Online Schools for Medical Administrative Assisting: How to Choose

Read about important considerations when selecting an online medical administrative assisting school. To get an overview of the program options, timeframe factors, and common topics offered for the field of study, look below for more details.

Medical administrative assisting is a field that is accessible to students who have completed an educational certificate or degree program in the field. There are a number of options and students may want to consider the technology requirements of the program, what kind of award they would earn, and what types of certifications they qualify for after program completion.

How to Select an Online Medical Administrative Assisting School

Students considering online medical administrative assisting schools must make their decision based on several key factors. Online medical administrative assisting programs prepare students for entry-level positions as certified medical administrative assistants or medical records administrators. Most programs offering online courses in medical administrative assisting do not have live lectures that require attendance. This allows students to access course content whenever it is convenient for them. Associate degree and diploma programs are available at some 2-year public schools, as well as private, for-profit online colleges. Students selecting an online program should consider the level of degree desired and online support services and career development services provided.

Award Level

When choosing an online medical administrative assisting program, students should know what level of award they are seeking for their long-term career goals. Professional diplomas and associate degrees are generally the highest awards offered online.

Faculty and Technical Support

Students should investigate the faculty and technical support offered by schools for online programs. Most online medical administrative assisting programs provide online discussion groups and messaging boards. Other programs offer study-buddy programs as a way of building their student's academic and professional networks. Some schools that provide technical support 24/7.

Career Services and Certification Prep

Career services and job placement services are another consideration when looking for an online medical administrative assistant program. Students may want to find schools that offer career development services, networking services and assistance with job placement. Additionally, some schools prepare students to become Certified Medical Administrative Assistants (CMAA) with the National Healthcare Association (

List of Online Medical Administrative Assistant Programs

Online Medical Administrative Assistant Diploma

This online program takes about one year to complete. Students learn how to process insurance claims, organize medical records and assist in managing the daily operations of a variety of healthcare facilities. Students study medical terminology, medical law and ethics, medical record management and healthcare coding. Additional coursework includes:

  • Medical coding
  • Principles of management and information systems
  • Pharmacology
  • Anatomy and physiology

Online Medical Administrative Assistant Associate Degree

Online medical administrative assisting associate degree programs are generally two years in length. In addition to general education requirements, major requirements can include anatomy and physiology, healthcare reimbursement, billing and medical office systems. Other coursework includes:

  • Medical software applications
  • Healthcare law
  • Document processing
  • Office technology software

Schools with Online Medical Administrative Assisting Programs

Penn Foster offers an online Medical Administrative Assistant certificate program that students can complete in as few as seven months. This eight course program covers topics like medical billing, office procedures, and electronic medical records. To complete the online courses, students will need a Microsoft Windows computer with Windows 7 or later or an Apple Mac computer with OS X or later. This program helps prepare students who want to take the National Healthcareer Association CMAA (Medical Administrative Assistant Certification) and CEHRS (Electronic Health Records Specialist Certification) exams. These certifications are helpful to have during the job hunt.

Ultimate Medical University offers an online Medical Administrative Assistant Associate Degree. This degree can be completed in about 17 months, though this will depend on the pace of each individual student. This program allows students to complete courses on their own time and offers students 24/7 technical support. This program prepares students to take the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) exam. Students will need a computer with a high speed internet connection to access courses. Sometimes the school can provide financial assistance to students who are in need of a computer.

Students who want to become medical administrative assistants can do so by completing certificate programs or associate degree programs, while taking into consideration the length of the program, technology requirements, and whether the program prepares students for professional certifications.

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