Medical Assistant Technology Associate Degree

Find tips for choosing online and campus-based medical assistant technology associate's degree programs. Discover the courses you'll take, and check employment projections in the field. Schools offering Medical Assisting degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Why Do I Need a Medical Assistant Technology Associate's Degree?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there are no formal education requirements to become a medical assistant ( In some cases, you may receive all the education you need by way of on-the-job training. However, completing a formal training program can enhance your chances for initial employment and advancement in the profession.

An associate's degree in medical assistant technology prepares you to work in a healthcare facility to ensure its smooth operation. Your responsibilities may vary from office to office and are often defined by the size of the facility. You may be called upon to perform administrative as well as clinical duties.

To help you find a suitable program, you can use the online directory of accredited institutions and programs pertaining to medical assisting and other healthcare specialties provided by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) ( The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) also maintains an online directory (

Common CoursesRadiology, lab procedures, pharmacology, medical office management
Online OpportunitySome programs available entirely online, though on-campus options are more abundant
Average Salary (2018) $34,540 (for medical assistants)*
Job Growth (2016-2026) 29% growth (for medical assistants)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Are Some Program Details?

It can take you 2-2.5 years to complete the requirements for an associate's degree program in medical assistant technology. Your program can lead to an Associate of Science or Associate of Applied Science. A typical program includes courses like anatomy and physiology, medical law and policies, medical billing and coding, medical transcription and phlebotomy. Other commonly offered classes include limited radiology, lab procedures, pharmacology, medical office management and computer use in medical practice.

Programs usually include a number of lab courses, clinical sections and externships. You can complete an externship at a school-approved facility. Prior to participating in externships, you may be required to undergo a criminal and drug background check and receive a number of vaccinations.

What is the Significance of Accreditation?

To sit for the American Association of Medical Assistants-administered Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) exam, you must graduate from a program accredited by either the CAAHEP or ABHES. If you attend a program that isn't accredited by either group, you may still qualify for the Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) certification offered by the American Medical Technologists. This certification is also available to those who obtained training in the armed forces, and applicants must pass an examination. Though certification is voluntary, many employers prefer to hire certified personnel.

What Are Some Online Opportunities?

All online programs contain externship or field experience sections, which you must complete in person. You may find a number of schools that offer online programs in medical assisting; however, the CAAHEP only accredits one and the ABHES accredits seven.

What Are My Employment Projections?

The BLS projected employment possibilities for medical assistants would increase 29% from 2016-2026. This is much faster than the national average for all occupations. In May 2018, the BLS determined that the mean annual wage for medical assistants was $34,540.

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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