How to Get an Online Associate’s Degree in Medical Assisting
Have you always been intrigued by the health profession and had a passion for making a substantial difference in your community? Medical assisting is a great field of study and profession to consider if you are looking to be involved in both, without having to devote 10-12 years to school alone. In fact, you can start your career with an associate’s degree in medical assisting.
This field is continually growing and is not expected to become obsolete because healthcare is necessary in every generation. People inevitably get sick and need to go to the doctors, whether they like it or not. Medical assistants work hard alongside doctors to help make sure that medical offices run smoothly, and their day to day job tasks will vary widely depending on the state they’re located in and the size of the practice. For example, they may make appointments, process billings, check in patients, update medical records, and answer phones.
If you choose to specialize and study to be a clinical medical assistant, then you will most likely end up with a job that works much more closely with patients. Depending on state law, you could perform tasks such as taking vital signs, preparing laboratory specimens, disposing of contaminated supplies, drawing blood, preparing patients for an x-ray, and cleaning exam rooms.
This degree typically takes two years of full-time study to complete. However, if you choose to earn your credential online, you may be able to complete it earlier. Depending on how many classes you can take per quarter/semester, you may be able to finish a lot quicker.
If you are a busy individual looking to go to school while still attending to your personal obligations, pursuing an associate’s degree in medical assisting online could be a great option. Distance learning can work really well for those who are motivated and independent learners. It is important to make sure that the college you choose is accredited so that the credits you earn can be easily transferred to a four-year college should you decide to continue your education. By virtually attending classes online, you will have access to all course materials and participate in class discussions just like you would normally in a traditional classroom setting. The main difference is that you would be able to log into the classroom portal from anywhere and anytime to complete required coursework and exams. Students can easily communicate with other students and their professors via chat platforms and email.
Common Associate’s in Medical Assisting
By enrolling in an associate’s degree program in medical assisting, you can expect to learn the ins and outs of working in a medical practice. Some topics of study include:
- Anatomy and physiology
- Accounting and bookkeeping
- Medical terminology
- Insurance processing
- Typing and transcription
- Medical law
In addition to these classes, you will develop skills that are necessary for the job, such as how to process samples in a laboratory, clinical and diagnostic procedures, first aid, and patient care.
In addition to medical assisting-related courses, students will also have general education requirements and electives to complete, which will vary from college to college. These classes will help you develop a well-rounded foundation of knowledge that will be useful in understanding real-life situations and succeeding in whatever career you choose to be in. For example, you might take introductory classes in writing, math, science, history, art, language, and more. Many of these general education course requirements can be waived if you took AP classes and passed their respective exams in high school. If this sounds like it might be you, we recommend checking with your college counselor to see which classes you might not have to retake.
Some colleges will offer specializations within the medical assisting field. You might even be able to get certified in the area while you’re at it! Most schools offer general medical assisting associate degrees, but you might be able to study in-depth for podiatry, optometry, chiropractic, or ophthalmology.
Associate’s in Medical Assisting Careers
Most graduates will end up working in a physician’s office as a medical assistant. As mentioned above, this field is constantly growing to meet increasing demand. There are not enough people to fill all the positions that are needed, so once you graduate with a medical assisting associate’s degree, you should not have too much trouble finding a great job.
The annual salary for medical assistants will vary on a variety of factors such as where you work and who you work for. But, on a general scale, the average annual salary of a medical assistant is around $30,000. While the pay is on the lower end now, it is expected to go up as the demand for medical assistant services go up. If job security is something you are looking for, then medical assisting will definitely provide you with that.