining the kind of flexibility that allows you to complete your training while holding down a job or taking care of your family.

This is why, even for programs with online curriculum, we organized our list by state – even with online courses, you’re still going to want to go with a school that’s close to home. It’s worth noting that some schools with online programs do accept students in neighboring states where they have satellite campuses and clinical partnerships in place with local facilities for practicums and internships.

How Important is Accreditation in Medical Assistant Certificate Programs?

Very important!

First, in online programs, you have to trust the online curriculum and the delivery methods for those courses… The actual face-to-face time with instructors is limited – you may not even always be in the same state – so you want to be sure the course material itself has been thoroughly evaluated and signed-off on by a reliable accreditor.

That reliable accreditor would be one of the two specialty accreditation agencies that review and put their stamp of approval on top-quality medical assistant programs at all levels:

Both agencies are recognized by CHEA, the Council on Higher Education Accreditation, which validates accreditation bodies in the United States. That means you can trust their judgement on everything from faculty hiring standards and evaluation criteria, curriculum development and on-going improvement processes, to grading and appeals policies, and even school resources and facilities.

As specialty accreditors, they are particularly focused on evaluating programs according to the current standards and state-of-the-art in the healthcare industry. And that means delivering an education that will get you both certified and hired.

That’s why we use accreditation as the baseline for establishing quality in our value assessment… and so what you’ll find here are only the most affordable accredited programs.

Finding the Online Medical Assistant Certificate Programs That Offer the Best Value

Cost was king in our evaluation of accredited certificate programs when building this list so we only include programs that are below the state average in total program price. The only exceptions we made were for schools that offered the only online option in the area – if it was slightly higher than the state average but the only online program around, we went ahead and included it.

In cases where there’s only one school in a state offering medical assistant certificate programs, we weighed the tuition rate against other programs in the region to be sure that it was still within the range of what could be considered a low-cost program.

Because we look at both public and private schools, we separated the averages so that the cost comparisons are all like-to-like. Public schools are typically supported in part by tax dollars, which lowers their tuition rates overall. However, private schools may have more flexibility in how they develop curriculums, partner with outside agencies, and staff instructors, so they have some advantages that come with the generally higher tuition rates. Regardless, we include the lowest-cost option from each category in a state unless the cost is entirely out-of-line with regional norms.

We make recommendations on a state-by-state basis despite the fact that these programs are all offered online because the hands-on practicum requirements mean you will still have to spend at least some of your time on-site, either at the university or an approved hospital or medical center in the area.

Because all these programs hold specialty accreditation, we’re confident in their resources, academic standards, and the quality of faculty. However, we know that you are going to want to pick a program that lines up with your own personal preferences and goals. That’s why we’ve also made sure to note other important factors in each program, including aspects like:

  • Student graduation and placement rates
  • Special career coaching programs
  • Exemplary online learning systems
  • Topics of special interest that are taught

State-by-State Guide to the Most Affordable Accredited Online Medical Assistant Certificate Programs

With all the low-cost programs featured here, you’ll get all the information you need to make an informed decision in picking the right one for your needs. And just as importantly, you can be sure every single one of them represents the lowest cost fully-accredited online option available in the area.

Alaska / Arizona / Colorado / Florida / Idaho / Maine / Massachusetts / Michigan / Missouri / North Carolina / Ohio / Pennsylvania / Texas / Washington

Alaska

 

University of Alaska Southeast (PU)
Juneau, AK
Website

Medical Assisting Certificate (online)

Estimated program cost: $8,251
Only public program in Alaska offering an online option

  • All courses are available online for the best in convenience and flexibility
  • Part of the university’s esteemed School of Career Education, which is located at all university locations: Juneau, Ketchikan, and Sitka

This is the career preparation you’ve been searching for – at an incredible price! You’ll quickly learn the ins and outs of the medical assisting field through the University of Alaska Southeast’s comprehensive medical assisting program, which includes courses that cover both the administrative and clinical areas of the job. From medical terminology to records management to bookkeeping and insurance processing, this program will prepare you to become a valuable member of the healthcare team, all with convenient, online courses for the best in flexibility and convenience.

Arizona

 

Carrington College (PR)
Glendale/Mesa/Phoenix/Tucson, AZ
Website

Medical Assistant Certificate (on-campus, hybrid)

Estimated program cost: $14,028
Only private program in Arizona offering an online option

  • Blended course delivery ensures the finest in course flexibility
  • Program offered at all AZ Carrington campuses: Glendale, Mesa, Phoenix, and Tucson
  • Outstanding student support offered through the Student Success Center

In less than a year, the Carrington College medical assistant certificate program will take you from student to trusted member of the healthcare team – without breaking the bank! This affordable program, which can be taken at the school’s Glendale, Mesa, Phoenix, or Tucson campus, offers a blended course delivery that’s designed to accommodate your busy schedule. Carrington’s medical assisting certificate will train you in all aspects of the medical assisting profession, from the clerical and bookkeeping duties to the clinical duties that include everything from assisting with routine patient procedures to conducting a variety of diagnostic tests. Student support here is valued, so you’ll always have access to tutoring, academic support, and career assistance through the college’s Student Success Center.

Colorado

 

Colorado Mountain College (PU)
Glenwood Springs, CO
Website

Medical Assisting Certificate (hybrid)

Estimated program cost: $3,520
Only public program in Colorado offering an online option

  • Program features a combination of online and on-campus courses for the best in flexibility and convenience
  • Outstanding record of student success: As of 2017, program boasts a 100% job placement rate and a 100% exam pass rate

If you’re ready to explore the field of medical assisting, there’s no better value than Colorado Mountain College! But their medical assisting certificate program offers more than a truly impressive price tag—it also offers the convenience and flexibility you need through a blended course delivery. Online and on-campus courses, combined with exceptional, hands-on training will ensure that your first professional experience in medical assisting will be a positive and successful one! And Colorado Mountain doesn’t just claim to offer a top-notch program, they have the numbers to back it up. As of 2017, their medical assisting certificate program boasted a 100% job placement rate, 100% graduate satisfaction rate, 100% employer satisfaction rate, and a 100% exam pass rate!

Florida

 

McFatter Technical College (PU)
Clearwater, FL
Website

Medical Assisting Certificate (hybrid)

Estimated program cost: $3,640
Comparable to the state average for medical assistant certificate programs at public schools

  • Ten-month program features a combination of online and on-campus study for the best in flexibility and convenience
  • Outstanding support offered through the College’s Career Services Team

The McFatter Technical College medical assisting certificate packs an impressive punch! Not only does this program’s tuition fall very close to the state average for similar programs at public schools in Florida, it also comes with a hybrid course delivery that makes earning the education you need to become a medical assistant far more convenient than would be possible in a strictly campus-based program. In just ten months, McFatter Technical College will prepare you with everything you need for success in the field, including a two-month externship that will provide you with valuable, hands-on training. From anatomy and physiology to patient care techniques and bookkeeping, this medical assisting certificate program will ensure a smooth transition from the classroom to the field. And once you graduate, the school’s Career Services Team will prepare you for a successful transition into the profession!

 

Manatee Technical College (PU)
Bradenton, FL
Website

Medical Assisting Certificate (on-campus, hybrid)

Estimated program cost: $3,172
$234 less than the state average for medical assistant certificate programs at public schools

  • Program features an on-time completion rate of 100%
  • Manatee Technical boasts an 89% placement rate and 99% licensure rate

You won’t find a better value in medical assisting than Manatee Technical College, whose medical assisting certificate program falls well below the state average for similar programs at public schools. You’ll also be hard-pressed to find a program that boasts a better success rate than Manatee Technical. In fact, this 11-month program has a 100% on-time completion rate! From communication and interpersonal skills to clinical skills to the ins and outs of health, safety, and ethics, the Manatee Technical medical assisting certificate program comes with everything you need for success! You’ll feel good choosing Manatee Technical for your medical assisting education, as this school boasts an 89% placement rate and 99% licensure pass rate. For more than 50 years, Manatee Technical College has prepared a skilled workforce for business and industry.

Idaho

 

North Idaho College (PU)
Coeur d’Alene, ID
Website

Medical Assistant ITC (Intermediate Technical Certificate) (hybrid)

Estimated program cost: $6,627
Only public program in Idaho offering an online option

  • Option to continue your education through the school’s Medial Assistant AAS degree
  • Program features online theory, on-campus labs, and outstanding, hands-on experiences
  • Superb career counseling through the school’s College Career Services

The North Idaho College medical assistant ITC program offers the quality you’re looking for in career preparation– and at a great price! This comprehensive program, which is offered in a convenient, hybrid format, will prepare you in all areas of medical assisting, from bookkeeping and insurance processing to clinical tasks and front desk duties. You’ll also have the option of advancing your education through North Idaho’s medical assistant associate’s degree, if desired. Online theory, on-campus labs, and outstanding, hands-on experiences ensure you’ll be prepared to serve as a valuable member of the healthcare team, while the College Career Services department will provide you with the high-quality career counseling, resources, and education you’ll need to be successful!

Maine

 

Kennebec Valley Community College (PU)
Fairfield, ME
Website

Medical Assistant Certificate (on-campus, hybrid)

Estimated program cost: $3,384
Only public program in Maine offering an online option

  • Program boasts a 100% graduate satisfaction rate, a 100% employer satisfaction rate, and a 95% exam pass rate, as of 2017
  • Outstanding, hands-on learning through the school’s state-of-the-art Provider Practice Simulation Lab

If you’re looking for a comprehensive, affordable program that’ll take you from student to competent and trusted healthcare support professional, look no further than Kennebec Valley Community College’s medical assistant certificate program! Whether you’re providing direct patient care, performing diagnostic tests, or taking care of the office’s administrative duties, your job as a medical assistant is an important one. Through lectures and hands-on learning, both in the field and in the school’s state-of-the-art Provider Practice Simulation Lab, you’ll feel good knowing you’re receiving a top-notch education, and the numbers bear that out. In fact, as of 2017, this program earned a 100% graduate satisfaction rate, a 100% employer satisfaction rate, and a 95% exam pass rate!

Massachusetts

 

Greenfield Community College (PU)
Greenfield Community College (PU)
Website

Medical Assistant Certificate (hybrid)

Estimated program cost: $6,583
Only public program in Massachusetts offering an online option

  • Program features a blend of online courses on Saturdays in Northampton or Greenfield for the best in flexibility and convenience
  • Comprehensive curriculum includes exceptional hands-on experiences combined with online theory

In just one year, Greenfield Community College’s medical assistant certificate will take you from student to valuable member of the healthcare team. With a tuition that remains one of the lowest in the country and a hybrid course delivery that ensures the best in convenience and flexibility, Greenfield’s medical assistant program is truly everything you’d ever need for your career preparation! Choose this program and you’ll complete most of your classes online and then the rest on Saturday in Northampton or Greenfield. Hands-on experiences, online theory, and outstanding preparation are the hallmarks of this comprehensive program.

Michigan

 

Gogebic Community College (PU)
Ironwood/Houghton, MI
Website

Medical Assisting Certificate (hybrid)

Estimated program cost: $3,844
Only public program in Michigan offering an online option

  • Online and on-campus coursework are blended to produce a convenient, flexible program that can be completed in just two semesters
  • College offers outstanding student support, including peer tutoring, academic advising, and career assistance

You won’t find a medical assistant certificate program in Michigan that’s more affordable or more convenient than the Gogebic Community College medical assisting certificate! This full-time certificate program is two semesters long and includes a summer practicum where you’ll gain valuable, hands-on experience in a clinical setting. You’ll start in August and complete both online and on-campus courses for the best in flexibility. You’ll feel good about completing a program that is backed by the college’s esteemed reputation for producing vocational leaders since 1930.

Missouri

 

Columbia College (PR)
Columbia, MO
Website

Medical Assistant Certificate (hybrid)

Estimated program cost: $7,125
$3,778 less than the state average for medical assistant certificate programs at private schools

Blend of online and on-campus courses offer the best in flexibility and convenience

  • Outstanding career support offered through Grossnickle Career Services

Be prepared to be impressed! The Columbia College medical assistant certificate offers a blend of online and on-campus courses for outstanding convenience and a price tag that comes in nearly $4,000 below the state average for medical assistant certificate programs at private schools. This program provides a direct path to a career as a trusted medical assistant, preparing you through 19 hours of courses in topics that cover both administrative and clinical duties. You’ll also appreciate the outstanding support offered through Grossnickle Career Services as you make the transition from student to valuable member of the healthcare team.

North Carolina

 

Lenoir Community College (PU)
Kinston, NC
Website

Medical Assisting Skills Certificate, CTE (online)

This program offers a pathway for high school students participating in the Career and College Promise initiative. It does not meet the requirements to sit for the CMA exam, but does provide a path to the AAS in Medical Assisting at Lenior, which does meet exam eligibility requirements.

Estimated program cost: $1,064
Comparable to the state average for medical assistant certificate programs at public schools

Online course delivery ensures outstanding convenience and flexibility

  • Outstanding record of student success: a 100% graduation rate, a 100% graduate satisfaction rate, a 100% employer satisfaction rate, and a 100% placement rate

The Lenoir Community College medical assisting skills certificate, CTE is at the intersection of value, convenience, and quality! In addition to a price tag that’s among the lowest in the nation, Lenoir’s medical assisting certificate offers courses online for outstanding convenience and flexibility, without compromising rigor – something that’s clear in the impressive track record for student success. In fact, as of 2017, this program boasted a 100% graduation rate, a 100% graduate satisfaction rate, a 100% employer satisfaction rate, and a 100% placement rate! In addition to providing you with the skills needed to enter the field as an entry-level medical assistant, this program is also the ideal pathway to the college’s AAS in Medical Assisting program—required to qualify for the CMA exam.

 

Southwestern Community College (PU)
Sylva, NC
Website

Medical Assisting Certificate (online)

Estimated program cost: $988
$38 less than the state average for medical assistant certificate programs at public schools

  • Outstanding career and student support services
  • Fully online program ensures the best in flexibility and convenience

The Southwestern Community College medical assisting certificate will get you the education and training needed to start your career as a trusted member of the healthcare team – all at an incredible price! Add to that fully online course content for the best in convenience and flexibility and it’s easy to see why this 13-credit program remains a standout among medical assistant training programs! This program is the ideal pathway to the college’s AAS in Medical Assisting degree—a requirement to qualify for the CMA exam.

Ohio

 

Cincinnati State Technical and Community College (PU)
Cincinnati, OH
Website

Medical Assistant Certificate (hybrid)

Estimated program cost: $5,891
Only public program in Ohio offering an online option

  • Excellent history of job placement success: job placement rate exceeded 90% in both 2016 and 2017
  • Convenient, hybrid design ensures the best in convenience and flexibility
  • Outstanding student and career support offered through the Career Services Center

A hybrid course schedule, an affordable price tag, and a job placement rate above 90% in both 2016 and 2017 are just some of the reasons to choose the Cincinnati State Technical and Community College medical assistant certificate. Consisting of one year of study (3 to 4 semesters), this medical assistant program’s convenient hybrid design will allow you to fit your studies into your busy schedule. The school’s Career Services Center, which features career exploration and assessment, resume preparation, job placement assistance, and more, will make your transition from student to medical assistant an easy one.

Pennsylvania

 

Community College of Allegheny County (PU)
West Mifflin, PA
Website

Medical Assistant Certificate (hybrid)

Estimated program cost: $3,828
$774 less than the state average for medical assistant certificate programs at public schools

  • Outstanding career services and assistance through the college’s Career Coach program
  • Part of a college that’s been producing the next generation of vocational changemakers and leaders for more than 50 years

This is the program you’ve been searching for! Offering an outstanding tuition rate and a convenient hybrid design, this comprehensive course of study will prepare you to sit for the CMA exam and serve as a trusted and valued member of the healthcare team. The Community College of Allegheny County medical assistant certificate program is value and quality epitomized. You’ll feel good about choosing a college that’s been producing job-ready professionals and leaders for more than 50 years.

Texas

 

Houston Community College System (PU)
Houston, TX
Website

Medical Assistant Specialization – Certificate Level 2 (hybrid)

Estimated program cost: $3,290
Only public program in Texas offering an online option

  • Comprehensive program includes additional study in areas like electrocardiography, dysrhythmia analysis, stress testing, Holter monitor and scanning, phlebotomy, and pharmacology
  • Top-notch career and job placement services available through the system’s six career centers

A career as a trusted and valued medical assistant is just months away, thanks to the Houston Community College medical assistant certificate—a comprehensive program at an incredible value! Consisting of 43 credits, the medical assistant certificate features a hybrid program design that includes a blend of online and on-campus courses. It also prepares you with additional skills in electrocardiography, dysrhythmia analysis, stress testing, Holter monitor and scanning, phlebotomy, pharmacology, and more. As a graduate of this program, you can be sure you’ll be well-prepared to become a valued member of the healthcare team in a variety of clinical settings.

 

Western Technical College (PR)
El Paso, TX
Website

Medical/Clinical Assistant Certificate (hybrid)

Estimated program cost: $13,275
$5,283 less than the state average for medical assistant certificate programs at private schools

  • Comprehensive curriculum prepares graduates for the phlebotomy technician, EKG technician, clinical medical assistant, and medical administrative assistant certification examinations through the National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
  • Outstanding flexibility in program design include options for day classes, evening classes, online classes, and fast-track completion

The Western Technical College medical/clinical assistant certificate is the option of choice for anybody in the El Paso area looking for an affordable private education in medical assisting. At more than $5,000 less than the average cost for private medical assistant certificate programs in Texas, the Western Technical medical assistant certificate delivers outstanding value. And thanks to its comprehensive curriculum, which is expertly designed to prepare you for any number of specialty positions in areas like EKG monitoring, phlebotomy, and hemodialysis, you’ll graduate with the skills and knowledge needed to be a valuable addition to any healthcare team. Day, evening and online classes, and options to fast track your program are just some of the flexible options available here!

Washington

 

Yakima Valley College (PU)
Yakima, WA
Website

Medical Assisting Certificate (hybrid)

Estimated program cost: $6,603
$70 less than the state average for medical assistant certificate programs at public schools

  • Intensive program can be completed in a little as four quarters of study
  • Valuable, practical experiences complemented with laboratory simulations

The Yakima Valley College medical assisting certificate is where all the elements for success in medical assisting come together! Superb value…convenient, online instruction…and outstanding, hands-on learning through laboratory simulations and valuable clinical experiences ensure you’ll be well-equipped to serve as a valuable and trusted member of the healthcare team. In addition to core courses, you’ll get hands-on training in simulated labs, patient exam rooms, and office reception. You’ll also have the option of completing this program on a part- or full-time basis, with the full-time option allowing you to complete the program in just four quarters.

 

Whatcom Community College (PU)
Bellingham, WA
Website

Medical Assisting Certificate (on-campus, hybrid)

Estimated program cost: $6,563
$110 less than the state average for medical assistant certificate programs at public schools

  • Program boasts a certification exam pass rate of 93.75% as of 2016
  • Whatcom is among the leading community colleges in the state, and the nation

The outstanding Whatcom Community College medical assisting certificate comes complete with a tuition rate to impress…a curriculum that’s comprehensive and infused with health information technology… and a hybrid delivery that’s designed with convenience in mind. It also boasts an exceptional certification exam pass rate of 93.75% in 2016. You’ll feel good completing your program at a college that serves more than 11,000 students annually since 1967 and is rated among the top community and technical colleges in the state and among the leading community colleges in the country.

 

Spokane Community College (PU)
Spokane, WA
Website

Medical Assistant Certificate (on-campus, online, hybrid)

Estimated program cost: $5,915
$758 less than the state average for medical assistant certificate programs at public schools 

  • Flexible learning schedule includes your choice of hybrid, online, or on-campus courses
  • Established community college system serves more than 20,000 students annually

With tuition nearly $800 lower than the state average for public medical assistant certificate programs and an online or hybrid course delivery that accommodates the busy lives of today’s students, the Spokane Community College medical assistant certificate is designed with your success in mind! Three quarters of study, divided into administrative and clinical phases, provide you with everything you need to experience success in medical assisting. A fourth quarter is focused strictly on hands-on learning in a clinical environment to ensure a smooth transition as you move from student to qualified healthcare professional.