Earn a medical assistant diploma in less than 1 year
- Online classes + hands-on clinical labs & externship
- Typical diploma program length: 10 months
- Transfer up to 31 approved credits into a higher degree at Herzing
- Prepare for the Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) certification exam – we pay for your first attempt!
- Degree pathways: advance your education with many options at the associate and bachelor’s degree levels
Medical Assisting Diploma classes & curriculum details
Our career-focused diploma curriculum includes didactic and in-the-field learning experiences to enable you to enter the workforce as an entry-level medical assistant. You will prepare for and sit for the Medical Assisting Certification Exam as part of the program.
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*Average number of months for students to complete the program attending full-time
Required Core Courses
All courses, 16.00 semester credit hours, are required.
Required Anatomy and Physiology with Lab
8.00 semester credit hours are required.
Required Clinical Courses
All courses, 16.00 semester credit hours, are required.
Personal and Professional Development Courses
2.00 semester credit hours are required.
Get educated and certified
Our goal is to maximize your chance of finding a job as soon as possible after graduation.
That’s why our diploma curriculum includes prep for the Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) exam and we pay for your first attempt.
After earning your diploma and certification you’ll be well on your way to becoming a key contributor on a team of healthcare professionals.
Clinicals: how the diploma program works
There are two requirements to complete the medical assisting program outside of regular classes:
Two terms prior to the externship, you will be required to take two clinical courses. Most coursework will be completed online, but you will also be required to meet with a proctor at a healthcare facility (possibly a Herzing campus) to demonstrate mastery in medical assisting skills. Prior to your labs you will need to take and pass a Student Readiness Training (SRT) proctorship. You must complete a Basic Life Support (BLS) CPR class from the American Heart Association or the American Red Cross as part of the requirement.
You will complete 180 hours at a medical clinic or doctor’s office in an eight-week period during your final term—Monday-Friday during daytime hours. Depending on the requirements of your externship site, expect about 25-40 hours per week. Herzing’s clinical coordinator can assist you in your search, but it will be your responsibility to locate and secure a proctor and externship site in your geographic area during your Student Readiness Training Seminar (SRT).
Finding a proctor for your clinicals. Herzing’s Proctor Prep SRT seminar provides guidance on how to search and secure a proctor to assist in your clinical courses. This course is usually scheduled two terms before the first clinical course. In order to succeed, you’ll need to be in frequent communication with the SRT instructor. You will have access to a clinical coordinator who will assist in your search, but ultimately it is your responsibility to secure proctorship.
Contact us and we can provide answers to any further questions you have about the clinical/externship component of the medical assisting program.
Medical Assisting diploma enrollment requirements
Prerequisites to enroll in the Herzing University Medical Assisting diploma program include:
- Completion of a high school diploma, GED or equivalent
- Meet and interview with a Herzing University admissions advisor
- Complete an enrollment application
Earn the education needed to walk a new career path
Becoming a medical assistant provides an excellent foundation for you to earn experience administering basic patient care, learning how a medical office works and coordinating with all the different personnel involved in the delivery of healthcare. A medical assistant’s job is to perform the tasks necessary within their state’s scope of practice to help a clinic run smoothly.
Medical assistants typically adopt clinical or administrative tasks – or both, depending on the size of the institution. Our diploma program covers both areas, preparing you fully for your first entry-level medical assisting job.
While medical assistants are typically allowed to administer injections, draw blood and take vital signs, their responsibilities in clinical care are more limited than nurses and doctors. Scope of practice will vary by state.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of medical assistants is expected to increase 19% from 2019-2029, much faster than the average across all U.S. occupations.
It’s an excellent time to begin earning the education you need to join this growing field and build a strong foundation for a career in healthcare.
Prefer to work in an office environment? If you have excellent organization and communication skills but aren’t at your best around blood, you may be interested in becoming a medical assistant in a more highly focused administrative role. You might prefer to pursue a diploma in medical office administration and focus your study on administrative skills for a medical office.
Frequently Asked Questions
Beginning your career as a medical assistant is a great way to build a strong foundational education in healthcare, gain meaningful real-world experience and prepare yourself to continue growing professionally.
What is the next level after medical assistant? It depends on your strengths, preferences and overall career goals in healthcare.
Three fields in healthcare are popular landing spots for medical assistants looking to specialize or branch into a new career path:
- Healthcare Management
- Health Information Management
Herzing University offers many degree and diploma programs for practicing medical assistants to take a leap and embark on a new career path. Our health sciences degree program is designed to help you complete your bachelor's degree and advance your career to the next level.
With Herzing University, an affordable, career-focused education is within your reach. We are always striving to make college more affordable for everyone.
- Student loans & secured loans. Loans offer a way to pay for all or part of your tuition.
- Scholarships. We offer a variety of scholarships based on academic achievement, financial need or community affiliations. Contact an admissions advisor about current scholarship opportunities by calling 1-800-596-0724 or request for information online.
You can find an estimate for grant and scholarship aid using the net price calculator, and find an estimate for tuition for the online medical assisting program using Herzing University’s tuition wizard.
Your choice depends on the career path you’d like to pursue.
If your number one priority is finding a job as a medical assistant as quickly as possible, a diploma program may be a better choice. You can earn a diploma in a year or less when attending full-time and be ready to enter the workforce as a certified medical assistant.
If you envision medical assisting as step one on a long career path in healthcare, you may prefer to choose the associate degree program. In addition to core medical assisting courses, you will take general education classes you can transfer into a bachelor’s degree program in the future. Baccalaureate options for medical assistants include healthcare administration, health sciences and health information management. Earning an associate degree will likely only take a few months longer and position you very well for the next step in your education.
How long it takes depends on what level of education you pursue. Partner with Herzing University and you can expect a range of 10 months–2 years to get your education, get certified and start looking for a medical assistant position, depending on whether you choose a diploma or degree program.
The following timelines are based on full-time status:
- Associate degree: 16-20 months
- Diploma – online program: 10 months
- Diploma – Akron campus: 12 months
After earning your degree or diploma, we recommend becoming certified as a Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) or Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) even if it isn’t required in your state. With a diploma/degree and a certification, you’ll be positioned well for your first job.
Both certificate and diploma programs are field-specific credentials that do not include general education courses required in a degree program. Each can typically be completed faster than an associate degree program.
Certificates are typically the least comprehensive programs, providing the minimum career-focused training necessary to perform a certain type of job.
Diploma programs tend to be more in-depth than certificates, and can include hands-on experience to best prepare you for a wider variety of jobs in the field you’re pursuing.
Herzing University’s diploma programs exist to help you build the foundation for a long career beyond your very first job. Our diploma programs are designed to help you begin and grow your new career.
According to 2019 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), medical assistants earn an average salary of $35,720 per year ($17.17 per hour). As you earn more experience and gain more skills, your earning opportunity will improve.
The BLS also projects growing demand for medical assistants in coming years, predicting a 19% change in employment from 2019-2029. It’s a good time to get your foot in the door and work towards your new career.
Considering your career options in healthcare? Here are a few other types of jobs where you can potentially get off to a fast start:
- Medical Records Technician. Medical records technicians are responsible for the recordkeeping of confidential patient information. These types of jobs have no responsibilities in clinical care.
- Medical Billing and Coding. Billers and coders focus on healthcare revenue cycle management, concerned primarily with how patients and insurance companies are billed for healthcare services. These professionals do communicate with patients (most often medical billers) but again, play no role in clinical care.
- Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA). CNAs, on the other hand, do not play a role on the administrative side. They work exclusively in patient care, helping patients get dressed, bathe/shower, move from beds to wheelchairs, or eat meals. CNAs more often perform tasks needed around the clock, so hours/shifts in these positions can be less predictable.
- Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN). LPNs have a different scope of practice than medical assistants, focusing more directly on patient care under the supervision of an RN or physician. This represents a more direct career path into nursing. Learn more about the difference between medical assistants vs. LPNs.
- Dental Assistant. Dental assistants also perform one or a mix of clinical and administrative tasks, but only in regard to dental care.
A career in medical assisting involves a diverse array of roles and responsibilities. Depending on the practice you work for and department you are in, your normal everyday tasks can vary widely.
Potential tasks include (but not limited to):
- Answering the phone and greeting patients
- Informing physicians about patient concerns
- Scheduling appointments
- Gather patient information: contact info, insurance info, etc.
- Measuring patient vital signs
- Taking blood pressure, pulse and respirations
- Setting up exam rooms for procedures
- Visual and hearing tests
- Drawing blood
- Pregnancy tests
- Making patients comfortable during an appointment
No matter what’s required in your day-to-day experience on the job, what ties everything together is your professionalism, care for patients and attention to detail. Your resourcefulness will make you a valuable resource in a fast-paced healthcare environment.
Read more about a typical day in the life of a medical assistant and what you can expect after getting a job in the field.
Because medical assistants can wear so many different hats there are many important skills needed to thrive in different healthcare environments:
- Professionalism. In many positions you will need to handle customer service tasks, basic patient care and clearly communicate physician information to patients. Medical assistants must demonstrate professionalism and tact when interacting with patients.
- Attention to detail. Medical assistants may gather patient contact or insurance information and keep medical records organized. You must be meticulous and highly detail oriented to succeed.
- Compassion. Making patients comfortable and empathizing with their concerns is crucial ensuring patients are calm and collected for medical procedures.
- Multi-tasking. Staying organized and measured in the face of quickly changing circumstances and a lengthy “to-do” list will make you indispensable to a healthcare team.
These are just a few key medical assistant skills that will help you excel in medical assisting and beyond to many other career opportunities in healthcare.
Medical assistants can hold a variety of titles, roles and responsibilities based on the employer. There are two broad types of medical assistants:
- Clinical medical assistants. These medical assistants focus on patient care, including taking vital signs, drawing blood, visual/hearing tests, preparing exam rooms for procedures, communicating with physicians, and much more. Our medical assisting program is designed for students seeking these kinds of roles working directly in patient care.
- Administrative medical assistants. Sometimes referred to as “front office medical assistants,” administrative assistants handle scheduling, patient records, insurance claims and additional accounting/billing tasks to help the delivery of healthcare run smoothly. These types of medical assistants can specialize their education in a medical office administration program.
Experienced medical assistants, particularly on the clinical side, may specialize in a certain type of care or age group, such as pediatrics, obstetrics, cardiology, orthopedics, or many others.
Diploma in Medical Assisting Degree Programs
Showing 1 programs for the Online campus
The introduction of students to the overall operation of the physician's office is the basic objective of this diploma program. Students are trained to assist the physician in the examination room, perform routine laboratory procedures, and handle financial records, correspondence, insurance forms, and other administrative functions. Our ultimate goal is to prepare students to successfully gain entry level employment as a medical assistant.
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Accreditation & Disclosures
1. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook. Multiple factors, including prior experience, age, geography and degree field, affect career outcomes. Herzing does not guarantee a job, promotion, salary increase or other career growth. BLS estimates do not represent entry-level wages and/or salary.