List of Online Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) Programs in Washington State
Individuals wishing to attend an online medical assisting program in the state of Washington have several options. However, it's important to note that most programs employ a hybrid format that consists of a mix of in-person and online classes as well as a possible in-person externship or practicum. For admission, some, but not all, programs require prerequisites in math and English.
Seattle Central College
Seattle Central College offers a medical assisting program that is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and leads to a certificate. This is a 1-year program that includes the option of online instruction and virtual lab simulations. Students study a range of medical assisting topics, such as:
- Medical coding, terminology, and insurance
- Electronic medical records and administrative skills
- Technology, keyboarding, and computer skills
- Communication and patient care skills
After earning their medical assisting certificate, students may be ready to take the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) examination and also apply for Washington state medical assisting certification.
South Puget Sound Community College
At South Puget Sound Community College, students are able to earn a CAAHEP-accredited Associate in Applied Science in Medical Assisting degree through a program that offers some online (and evening) course options. Students can complete their medical assisting associate degree in about 2 years, and this program requires some general education coursework along with medical assisting-focused classes that include the study of:
- Medical practice administration
- Medical and insurance billing and coding
- Taking vital signs, drawing blood, and administering injections
- Performing an electrocardiogram (EKG)
- Assisting with medical exams
Students are also required to complete an in-person capstone practicum that places them within a medial assisting workplace. Additionally, this associate degree program may prepare students to sit for the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) examination.
Whatcom Community College
Aspiring medical assistants can choose to earn either an Associate in Science (AS) in Medical Assisting degree or a medical assisting certificate at Whatcom Community College. Both CAAHEP-accredited programs have a hybrid option that consists of some face-to-face classes (that usually have lab elements) and online classes. The AS program includes general education coursework in composition, psychology, communications, and math, and both the AS and certificate include classes that touch on:
- Clinical procedures
- Medical terminology
- Medical billing/coding
- Health and disease
- Medical law and ethics
Whatcom Community College's programs may make students eligible to take the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) examination, and the curriculum is designed to align with Washington State medical assisting credentialing laws.
Spokane Community College
Spokane Community College offers two CAAHEP-accredited programs, including an Associate in Applied Science (AAS) in Medical Assisting and a certificate, that may prepare students for the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) examination. Only students beginning their program in the spring can choose a hybrid format that includes online and in-person classes (summer start is an on-campus program). Students must also complete an in-person clinical externship that takes place in a medical office. The AAS degree does require general education coursework in accounting, psychology, composition, and sociology, and in both programs, students may take courses that focus on clinical medical assisting skills and knowledge.
Information for Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) Certification
Medical assistants work in a healthcare setting where they are responsible for both administrative and clinical tasks. As a medical assistant, you might:
- Schedule appointments
- Complete medical coding and billing
- Help with exams, take vital signs, and prep blood samples
- Manage electronic health records (EHRs)
To become a medical assistant, you generally need to complete some postsecondary education, such as a medical assisting diploma, certificate, or associate degree program.
Many medical assistants choose to earn certification, even though it is not required by most states because it boosts their job prospects. The Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) credential is administered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA), and to earn this certification, you must pass an exam that covers administrative, clinical, and general medical assisting topics. To be eligible to sit for the exam, you must have graduated from or be in the process of completing a program that has been accredited by CAAHEP or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES).
Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) Career Outlook
Completing a medical assisting certificate or degree program and earning a Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) designation could open up the door to a medical assistant career in a physician's office, hospital, care center, or even a chiropractor's clinic.
As of 2019, medical assistants in the state of Washington earned a mean annual wage of $43,760 and a mean hourly wage of $21.04, while nationally the mean annual pay was $35,720. From 2019-2029, the medical assistant field is expected to see a national job increase of 19%.