Medical Assistant Trade Schools and Vocational Schools in the U.S.

Jan 02, 2019

Students interested in medical assistant careers should select programs that offer both intensive in-class instruction as well as clinical hands-on training with local hospitals and medical centers.

Medical assistants are in charge of both administrative and clerical duties as well as patient-oriented clinical tasks, such as taking patients' medical histories, scheduling appointments and answering phones. Prospective medical assistants can receive training in these tasks through certificate, diploma and associate's degree programs.

10 Schools with Medical Assistant Programs

The following list includes a number of public and private schools that offer medical assistant programs.

College/University Location Institution Type Programs Offered Undergraduate Tuition (2015-2016)*
PIMA Medical Institute Denver, CO and other locations 2-year, Private Certificate $12,024 (Varies by location)
Everest College Atlanta, GA and other locations 2-year, Private Certificate $15,374 (Varies by location)
Carrington College Boise, ID and other locations 2-year, Private Certificate, Associate's $14,106 (Varies by location)
Central Oregon Community College Bend, OR 2-year, Public Certificate In-district $3,555; In-state $4,599; Out-of-state $9,135
San Francisco State University San Francisco, CA 4-year, Public Certificate In-state $6,476; Out-of-state $17,636
City College of San Francisco San Francisco, CA 2-year, Public Certificate, Associate's In-state $1,598; Out-of-state $7,554
Portland Community College Portland, OR 2-year, Public Certificate In-state $3,766; Out-of-state $8,374
Bunker Hill Community College Boston, MA 2-year, Public Certificate In-state $3,576; Out-of-state $8,520
Virginia College Austin, TX and other locations 4-year, Private Diploma/Certificate $13,932 (Varies by location)
San Diego Mesa College San Diego, CA 2-year, Public Certificate In-state $1,142; Out-of-state $4,670

Sources: *National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)

School Selection Criteria

Consider the following when looking for medical assistant schools:

  • Medical assistant schools should offer comprehensive courses that cover medical terminology, clinical laboratory procedures, medical ethics and medical transcription.
  • Students should ensure that their school offers a variety of potential work environments so they can acquire experience working with a diverse range of patients, treatment modalities and illnesses or injuries.
  • Most certificate and diploma programs can be completed in 12-18 months, while associate's degree programs usually take 18-24 months to complete.
  • Students should ensure the program they register for is an accredited medical assisting program.


A medical assisting diploma typically takes about one year to complete and includes courses in clinical procedures, phlebotomy, lab techniques and pharmacology. These diverse courses prepare students for the duties of a medical assistant and for required clinical internships. Students who live in states with applicable laws will be eligible to take the national certification exam.


A certificate program takes two or three semesters to complete. Students learn how to complete various medical procedures and how to process and manage data. Like other programs, all students must complete a clinical practicum. Some programs may include a review class for the certification exam.

Associate of Applied Science

These 2-year degree programs include general education classes like psychology, history and speech as well as core classes in patient care, hematology, electrocardiography and basic surgical assisting. Students may also learn how to interact with patients and assist with clerical work. Associate's degree programs also include clinical practice and prepare students for national certification by way of passing a national board exam.

Individuals interested in pursuing studies to become medical assistants have many program options to consider at public and private institutions, including 1-year certificates and diplomas as well as 2-year associate's degrees. The most reputable programs are accredited and offer a variety of hands-on clinical experiences.

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