Online medical assistant programs are a more flexible, lower-cost alternative to traditional, campus-based medical assistant programs. Online medical assistant programs typically offer the same course content as campus-based programs, with the added advantages of flexible scheduling, self-paced learning, and usually a lower cost.
How Online Medical Assistant Schools Work
Rather than providing educational content through lectures, online medical assistant programs provide content to students in electronic form. Courses in an online medical assistant training program are still taught by a professor, however students learn remotely using online tools, portals, email and other communication methods.
There are a few different ways in which an online school can work:
Self-Paced Online Learning – In most cases, students log into the school’s online learning portal according to their own schedules. There they complete reading assignments and other assignments provided by the instructor, turning in completed assignments by the due date. These programs may work similarly to online communities such as Facebook. For example, students may watch video of the professor’s lecture, leave comments on a comment board, and post assignments to a forum or send them through email. An example of this style of online learning is Aplia, an online education portal used by many schools.
Group Online Learning – In other cases, online classes work more like traditional classes, with students and professor logging in together to move through course content online. In these cases, coursework is sent to all students simultaneously through email or a class bulletin board. The professor lectures or assigns reading, and students ask questions via chat. This method is sometimes used in conjunction with a live class, such as when there are more students than seats in the lecture hall.
Benefits of Online Medical Assistant Programs
Medical assistant online programs and schools have several advantages over regular, campus-based programs:
- Flexibility – Most online medical assistant programs have flexible schedules. Students go over class materials at any time available to them, and assignments are handed in at any time before a set deadline.
- Self-paced learning – Students of online programs may learn at their own pace, taking as much or as little time as they need. This is helpful if a subject is particularly challenging or complex.
- Access – Online programs can be accessed at home, at a coffee shop, or anywhere the Internet is available. This is especially beneficial to students with families, students in the military, and those who travel frequently.
- Affordability – Online schools are also typically more affordable than traditional schools. Since schools saves money by not using a building, they usually offer online courses at a reduced cost. Once the costs of physically attending a school are also factored in, such as commuting costs, parking, and campus food, long-term savings can be significant.
Online Medical Assistant Program Requirements
Similar to traditional schools, online medical assistant schools require a high school diploma or a GED. Experience with computers and the Internet is helpful, though not crucial as many online schools offer tutorial to teach students how to use the school’s online resources. As with traditional programs, an educational background in science and health is also helpful.
Further requirements may depend on the specific program in question. For example, a certificate program may require prior college experience, while a diploma program may not.
School representatives generally explain all requirements for both offline and online training programs.
How to Choose an Online Medical Assistant Program
There are a few factors students should consider when choosing an online school. Accreditation is important, as well as the school’s online learning style, and program costs.
Like traditional programs, online medical assistant schools are accredited by a recognized accrediting agency such as the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Higher Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). This is an especially important prerequisite if you would like to become a Certified Medical Assistant (CMA).
Asking school representatives about their online learning styles can also shed light on program strengths and weaknesses. Here are some examples of questions that might help students understand an online school’s learning style:
- Are class schedules determined in advance, or do students self-schedule?
- What are online class sizes like?
- Are online classes offered as alternatives to traditional classes, or is the school entirely online?
- How are online class fees structured?
- Does the school use its own online learning portal, or a third-party portal (such as Aplia)?
Other questions may arise as the conversation develops.
Online Medical Assistant Programs Enrolling Now
Career Step, a leading online school, focuses on helping students quickly gain the career skills they need to succeed in rapidly growing industries. With 20 years of experience, the school has trained over 70,000 students in the United States and internationally and offers programs in the allied health, administrative services, and technology industries. Career Step’s training programs are offered entirely online, and the school is committed to helping each enrolling student graduate and successfully transition to a rewarding career.
Career Step training offers you the following benefits:
- Affordably priced programs that prepare you to earn a good living
- Flexible online training that lets you learn on your schedule
- One-on-one instructor access throughout the course
- Graduate resources to help you turn your education into a job