List of Online Medical Assistant Programs in Florida
In Florida, students have a few choices for attending a medical assistant program in an online format. However, some programs do have limited in-person requirements, such as an externship that helps students gain real-world professional work experience. To apply to these types of programs, you usually have to be at least 18 years of age and have completed high school or have earned a GED.
The University of West Florida
The University of West Florida offers an online clinical medical assistant training course that can be completed in 16 weeks and also includes phlebotomy and EKG training. In this program, students study such skills as:
- Taking and recording vital signs
- Performing venipunctures
- Preparing exam rooms and medical equipment
- Interviewing patients
- Administering medications and injections
Students are also required to complete an in-person externship, and they may be prepared to earn the National Healthcareer Association (NHA)'s Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) certification.
Gulf Coast State College
At Gulf Coast State College, students can attend an online, self-paced medical assisting course; it does not lead to a degree or certificate, but it requires 510 hours of training. Students work and study at their own pace, learning about topics related to:
- Basic computer applications, such as Word and Excel
- Healthcare documentation
- Clinical and routine patient care
- Medical language, law, and ethics
- Medical office management and procedures
- EKG testing, phlebotomy, and basic anatomy
Students can also choose to complete a 130-hour externship. This online course might prepare students to earn a range of certifications from NHA, including the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA), the Certified EKG Technician (CET), and the Certified Phlebotomy Technician (CPT) credentials.
Valencia College has a dual medical assisting certification course that can be completed online where students may be prepared to earn both the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) credential from NHA along with Basic Life Support (BLS) certification. This course requires 180 contact hours and takes about 6 months to complete. Within the course, students study such subjects as professional ethics, HIPPA compliance, medical terminology, patient intake and vitals, and human development.
Rasmussen College, which has campuses in New Port Richey, Ocala, Orlando, and Tampa, offers an online Medical Assisting Diploma program where students can choose live and interactive lectures or can view course lectures at their own convenience. Along with a required in-person externship, students study subjects that touch on:
- Medical ethics, law, and terminology
- Medical administrative practices
- Functions and structures of the human body
- Clinical lab applications
By completing this online diploma program, students may go on to earn the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) credential and a number of other certifications in phlebotomy, electronic health records, and/or EKG technology.
Career Outlook for Medical Assistants
Medical assistants are healthcare professionals who help medical offices, hospitals, and clinics run smoothly. As a medical assistant, your job duties might include taking patient histories and vital signs, assisting with medical exams, scheduling appointments, and managing medical records. Some medical assistants also do some clinical work, such as drawing blood, preparing specimens for lab tests, taking x-rays, and giving injections.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), medical assistants earned a median salary of $34,800 in 2019, and their median per hour wage was $16.73. It is estimated that this profession will see a 19% rate of job growth from 2019-2029.
Information for Medical Assistant Certification
If you are interested in a career as a medical assistant, you typically need to complete a postsecondary certificate, course, diploma, or associate degree. Further, most employers look for job candidates that have earned some type of medical assisting certification. There are several organizations that offer certification, including:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA) - This association offers the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) credentials.
- American Medical Technologists (AMT) - AMT administers the Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) certification.
- American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) - This organization has the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) credential.
- National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT) - NCCT offers the National Certified Medical Assistant (NCMA) certification.
While eligibility requirements vary by organization, most of these certifications require that you graduate from an accredited medical assisting educational program (or be a current student). Some certifications also require that you have completed a set number of externship hours. After qualifying, the next step would be passing the organization's exam to earn certification.
Aspiring medical assistants in Florida have several options for attending an online medical assisting program that may help them earn important professional certifications. Although these are online programs, some do require an in-person externship.