School and Ranking Information
Students interested in becoming medical assistants (MAs) can choose from nine not-for-profit schools within 50 miles of downtown Pittsburgh, PA. Based on program offerings, graduation rates and location, the best schools for aspiring MAs are as follows:
- Winner: Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC) offers both a diploma and associate degree program in medical assisting and is located less than three miles from downtown Pittsburgh.
- Runner-Up #1: Butler County Community College offers both a medical assistant diploma and an associate degree program. It also offers student and career services.
- Runner-Up #2: Westmoreland County Community College (WCCC) offers a diploma program for aspiring medical assistants. It ties with Butler for the highest graduation rate among these three schools, but it's also located the farthest from Pittsburgh at about 36 miles out.
School Comparison Chart
|Category||Community College of Allegheny County||Butler County Community College||Westmoreland County Community College|
|Location||West Mifflin, PA (11.2 miles from Pittsburgh, PA)||Butler, PA (31.1 miles from downtown Pittsburgh, PA)||Youngwood, PA (36.4 miles from downtown Pittsburgh, PA)|
|School Type||2-year, public||2-year, public||2-year, public|
|Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2012-2013)||$3,312 (in-district)
| $3,390 (in-district)
| $3,330 (in-district)
|Medical Assisting Award Levels Offered||Less-than-1-year and 1- to 2-year certificate; associate degree||1- to 2-year certificate; associate degree||1- to 2-year certificate|
|Medical Assisting Degrees and/or Certificates Awarded (All Levels) in 2011-2012||18*||18*||9*|
|Most Popular Medical Assisting Program in 2011-2012||1- to 2-Year Certificate in Medical Assistant (9 awarded)*||1- to 2-Year Certificate and Associate in Medical Office Assistant (18 awarded)*||1- to 2-Year Certificate in Medial Assistant (9 awarded)*|
|Undergraduate Graduation Rate (in 150% of normal program time) for 2008 Entering Class||10% (25% transfer-out rate)*||14% (29% transfer-out rate)*||14% (25% transfer-out rate)*|
Sources: *NCES College Navigator.
Winner: Community College of Allegheny County
- Average class size is 19 students, according to the school
- CCAC offers an Honors Program and cooperative education through partnerships with other schools
- CCAC's Job Placement and Career Services provides students with job fairs and assistance in meeting career goals
Community College of Allegheny County offers two options for becoming a medical assistant. Offered at the South campus in West Mifflin, the MA program is available as a 2-semester diploma program or a 3-semester associate degree program; both options include a summer semester. Both the diploma and degree programs require that students complete a 160-hour unpaid externship in a clinic or physician's office. Additionally, the curriculum includes lab courses and classroom courses, such as medical financial management, medical terminology, medical transcription and administrative medical office management. Graduates are eligible for the CMA certification exam.
Runner-Up #1: Butler County Community College
- Butler Campus offers assistance such as daycare, preschool, career testing and job placement
- BC3's John A. Beck Library offers students online health and medical research
The MA program is offered as a certificate or an associate degree option. The 38-credit certificate program takes two semesters plus a summer semester; the summer semester consists of a 232-hour externship to give students hands-on training in a medical setting. The program includes lab studies and courses in medical terminology, coding, medical office procedures, medical laboratory procedures and clinical medical assisting. The 67-credit associate degree program, which builds off the certificate program, has students taking additional clinical and administrative courses, as well as general education courses. The MA program at BC3 is a selective admissions program with applications reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis.
Runner-Up #2: Westmoreland County Community College
- Student services include internships, placement services, tutoring and career fairs
- Student-faculty ratio is 18:1, according to NCES
WCCC has programs to prepare students for employment or transfer to baccalaureate programs. WCCC offers students the opportunity to become MAs by completing a 40-credit diploma program. MA students complete courses in general pharmacology, medical billing management, medical terminology and clinical procedures. Additionally, students complete a clinical practicum to obtain hands-on training in a medical setting. Upon completion of this program, students can take the CMA certification exam.