Medical Assistant Associate Degree Programs

With a medical assistant associate's degree, you can work in a hospital, physician's office, medical laboratory or other healthcare facility in both administrative and clinical capacities. Learn about courses, internships and program options in medical assisting. Schools offering Medical Assisting degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Will I Learn in a Medical Assistant Associate's Degree Program?

Medical assistant associate's degree programs give you an understanding of both the clinical and administrative roles of medical assisting. You learn about office tasks, medical ethics, laboratory procedures and patient communication. You can usually complete the medical assistant associate's degree program in about two years, and some programs require you to take courses during one summer. In some cases, you may be able to earn a medical assisting certificate and then go on to complete the credits required for an associate's degree.

According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), all that is required to enter this field is some post-secondary education, not necessarily a complete degree program. The Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools and the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs set standards for medical assistant associate's degree programs. Accredited programs often require you to complete an internship or other hands-on clinical experience, reported the BLS (

Skills Gained Medical office management and administration, laboratory procedures, communication, hands-on experience through internships
Common Courses Clinical duties, anatomy, phlebotomy, laboratory practices, office administration,
Internships Often required at the end of a program, commonly taking place in a medical office or clinic
Certification Voluntary, available from various medical organizations
Median Salary (2018)$33,610* (for medical assistants)
Job Outlook (2016-26)29%* (for all medical assistants)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Courses Will I Take?

Medical assisting courses teach you how to perform clinical duties, such as taking vital signs, performing physical exams, sterilizing equipment, taking blood samples and more. Usually, you practice many of these skills on mannequins before you work with people. You learn about anatomy, physiology, pharmacology and phlebotomy. Lessons also discuss medical terminology and laboratory practices.

Office skills are another area of emphasis. You learn how to manage an office, enter data and use computer software. Office terminology, patient privacy laws, telephone techniques and transcription procedures are also covered. Many programs include field trips and other observational opportunities during your studies, in addition to an internship.

What Would My Internship Be Like?

Internships and externships are common components of medical assistant associate's degree programs. These experiences give you the opportunity to practice and observe real-world medical office administrative and clinical practices at a hospital or physician's office near your school. Typically you complete internships during the latter part of your studies.

Do I Need Certification?

The BLS reported that medical assistants don't need to be certified, but there are some professional organizations that offer voluntary certification. This may help you advance in your career and earn a higher salary, according to the same source. The American Association of Medical Assistants and the Association of Medical Technologists both offer credentials, and you can get certified in a specialty.

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:

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