If you’re interested in becoming a medical assistant, you can either take training in a traditional classroom setting or online. There are some advantages and disadvantages to online medical assistant programs, and you should weigh them carefully before choosing one.
Advantages of Online Training
Online training has some definite advantages, a few of which include:
- The ability to fit classes into your busy schedule, since online classes generally have more flexibility
- Eliminating the need to purchase the scrub uniforms that students are required to wear at some colleges
- Having access to training programs regardless of your location. Campus-based medical assistant classes are not available everywhere, which means that individuals who live some distance from a training program might not otherwise be able to attend.
- Online training can be less costly, since virtual colleges have fewer expenses and can therefore offer a lower tuition rate
Disadvantages of Online Training
The biggest disadvantage to online medical assistant training is the fact that it does not provide you with the “hands on” experience that’s needed to master certain tasks. As such, it could be difficult for anyone wishing to become a clinical medical assistant to learn the right skills. However, those who have already received on-the-job training may not need this type of instruction, in which case taking online classes could be an excellent choice.
Some other disadvantages to online training are:
- Fewer networking opportunities after graduation
- Materials must sometimes be purchased separately
- Limited assistance with passing a certification exam
Online vs. Campus Training: Which one is Best?
A traditional classroom setting might be better if you:
- Prefer one-on-one instruction
- Have limited medical knowledge
- Plan to work as a clinical medical assistant
- Would like assistance preparing for a certification exam
On the other hand, online classes could be better if you:
- Plan to become an administrative rather than a clinical medical assistant or
- Would like to become a clinical medical assistant, and already have some related experience working in a medical office
- Are a visual learner who doesn’t require a great deal of hands on training in order to master new tasks
- Live some distance away from the nearest campus-based training program
When making your decision, there are several things you should think about before deciding on a training program. If your goal is to become certified, you should ensure that any program you enroll in is accredited by either the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). Graduating from a school accredited by one of these two agencies is required before you can sit for a certifying exam.
You should also know what other expenses you could expect during training. For example, you could need to purchase certain software or own a computer with particular features before enrolling in online classes. There could also be laboratory fees and background checks associated with taking campus-based courses.
Medical assistant training should ideally end with a practicum, regardless of whether it is conducted in a classroom setting or online. On-campus training programs may assign you to a clinic or allow you to choose from a list of preferred providers. With online training, you will likely be on your own to find a location to perform your practicum in, and will probably be responsible for your doing your own reporting on it as well.
Regardless of whether you choose online or campus-based courses, medical assistant training can prepare you for an exciting career that’s currently in high demand and expected to stay that way for some time. For more information about medical assistant training in your area, contact us.