You probably have a good sense of what physicians, nurses, and other direct health care providers do. But there’s another group of professionals whose work is vitally important to the healthcare field even though they don’t wear white coats or scrubs. Every day, healthcare administrators help medical offices and other healthcare organizations run in an efficient and patient-focused way. As a medical office administrator, you’ll play a role in helping patients and providers alike as they navigate the complex medical, financial, and social aspects of nearly 18 percent of America’s economy. You’ll help ensure that care reaches the people who need it, both now and in the future, in a rapidly changing industry.
The field of healthcare remains one of the most dynamic and attractive industries in the nation for job seekers, with healthcare reform efforts resulting in a renewed focus on healthcare careers at all levels. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), healthcare is one of the largest and most lucrative career fields for those with associate’s degrees. The BLS also reports that healthcare support occupations, which include many of those positions you can obtain with an associate’s degree, result in a mean annual wage of 34,950 (2013).
Earning your associate’s degree in healthcare administration is a great way to enter the field of medical office management. An associate’s degree now can start you along the path to an entry-level job – or it can lay the groundwork for your bachelor’s degree or graduate work later on.
What Are the Best Online Associate’s in Medical Office Assisting?
We’ve ranked the top 20 online associate’s degree programs in medical office assisting or healthcare administration. Criteria we used in generating this ranking include the percentage of students successfully completing the program, selectivity in admissions, and whether or not the school has regional accreditation. As you look for the program that’s right for you, remember to check carefully into the accreditation and track record of the schools you’re interested in. A regionally accredited program gives you a guarantee of academic quality, but some excellent health care specialty programs with proven records of success in graduating and placing their students are accredited in other ways. In addition, local community college programs near you may offer a low-cost alternative route to an associate’s degree in this field – so check them out too!
College Choice Score: 100
Tuition per credit hour: 390
From its modest beginnings as Lynchburg Baptist College in 1971, Liberty University has grown its programs and expanded its reach to become the world’s largest Christian university and the fifth largest university of any kind in the United States. Much of that growth has come about due to its commitment to online education. And, among its many other online programs, Liberty offers an associate of applied science degree in medical office assisting. Generous transfer policies – including the possibility of transfer credit for work experience or for military training – mean you could be finished in a much shorter time frame than two years.
Liberty University’s online associate’s degree program is designed to prepare you for a career as a medical office assistant in various healthcare environments including public health departments, hospitals, and clinics. The program requires 61 credit hours in total, with 22 credit hours of coursework required in the major. In addition to the general studies classes required for the associate’s degree, you’ll study many facets of the healthcare industry with classes in Medical Terminology, Introduction to Health Professions, Medical Office Systems and Procedures, Medical Office Billing and Bookkeeping, and more. Liberty University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
College Choice Score: 89.2
Tuition per credit hour: 699
Over the course of the past 40 years, Keiser University has grown to become Florida’s third largest, not-for-profit university, serving approximately 20,000 students, 3,800 employees, and over 66,000 alumni. As part of its extensive online programs, Keiser offers students an Associate of Arts degree in Health Services Administration, providing them with instruction in basic health services administration skills. You’ll learn the computer skills and software applications needed to prosper in a healthcare business environment. You’ll be prepared to excel in both business and health service administration, taking courses on business law, management and marketing principles, medical anatomy, physiology and terminology and front office management.
Over the course of the 60 credit hour degree, you’ll take 36 credit hours in required general education classes as well as 24 credit hours in the health administration major. The course of study is designed to attain the following objectives:
- Develop students’ understanding of software systems used in administrative healthcare.
- Familiarize students with medical terminology, anatomy and physiology.
- Train students in the application of business principles to healthcare administration.
- Assist graduates in obtaining entry-level employment in health services administration.
Keiser University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
Florida Institute of Technology
College Choice Score: 88.4
Tuition per credit hour: 510
The associate of arts degree in healthcare management offered by Florida Institute of Technology combines knowledge specific to the healthcare industry with the principles of business management. The importance of efficient management for healthcare providers large and small means that qualified and knowledgeable professionals are needed throughout the country to run it efficiently. An online AA from FIT can help you be a competitive candidate for entry-level positions in this growing field.
Concordia University Wisconsin
College Choice Score: 87.2
Tuition per credit hour: 471
For more than 100 years, Concordia University of Wisconsin has worked to fulfill its mission as a liberal arts college associated with the Lutheran tradition. One of the most affordable private colleges in Wisconsin, Concordia offers a number of online degrees to complement its residential programs. Education at Concordia is marked by a commitment to teaching values as well as academic knowledge – a combination aimed at preparing its graduates for fulfilling careers and meaningful lives. Its students come from a diverse range of backgrounds, faiths, cultures, and age groups, making for a dynamic learning environment.
Students in Concordia’s 64 credit hour associate’s degree program in healthcare management will gain knowledge and skills in a number of areas including the following:
- Analyzing health-care systems demonstrating acceptance of individuals as holistic beings created by God, respecting the dignity, worth, and rights of the individual
- Synthesizing knowledge from the sciences, humanities, and management theories as a basis for problem-solving and decision-making in health care
- Working cohesively and communicating with members of the interdisciplinary health-care network
- Evaluating research results applicable to health-care practice
- Creating a reflective self plan for personal and professional growth
- Recognizing and analyzing current trends and issues relative to health-care management
- Respecting diversity within the healthcare community for both those who are served and the providers of care
Graduates of the program may go on to a number of job opportunities including medical records coordinator, nursing home administrator, practice manager, assistant administrator, and pharmaceutical sales representative. Concordia University of Wisconsin is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
College Choice Score: 77.8
Tuition per credit hour: 550
The associate’s degree program in medical office administration at Herzing University is designed to prepare students with the skills and academic knowledge needed for entry-level office positions in the healthcare industry. Along with required coursework in computer skills, business management, and healthcare-specific issues, the program also includes a comprehensive general education curriculum that prepares students for advancement in the professional arena. All together, 60 credit hours are required for graduation, of which 7 courses are in the major. In addition, a research project and internship in the field are required, making this one of the most comprehensive programs we surveyed.
Upon their graduation from Herzing, students will be able to perform such important medical office administrative tasks as:
- Create and enter data into different healthcare documents
- Apply legal concepts to medical practice
- Employ professionalism
- Demonstrate billing and reimbursement processes.
- Explain various disease and treatment processes
Graduates of this program have gone on to career opportunities in medical offices, clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, and other healthcare office settings. Typical job titles for these graduates include medical secretary, receptionist, unit support representative, office manager, medical receptionist, front office manager, and medical office specialist. Herzing University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
Oklahoma State University at Oklahoma City
College Choice Score: 73.2
Tuition per credit hour: 340
Oklahoma State University at Oklahoma City offers an associate of science degree in healthcare administration that provides students with the tools they need to support today’s complex medical organizations. Upon completion of the program, graduates will enter a career field where remarkable changes in health care policies and administration have increased the need for excellent administrators on the front lines of service to patients.
The program consists of a total of 64 credit hours, including general education requirements as well as classes in the major. You’ll study ethics and law as well as the administrative and financial aspects of healthcare. Graduates are in demand, and they have found a variety of career paths including:
- Front-office clerical and office management
- Medical assistance
- Hospital administration
- Sales and marketing
- Customer care
- Long-term care facilities administration
- Billing, coding and information technologies
After graduation, you’ll be prepared for any of these entry-level jobs, often with starting salaries in the range of $30,000-35,000. Oklahoma State University at Oklahoma City is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
College Choice Score: 68
Tuition per credit hour: 820
The associate’s degree in business administration offered by Kentucky’s Midway University is based around the needs of the business world, giving students the knowledge and skills that employers are looking for. In this program, you’ll grow in your written and oral communication skills, the ability to analyze and solve problems, mathematical ability, and knowledge of your historical and cultural background. The business administration associate major at Midway offers students a combination of a strong liberal arts background with a solid foundation in the topics needed for business administration careers.
The associate’s degree at Midway consists of 19 credit hours of general education requirements and 21 credit hours in core topics for the major, including accounting, management, and software skills. Then, the remaining 20 credit hours required for the degree can be used to take healthcare administration classes to provide advanced knowledge in the medical administration field. You’ll learn how to plan and supervise the delivery of healthcare services by doctors, nurses, and technicians. Whether your place of work is a small health clinic or a major medical center, you can play a role in keeping it on the cutting edge in an ever-changing industry. Midway University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
Colorado Christian University
College Choice Score: 66.3
Tuition per credit hour: 455
The healthcare administration associate’s degree program at Colorado Christian University provides its graduates with a solid introduction toward becoming a frontline leader in the field. In addition, courses at CCU are taught with a Christian worldview. Students who see their work as part of their ministry and Christian vocation will learn the importance of ethical considerations in their work, while also understanding crucial aspects of leading others as a servant leader.
In the 60 credit hour program, you’ll take 36 credit hours in general education, 18 in the major, and 6 in electives. You will be introduced to health care terminology, delivery systems, and informatics, so that you can make the best possible decisions regarding patient outcomes. Additionally, the program provides a background in human resources – because health care, at its core, is about dealing with other people. You’ll combine all of this with an examination of spirituality and ethics in health care – and you’ll understand how work in health care is, indeed, a sacred calling. Core requirements for the major include:
- Healthcare terminology
- Healthcare delivery systems
- Healthcare administration and management
- Managing healthcare human resources
- Health informatics
- Healthcare law, policy, and regulations
After graduation you might serve as an administrator in a local doctor’s office, a health care clinic, or a long-term care facility. Jobs open to you might also include positions within a local hospital, managing the facilities or resources or a unit. If you’re hoping to further your education, the associate’s degree in healthcare administration also offers a foundation for further career advancement. Colorado Christian University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
College Choice Score: 60.5
Tuition per credit hour: 371
The School of Health Sciences at Kaplan University offers a number of online programs, all of which are geared towards understanding the needs of today’s healthcare industry and anticipating the needs of tomorrow. As part of those offerings, Kaplan is focused on helping students enter one of the most important areas of growth in the industry: the management of medical information. As the program site explains, in every medical office across the country, you will find a team of trained professionals who work with patient records, medical documents, and other medical office matters – and Kaplan is poised to help you become one of those professionals.
The 57 credit hour medical office administration program at Kaplan University is designed to help you qualify for positions such as medical administrative specialist or medical secretary. Duties for these positions could include medical records management, insurance processing, coding and billing, management of practice finances, information processing, and fundamental office management tasks, and career opportunities for medical office managers may exist in doctors’ offices, medical facilities, hospitals, insurance offices, pharmaceutical companies, and labs. Kaplan University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
San Joaquin Valley College
College Choice Score: 53.7
Tuition per credit hour: 502
California’s San Joaquin Valley College offers several medical office programs designed to prepare graduates to work in front-office positions for a medical practice, healthcare facility or insurance company. The coursework is targeted to help students learn the skills required to start a career in administrative support in a healthcare environment. If you’re looking to start your career quickly, you may opt for the 7-month, Certificate credential level of the program, which offers all of the training required to provide basic administrative support in a medical office setting.
However, if you’re looking for a degree program, the 14-month associate of science (A.S.) degree level of the program provides advanced training in medical billing, coding and office management. Students in SJVC’s medical office programs learn how to manage complex topics including:
- Medical insurance principles
- Medical office operations
- Human relations
- Medical law and regulations
In addition, an externship component allows students to gain hands-on experience under the direction of a medical office manager or director. San Joaquin Valley College is regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.
Bismarck State College
College Choice Score: 52.1
Tuition per credit hour: 192
Bismarck State College, located in North Dakota, offers students training in administrative support staff positions for a wide variety of one- and two-year programs. All students work with the latest computer technology and learn a variety of software applications. In addition to classroom study, students gain on-the-job experience through a cooperative education/internship program. Among the many options available to students is an associate of applied science degree as an administrative assistant, with a specialization in medical office management. This curriculum centers on preparing students for work in offices related to the practice of medicine, such as clinics, hospitals, private doctors’ offices and other medical-based facilities.
The program consists of a total of 65 credit hours, of which 50-52 credit hours are required courses in the major and the remainder are general education requirements. As part of the major, you’ll study a range of medical and administrative topics including:
- Anatomy and physiology
- Medical transcription
- Office management
- Software applications for medical offices
- Communications, writing, and public speaking
- Human resource management
- Fundamentals of business
In addition to your coursework, you’ll also complete an on-the-job internship to apply what you’ve learned. Bismarck State College is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
Pima Medical Institute
College Choice Score: 48.2
Tuition per credit hour: 366
Along with public and private schools that offer a variety of degrees, some programs in medical office administration are offered by schools that specialize in training for health care careers. One option for an associate’s degree in health care administration comes from Pima Medical Institute, which trains students for jobs in a variety of medical specialties. The associate’s degree in healthcare administration at Pima is designed for students who enjoy leading and inspiring others, and who are interested in the business of healthcare. As healthcare administrators, you’ll manage and support the business side of a healthcare facility, in roles that vary from general administration to specialized department support in the areas of finance, health information, human resources and marketing.
The online associate’s degree program consists of 64 credit hours including, but not limited to, classes in topics such as:
- Introduction to the Health Care System
- Health Care Management
- Medical Law and Ethics
- Human Resources Management
- Electronic Health Records, Coding, and Insurance
- Health Care Finance
Students with prior healthcare education may also be able to transfer up to 28 credits for an accelerated start. Graduates can expect to find employment in hospitals, clinics, outpatient care sites, physicians’ offices and even health management companies, which provide management services to hospitals and other organizations, as well as to specific departments, such as emergency, information management systems, managed care contract negotiations and physician recruiting. Pima Medical Institute is accredited by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools.
College Choice Score: 45.3
Tuition per credit hour: 525
Students with a special interest in helping medical offices and larger providers navigate the requirements of government and insurers may be interested in Berkeley College’s associate of applied science in health services administration. Graduates of this program also participate in either the Certified Coding Associate examination (CCA) offered through the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), or the Certified Professional Coder examination (CPC) through AAPC — both are nationally accepted standards of achievement in the coding field. The degree program covers both facility (inpatient) and professional (outpatient) coding. Both the AAPC and AHIMA recommend an associate’s degree prior to sitting for the CCA and CPC certification examinations. And, for certain medical billing and coding jobs, an associate’s degree is highly desirable, and may be required.
Graduates of this 60 credit hour program benefit from the following advantages of studying online through Berkeley College:
- Curricula that focus on the structure and dynamics of the healthcare industry
- An emphasis on technology and specialized software to collect, process, and use information essential to the healthcare industry and its clients
- Training in communications between healthcare providers and private and governmental funding agencies
In addition to your coursework, you’ll also complete a required internship to gain hands-on, practical experience in the field. Berkeley College is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
College Choice Score: 44.9
Tuition per credit hour: 550
For students looking for a flexible program that may lead to employment either in a physician’s office or a larger facility, the associate in science in healthcare office administration program at Hodges University may be right for you. The program is designed for students who are detail-oriented and good at both problem-solving and interpersonal skills. You’ll learn how to organize and maintain scheduling and billing information for very large facilities, such as hospitals, find creative solutions to staffing or other administrative problems, and work with advances in health care technology like Electronic Health Records (EHR). For a full-time student, this 60 credit hour program – including general education classes as well as healthcare specific topics – should take 5 terms to complete.
Graduates of the program at Hodges University will be prepared to take on a number of professional functions in the healthcare industry including:
- Improve efficiency and quality in delivering healthcare services.
- Keep up to date on new laws and regulations so the facility complies with them.
- Supervise assistant administrators in facilities that are large enough to need them.
- Manage finances of the facility, such as patient fees and billing.
- Represent the facility at investor meetings or on governing boards.
- Keep and organize records of the facility’s services, such as the number of inpatient beds used.
- Communicate with members of the medical staff and department heads.
Hodges University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
College of Health Care Professions
College Choice Score: 38.4
Tuition per credit hour: 188
Another career training school focused on health care, the College of Health Care Professions offers online programs as well as on-campus education from its facilities in Texas. The online medical office specialist program at CHCP prepares students to become entry-level employees in a variety of medical facilities as a medical administrative assistant or medical secretary. The program to attain an associate’s degree in health and medical administrative services consists of two phases. First, you’ll attain a basic certificate in medical office administration through a 64 week certificate program. Then, after 32 weeks of advanced coursework, you’ll receive your degree.
Graduates of these programs possess administrative skills in areas like insurance, coding and billing, which enable them to perform front office procedures in a physician’s private practice, group medical practice, or long-term medical care facilities. Additionally, students complete coursework in analytical and critical thinking that will assist them in supporting their clinical skills. Jobs available to associate’s degree graduates include:
- Medical office manager
- Admissions coordinator
- Medical records manager
- Executive medical administrative assistant
The College of Health Care Professions is accredited by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools.
Louisiana State University - Eunice
College Choice Score: 22.5
Tuition per credit hour: 224
The associate’s degree in management offered by LSU at Eunice is designed to prepares students for entry-level managerial positions in a variety of settings. The program includes a core curriculum and a choice of three concentrations: administrative management, accounting management, and health care management. The degree as a whole integrates business courses with a general education core to provide a comprehensive approach that meets the demands of today’s business world. In addition, the health care management concentration provides a foundation for managerial tasks specifically geared to the health care industry.
In the health care concentration, you’ll take courses including business law, aging and long-term care, contracts and negotiations in health care, practice and ambulatory care management, medical law and ethics. You’ll learn about planning, implementation and control in the management of health care professional practices. You’ll also learn how to direct and train professional staff, how to navigate the legal and organizational structures formed by management groups, how to understand the systems aspects of reporting and control, and the importance of patient satisfaction in the operation of ambulatory facilities and medical practices. Louisiana State University at Eunice is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
National American University
College Choice Score: 16
Tuition per credit hour: 720
National American University’s online associate of applied science program for medical administrative assistants is designed to prepare students for entry-level administrative positions in a variety of healthcare settings. The program uses a combination of lecture and online laboratory sessions to address administrative and general office management topics. A typical medical administrative assistant’s duties may include greeting patients, setting appointments, scheduling hospital admissions, medical transcription, bill collections, office compliance and other general office procedures. In addition, those with sufficient training and experience may become responsible for office management. Key courses in this program include medical law and ethics, medical records management, and healthcare coding.
Students who are interested in administrative careers in a hospital setting may also opt for the associate of applied science degree in medical staff services management. Through this program, you can prepare for the Certified Professional in Medical Staff Services Management or the Certified Professional Credentialing Specialist examinations, which are recognized as the standard in the medical services profession and are a symbol of excellence within the industry. A certified MSSM is qualified to become an integral part of healthcare administration that would be responsible for: managing compliance, adherence to government regulations, credentialing of staff, operations management (including staffing, budgets, and database administration), continuing education, and upholding organizational policies, procedures and regulations. National American University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
College Choice Score: 15.1
Tuition per credit hour: 475
Harrison College’s online campus offers a medical office assistant program designed to provide you the skills needed to keep a medical office running, including patient interaction, facility support, scheduling, and health information management protocol. As a student in the Medical Office Assistant program, you’ll learn how to:
- Perform telephone and electronic communications within legal and ethical boundaries
- Enter insurance and health information data into electronic health records
- Schedule patient appointments
- Protect patients’ personal health information and data
- Compose professional business letters
The credits from this program can also be transferred easily into Harrison College’s Healthcare Management bachelor’s degree, which means you have options for seamlessly pursuing further education and advancement – now or in the future.
Students at Harrison College can also add to their skills by participating in the medical billing and coding program, which provides cross training in the details of how to file insurance claims and manage the complexities of health care finance systems. In this diploma program, you will also be taught how to enter and protect health information data, schedule patient appointments and complete health care claim forms. As a trade school, Harrison College is accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools.
College Choice Score: 12.3
Tuition per credit hour: 265
Miller-Motte College is another trade school that offers online education in medical office careers, and particularly in the growing field of medical billing and coding. In this program, students study topics that include specialized medical knowledge, medical office administration, and health information technology. You’ll study the disease process for all body systems as well as how each disease process affects the body as a whole, and learn how to educate patients and their family members. You’ll gain a working knowledge of the administrative and financial duties performed in the medical office setting, including the utilization of Electronic Health Records (EHR). Finally, you’ll participate in an in-depth study of the content, storage, retrieval, control and retention of health information systems, including methods of controlling accuracy and security of data in computer systems, records linkage and data sharing concepts.
Once you have completed the program, you will be ready to enter the job market with the skills needed to have a successful career. A number of jobs in medical billing and health records management are open to graduates. As a billing clerk, you’ll compile data and compute fees to help keep your medical office running smoothly. As a medical records technician, you will work to ensure patient records have the important information they need to ensure proper treatment. Miller-Motte College is accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools.
College Choice Score: 6.2
Tuition per credit hour: 387
The associate’s degree program in medical office administration offered by Virginia College is designed to give students a practical foundation you need for a career in this field. You’ll learn key skills, from business basics and payroll accounting to medical terminology and reporting. The online office administration classes include simulation exercises and practical application activities as well as theoretical knowledge, where you will have the opportunity to practice insurance filing and billing as well as medical office transcription. In total, the program takes 88 weeks (1 year and 9 months) to complete for students taking a regular course load.
Upon graduation from the Medical Office Administration program, graduates will be able to:
- Demonstrate knowledge of essential medical terminology and office procedures, along with good customer service skills as required in the administrative portion of a medical facility
- Function successfully in a healthcare setting by providing patient scheduling, greeting, and record keeping, as well as other administrative tasks in a medical setting
- Transcribe physician’s’ diagnostic comments and orders
- Use computer technology and administrative skills in a healthcare environment
- Create and maintain both electronic and paper patient files
- Coordinate a job search
Because firsthand learning is often the best way to apply what you’ve learned in class, you’ll also complete an 11-week externship as part of this program. This is an opportunity for you to gain on-the-job training and industry insight that can better prepare you to enter the workforce. As a trade school, Virginia College is accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools.