Medical assistants perform routine administrative and clinical tasks to keep the offices of physicians and other health practitioners running smoothly. Administrative duties include: answering telephones, greeting patients, updating and filing patients’ medical records, filling out insurance forms, handling correspondence, for example. Clinical duties vary according to state law and include: taking medical histories and recording vital signs, explaining treatment procedures to patients, preparing patients for examination, and assisting the physician during the examination.

The majority of these degrees focus on the administrative aspect of the job, as opposed to the clinical side where you would be involved in direct patient care. As the health care industry expands because of technological advances in medicine and the growth and aging of the population, there will be an increased need for these type of healthcare workers. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of medical assistants is expected to grow 17 percent nationally through 2024, much faster than average for all occupations.

The ranking criteria are based on the retention rate, graduation rate, and tuition. The percentages for these three are 50 , 30, and 20 respectively. The primary source of the data is CollegeNavigator and the National Center for Education Statistics. The graduation rate is the percentage of students who complete their degree within 150% of “normal time” (4 years). The retention rate refers to the percentage of first-time students seeking an undergraduate degree who return for the following fall. The data does not refer to the associate degree level specifically, however, we believe they are representative of each program’s quality of education. Please refer to each school’s site for current tuition and fees.

1. Broward College

Broward College ranks fifth nationally for conferring associate degrees, according to Community College Week’s Top 100 Associate Degree Producers.​ Nearly one million students have taken a class at Broward College – and more than 125,000 have earned degrees since the college opened in 1960.​ ranked the school in 2015 as one of the Best Community Colleges in the United States. Another accolade as reported by a Florida labor study stated that Broward College graduates are the highest earners in the state compared to students from similar programs at other institutions.

Their Associate of Science in Office Administration-Medical Office is one of nine in this category. The program emphasizes competencies used by various office support personnel. Students will have the opportunity to develop expert skills in keyboarding, software applications, business ethics and communications, and office management. The curriculum consists of 15 hours of General Education covering subjects as General Psychology, Communications, and Mathematics. The Core Requirements (33 credits) involve Business Ethics, English, Accounting, and Computer Literacy. The final portion of the 60 total credits entails 12 credits of Medical Specialization: medical billing, coding, and terminology.

Accrediting Agency: The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Graduation Rate: 30%
Retention: 75%

2. Ross College

The college also offers an Associate of Applied Science in Medical Office Management that has a total length of 75 weeks. During the program, students learn activities with the desired results being the development of practical skills and underpinning knowledge for successful entry-level performance in the allied health industry. Additionally, students will have an opportunity to learn the fashioning and management of electronic medical records, computer skills to best utilize current medical office automation/software related to client data management, routine medical office procedures, insurance billing filing and reimbursement procedures. Equally important, students will become versed in effective business principles and communication, which will develop each student’s oral and written communication skills.

Graduation will prepare for employment in entry-level positions such as Medical Receptionist, Medical Secretary, Billing Clerk, Billing Specialist, Patient Account Representative, Patient Services Representative, Hospital Admissions Clerk, and Medical Records Clerk.

3.Ross College

Ross College Online also offers a Medical Assistant Associate of Applied Science, which consists of 92.5-quarter credits or 1,260 clock hours, and 70 weeks.

This program is designed for students who have already completed a medical assistant diploma/certificate program. Students will further develop their skills in a variety of areas, such as communication, psychology, sociology, nutrition, and biology. You also may choose to take an administrative track, in which you will explore how to use computer software applications, healthcare information management, and medical law and ethics; or a clinical track, in which you will study emergency response, health assessment, and pathophysiology.

Additionally, their Associate Degree in Medical Assistant helps prepare students to become a key member of a medical team. Upon completion of the Medical Assistant Associate Degree program, the student should be prepared to seek employment work in such healthcare settings as hospitals, private clinics, health maintenance organizations, and nursing homes.

Accrediting Agency:  Bureau of Health Education Schools: Nationally recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education as a private, non-profit, independent accrediting agency since 1969.
Graduation Rate: 59%
Retention Rate: 68%

4. Clarion University

Clarion has evolved, since its seminary beginnings in 1867, into a campus and online school offering more than 100 academic programs. Students from 44 states and 11 countries experience their historic main street, specialty shops, restaurants, a mall with a state-of-the-art movie theater, and a hospital. The school’s online programs have earned numerous awards, some of which are Best Online Schools Pennsylvania (2017), Military Friendly Spouse Schools (2016), Best MBA Programs, and Best in Bachelor’s Online in Health Science (2017)

Clarion offers an Associate of Science in Allied Health online for professionals to expand their knowledge in the field of healthcare. The program affords you the option to earn an associate degree beyond nursing for those who have completed formal, accredited educational programs in allied health fields such as medical lab technology, paramedic technology, medical assisting, and others. In the Allied Health concentration, individuals credentialed in any of the aforementioned professions complete 30 additional credits in general education. Applicable students receive 30 credits for their prior clinical training. The curriculum provides a comprehensive education as you study select courses in Liberal Arts, Physical and Biological Sciences, Social and Behavioral Sciences, and Arts and Humanities. There are also 30 clinical credits to complete or awarded. Graduates will be able to pursue a Bachelor’s degree or seek further opportunities in the healthcare profession as a clinician or administrator.

Accreditation: The Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Graduation Rate: 49%
Retention Rate: 73%

5. Independence University

Independence University belongs to a family of colleges and universities with educational roots dating back to 1891. In 2010, Independence University merged with its affiliated institution, Stevens-Henager College, becoming a branch of Stevens-Henager’s main campus in Ogden/West Haven, Utah. The school places a high value on student support, which is evident in Dean Marilee Hall’s words: “We provide our tutoring center, student services group, technical support, highly qualified instructors, and associate deans that are assigned to all students.” Their programs are career-focused, without elective courses that you do not want or need. Some degrees can be completed in as few as 20 months.

The university’s online Associate of Occupational Studies/Medical specialties will help you gain entry-level employment in today’s medical job market. This 22-month degree (if student is graduating in normal time) offers you the fundamental knowledge and practical skills you need to work in a wide variety of healthcare positions such as medical assistant, pharmacy technician, medical billing and coding, and more. As part of the program’s objectives, you will also be prepared for possible certification or licensing in a number of areas of medical specialization. This program entails courses in pharmacy technology, medical bills/coding, clinical procedures, and electrocardiography.

Accrediting Agency: Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges: recognized by the US Department of Education
Graduation Rate: 26%
Retention Rate: 63%

6. Alexandria Technical and Community College

The college offers an Associate of Applied Science in the program referred to as Medical Administrative Specialist. This medical program prepares students for a variety of health information and administrative support staff roles in the healthcare field. To achieve the 60-credits degree, students also work with a medical office mentor in a unique capstone course. The transcription and editing courses provide an up-to-date perspective on patient documentation for the electronic health records. The coursework integrates communication, scheduling, transcription, coding, health information, insurance claim submission, and billing and collections. The skills learned during this program mirror the rapid technological development needed for medical office support staff to be proficient. This includes the skills of word processing, spreadsheets, databases, and time management software, digital dictation, voice recognition, electronic coding, and networking technologies.

Encouraged by the local School District 206, Alexandria Area Vocational Technical School began in 1961 through the generosity of community support and state funding. Through the many name changes, the college also shifted from being under the local school district to become a state college within the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system in 1995. The school now extends the support to each student in the form of free tutoring. Its focus on excellence has allowed ATCC to serve its community, partners, and students through a diverse mix of academic programs.

Accrediting Agency: The Higher Learning Commission (ATCC was the first two-year college in Minnesota to receive HLC accreditation)
Graduation Rate: 55%
Retention Rate: 76%

7. Minnesota West Community and Technical College

The college offers an Associate in Applied Science for individuals seeking to become a Medical Administrative Secretary. A medical secretary performs the confidential administrative and clerical work of a medical office. The variety of duties may include bookkeeping, billing, scheduling appointments, and processing insurance claims. Medical secretaries may be responsible for telephone, mail, transcription, and typing duties. Other duties include ordering laboratory tests and supplies, as well as receiving, interviewing, and instructing patients. This 60-credits program covers topics as body structure, medical insurance, medical terms and conditions, and office procedures. Students can expect to complete the coursework within two years.

Southwestern Technical College located in Canby, Granite Falls, Jackson, Pipestone and Worthington Community College located in Worthington, Minnesota merged on January 1, 1997, and became Minnesota West Community & Technical College. The former Worthington Community College was established in 1936 as an institution of higher education by and under the jurisdiction of the local school district to meet the post-secondary education needs of the community and surrounding area. In 2017, the school earned the # 3 spot for Top Online Colleges in the state. More importantly, this learning institution believes in the education process of each student. One example is their program advisors who may be contacted individually per their respective department, such as a medical secretary.

Accrediting Agency: The Higher Learning Commission
Graduation Rate; 44%
Retention Rate: 67% (full-time)

8. Liberty University

Founded in 1971 in Lynchburg, Va., Liberty has grown from a small college of 154 students into the nation’s fifth largest university and the largest Christian university in the world. The fact that 97% of alumni had a favorable experience at the school is laudable. In addition, 96% would recommend Liberty and 88% found employment within six months of graduation.

Liberty University’s online Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) in Medical Office Assistant will prepare you for a career as a medical office assistant in various healthcare environments, such as public health departments, hospitals, and clinics. The curriculum focuses on medical terminology, medical office systems & procedures, and medical billing and bookkeeping. The 64 hours program is spread over three years with two semesters per academic year. Some of the key components of the coursework concerns communication, math, science & technology, critical thinking, and Christian Life. The 35 hours of major courses cover primarily medical office billing, coding, and terminology. Liberty allows up to 45 hours eligible for transfer, but a minimum of 15 hours must be completed at the school.

Accrediting Agency: The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Graduation Rate: 27%
Retention: 63%

9. Barton Community College

The Barton County campus is located in Great Bend, Kansas with other Kansas campuses situated in Fort Riley, Fort Leavenworth, and Grandview Plaza. The Fort Riley campus provides education and training, as well as selected specialized education and training to the entire state. In addition, the Riley campus houses the administration for all of their online programs.

The college’s online program, known as Bartonline or BOL, provides you the opportunity to complete an Associate Degree online or a variety of Certificate Programs. Courses taken at other colleges and universities, plus any military and/or work experience, may be applied towards degree completion. A minimum of 15 credit hours is required from Barton for degree completion. They offer eCourses in nine and seventeen-week formats as well as an occasional four-week intersession. Fall and spring semesters each contain two nine-week and one seventeen-week session, and the summer session is nine weeks long.

One of the online programs is a 64-credits Associate in Applied Science/Medical Administrative Technologist for individuals interested in healthcare but not in clinical/patient care. The graduate will be eligible to seek a career in the field of medical administrative support. Duties will include coordinating patient and healthcare staff schedules, conducting medical transcription and coding, handling medical billing, and performing clerical functions.

Accrediting Agency: The Higher Learning Commission
Graduation Rate: 30%
Retention: 61%

10. Minnesota State College Southeast

MSC Southeast is a Technical and Community College that offers certificates, diplomas, and Associate degree for students interesting in a Medical Support Career. Their Associate in Applied Science (AAS) in is available online with a concentration titled Medical Administrative Assistant. This 60-credits program consists of 15 General Education requirements with the bulk of your studies devoted to Technical Requirements. A short list of the technical courses deals with Medical Terminology, Office Procedures, Legal & Ethical Aspects, and Pharmacology.

All their courses use the D2L Brightspace online platform, which provides the student with an e-learning environment that allows the student to adapt with ease. D2L Brightspace gives you access to all your online resources for your class, as well as interactions with your classmates and instructor.

This college is a public, non-profit college that strives to deliver the highest quality, most affordable higher education option. They offer certificate, diploma, and degree programs, many of which can be completed in 2 years or less. The Associate of Arts degree allows for transfer to any of the 4-year universities in the Minnesota State system. This is the fourth largest system of state colleges (30) and universities (7), spread over 54 campuses.

Accrediting Agency: The Higher Learning Commission
Graduation Rate: 29%
Retention: 60%  (full-time)

11. Minnesota State Community and Technical College

Minnesota State values excellence, integrity, and innovation while creating an environment conducive to learning and civility. The school serves more than 8,400 students in credit courses each year in more than 70 career and liberal arts programs online and at its four Minnesota campuses. In July 2003, Minnesota State merged with Fergus Falls Community College and the three campuses of Northwest Technical College. As an indication of their educational excellence, from 2010 to 2015, the college has assisted in educating more than 9,000 graduates available for employment in their field of study.

The 60-credits online Medical Administrative Assistant Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree prepares graduates to coordinate medical office functions and patient billing processes. With a combination of technical and liberal arts credits, graduates are prepared to move into leadership roles in this expanding career field. This program offers a broad foundation of knowledge and skills, expanding the traditional role of the medical secretary through the addition of liberal arts classes as preparation for leadership roles. Graduates of this program are highly trained office specialists who are prepared to accept responsibility for the coordination of medical office functions and patient billing processes. Some of the skills you will learn are:

  • Professional business and medical communication skills
  • Medical terminology
  • Healthcare record preparation and management
  • Diagnosis and procedure coding
  • Insurance and financial procedures
  • Legal and ethical behavior in the healthcare setting

Accrediting Agency: The Higher Learning Commission
Graduation Rate: 36%
Retention Rate: 56%

12. Guilford Technical Community College

In 1958, the Guilford Industrial Education Center (GIEC) began as a technical training facility until it was elevated to its current name in 1965, Today, GTCC offers 93 degrees, 26 diplomas, and 78 certificates, including two new degree programs, Health Care Management Technology and Cyber Crime Technology, added for 2008-09. The college also offers personal enrichment courses, a variety of adult literacy opportunities and training for business and industry. As the third largest of 58 community colleges in the North Carolina Community College System, the college serves more than 40,000 students annually from its Jamestown, Greensboro, High Point, Aviation, and Donald W. Cameron campuses.

GTCC offers an Associate of Applied Science in Medical Office Administration-General Option for individuals seeking employment as a medical administrator. Prospective employment opportunities for graduates are in medical and dental offices, hospitals, insurance companies, laboratories, medical supply companies, and other healthcare-related organizations. Courses in this program prepare the student for the Microsoft Office User Specialist Exams. Coursework includes medical terminology, computer applications, medical office management, medical coding, medical insurance, and billing, medical-legal and ethical issues, oral and written communication, and other topics depending on the subject area selected within this curriculum. The program consists of 51 credits of required courses spread over five semesters, followed by 15 credits of electives for a total 66.

13. Guilford Technical Community College

GTCC also offers a more specialized Associate of Applied Science in Medical Office Administration-Healthcare Administration to prepare individuals for employment in medical and other health-care related offices. This includes hospitals, insurance companies, laboratories, and medical supply companies. Coursework will include medical terminology; information systems; office management; medical coding, billing, and insurance; legal and ethical issues; and formatting and word processing. Students will learn administrative, support functions, and develop skills applicable in medical environments.

The curriculum consists of 52 credits of required courses and 16 electives from these four categories: Humanities/Fine Arts, Communication, Social/Behavioral Science, and Math.

Accrediting Agency: The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) Commission on Colleges 
Graduation Rate: 17%
Retention Rate: 52%

14. Illinois Eastern Community Colleges

The four colleges, Frontier, Lincoln Trail, Olney Central, and Wabash Valley, are committed to high academic standards for pre-baccalaureate, career, and technical education. They are dedicated to student advisement, counseling, and placement services for the purpose of assisting students in choosing a program of study, transferring to a four-year institution, entering employment, or completing a certificate or course goals. IECC’s General Education Core Curriculum makes the transfer process to Illinois colleges and universities simple and reliable. The campuses also have articulated agreements and dual admission programs with specific Indiana universities.

IECC offers an Associate in Applied Science Medical Office Assistant Degree online. This 68 credits program will prepare graduates for jobs as medical office assistants, medical transcriptionists, medical receptionists, and other related personnel to meet the needs of local and national medical offices. In this area, employment opportunities will be available in hospitals, clinics, doctors’ offices, insurance companies, health foundations, local industries, and state and U.S. governmental agencies. All students new to online and hybrid learning are required to take course CIS 1104 – Intro to Online Learning to help prepare for online coursework and to determine if online learning is right for you. Students who have completed online courses at other institutions may be waived from CIS1104, based on student records verification.

Illinois Eastern Community Colleges strive to put students first by… “Delivering exceptional education and services to improve the lives of our students and to strengthen our communities.”

Accrediting Agency: The Higher Learning Commission
Graduation Rate: 37%
Retention Rate: 37%

15. Penn Foster College

In 1890, a newspaper editor named Thomas J. Foster founded the school to provide coal miners with the education they needed to advance in their careers and increase worker safety. At the turn of the century, the school, officially known as the International Correspondence Schools (ICS), one in every 27 adults in the United States had taken a course there. By 2006, ICS transitioned from correspondence to online education and changed its name to Penn Foster.

Their 60-credits online Medical Assistant Associate Degree curriculum consists of courses and labs covering healthcare fundamentals such as clinical procedures, anatomy, and physiology, pharmacology and more. A condensed list of the courses is medical coding, pharmacology, algebra, medical terms, anatomy, and physiology. Completion of this degree can help you prepare for these industry certifications.

  • The Registered Medical Assistant certification (RMA) offered by American Medical Technologists (AMT)
  • The Certified Clinical Medical Assistant certificate (CCMA) offered by National Health Career Association (NHA)
  • The National Certified Medical Assistant certificate (NCMA) offered by National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT)
  • The Clinical Medical Assistant Certification (CMAC) offered by American Medical Certification Association (AMCA)

Graduates of this program will receive NHA certification prep materials at no cost and a voucher to cover the expense of the CCMA exam.

Accrediting Agency: The Distance Education Accrediting Commission

Graduation Rate: No data
Retention Rate: No Data

For further information on Associate’s degrees in Healthcare and related fields, please see: What Associate’s Degrees are good for a Career in the Health Care Industry? And-What can I do with a degree in Administrative Nursing? 25 Cheapest Online Associate’s Degree Programs; and for those interested in Public Health, please see our Top 20 in Demand Careers in Public Health. 




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