Bachelor's Degree Programs in Medical Assisting

Although post-secondary education is not technically required to become a medical assistant, obtaining some type of certification or degree in the health science can improve your chances of employment and better pay. Read on to learn about degree levels offered, curriculum, online programs, and certification information. Schools offering Medical Assisting degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Do I Need a Bachelor's Degree in Medical Assisting to Enter the Field?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), medical assistants only need a high school diploma and on-the-job training, although most assistants in the current work environment have some type of post-secondary certificate ( While bachelor's degrees in medical assisting are available (upon completion of an associate's degree), you can earn a certificate or associate's degree in the field and still enter the workforce.

Program Levels Undergraduate certificate, associate's degree, bachelor's degree
Curriculum First aid and CPR, medication administration, anatomy, medical terminology, sample processing
Online Availability Online and hybrid programs available; labs, clinicals, and externships will need to be done in person
Certification Voluntary certifications offered by the AAMA and NHA may improve pay/employment prospects
Median Salary (2018)$33,610 (for medical assistants)*
Job Outlook (2016-26)29% growth (for all medical assistants)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Will I Learn?

Medical assisting programs teach you how to perform clerical duties, like scheduling appointments, keeping patient records, answering phones and communicating with the public. You'll also learn about first aid and CPR, patient prep, sample processing and medication administration.

Much of your education will take place in a clinical setting, but you'll also take many courses in the classroom. Medical terminology, anatomy, ethics and clerical courses are usually required. Other courses include business communications and math for medical assistants. The clinical courses take place both on campus and through externships at medical offices.

Can I Take Courses Online?

Typically, medical assisting programs take place on campus through community and technical colleges. Some of these schools offer hybrid programs that allow you to take some courses online, but you'll still need to complete labs, clinicals and externships in person. Additionally, many for-profit institutions offer online programs, but you may still be required to complete internships.

Do I Need Certification?

Certification isn't required for medical assistants, but it can help you find better jobs and earn more money, states the BLS. The American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) offers a Certified Medical Assistant credential. To qualify, you'll need to graduate from an accredited medical assisting program, complete a practicum through your program and pass an exam. You'll need to recertify every 60 months, which you can do by taking an exam or completing continuing education credits.

Another certification option is the National Healthcareer Association's (NHA) Certified Clinical Medical Assistant credential. This signifies that you're able to perform the duties required of a medical assistant, including performing tests and laboratory work. You'll need to re-certify every two years.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
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