If you’re interested in entering the rewarding world of healthcare without much hassle, medical assistance might be the best career choice for you.

Medical assistance is one of the best-emerging careers in healthcare. This is due to the high demand for medical assistants with the rise of the baby boomer population across the country.

Also, starting a medical assistant career is easy with little to no requirements. You do not need a degree to become a medical assistant, all you require is your high school diploma or a GED.

Medical assistants, however, are highly preferred by employers after they obtain their certification. They can do so by first choosing and completing a medical assistant training program, and then clearing the certification exam.

There are many types of medical assistant programs, all based on location, mode of education, costs, and more.

Read on to find out everything about the cheapest medical assistant training programs available and which one would be the best fit for you, both online and in person.

Cheapest Medical Assistant Programs

There is a wide range of options available for medical assistant training programs, providing flexibility for individuals to choose the program that best suits their needs.

Some of the options include online programs, certificate programs offered by community colleges, associate degree programs, and on-the-job training opportunities.

It is important to note that the cost of medical assistant programs can vary significantly depending on factors such as the type of program, its location, and additional factors specific to each program.

Let us take a look at some of the cheapest medical assistant training programs available:

Online Medical Assistant Training Program

Online medical assistant programs are the most recommended out of all the alternatives, simply due to the amount of advantages it offer.

The benefits include completing your training much faster, in as little as 4 to 6 months; significantly cheaper costs; externship opportunities once you finish your course; and the ability to learn at your own pace and time schedule.

  • Location- Online
  • Cost- $2000
  • Type of Program- Certificate
  • Duration- 4 to 6 months
  • Certificate offered- Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA)

There are many online and local medical assistant training programs out there, but we’re here to tell you that Preppy might be the best for you.

Here’s why.

  • Accredited Courses: Preppy’s program is partnered with a respected Accredited University, ensuring high-quality education.
  • University Certificate: Upon completion, you receive a Certificate of Completion from the Accredited University, boosting your resume and impressing employers.
  • Highly Affordable: Preppy offers one of the most affordable medical assistant programs, saving you from student loans and financial stress.
  • 100% Online & Self-Paced Classes: Take advantage of flexible online classes that fit your schedule, allowing you to learn at your own pace.
  • Preparation for Certification Exams: Preppy provides comprehensive training to prepare you for national certification exams, giving you a competitive edge.
  • Fast Completion: Complete your training in as little as 4 months, getting certified and starting your career sooner.
  • Externship Opportunities: Gain practical experience through externship opportunities, applying your skills in real-world settings.
  • Free Laptop: Enroll and receive a free laptop that’s yours to keep, supporting your learning journey.
  • 24×7 Support: Access a dedicated Student Coordinator and round-the-clock support, ensuring assistance whenever you need it.


The U.S. Career Institute

The US Career Institute provides a self-paced online medical assistant course that offers flexibility in completion time. While the course can be finished in 4 months, it is common for students to complete it within a range of 6 to 10 months.

With a commendable exam pass rate of 92%, the course covers many topics, including basic pharmacology and common front office procedures.

  • Location- Online
  • Cost- $1239 to $1568
  • Type of Program- Certificate
  • Duration- 4 to 10  months
  • Certificate offered- Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) or Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA)

Stanly Community College

Stanly Community College offers a variety of associate degree programs and holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

To be eligible for application to the program, applicants must possess a GED or high school diploma and fulfill the requirement of completing or testing out of basic English and Math courses. Stanly Community College provides a valuable opportunity for individuals seeking an associate degree in their chosen field.

  • Location- North Carolina
  • Cost- $1368 for in-state and $4824 for out-of-state students
  • Type of Program- Certificate or associate degree
  • Duration- 6 months to 2 years
  • Certificate offered- Certified Medical Assistant (CMA)

Davidson Community College

Davidson Community College offers comprehensive in-person medical assistant training through its diploma and certificate programs. These programs provide hands-on learning experiences and practical skills necessary for a career as a medical assistant.

After completion of the program, students benefit from a high job placement rate, with 86% of graduates securing employment within one year. Davidson Community College’s commitment to quality education and successful job outcomes makes it a reputable choice for individuals aspiring to become medical assistants.

  • Location- North Carolina
  • Cost- $1216 for in-state and $5813 for out-of-state students
  • Type of Program- Certificate or associate degree
  • Duration- 2 years
  • Certificate offered- Certified Medical Assistant (CMA)

Community College of Philadelphia

The Community College of Philadelphia provides a flexible online medical assisting program designed to accommodate the needs of students. This program offers the convenience of accepting new students at any time throughout the year, allowing individuals to start their education when it suits them best.

Through a combination of video lectures, online quizzes, and self-paced lessons, students can engage with the course material at their own convenience. The online format provides flexibility, making it easier for individuals to balance their studies with other commitments.

  • Location- Online
  • Cost- $2599
  • Type of Program- Certificate
  • Duration- Has to be completed within 6 months
  • Certificate offered- Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA)

Craven Community College

Craven Community College provides a medical assisting program that accepts students once a year, specifically with a Fall start date. This structured program allows students to join a cohort and progress through the curriculum, fostering a supportive learning environment.

Additionally, Craven Community College recognizes the needs of parents who are pursuing their education. To support these individuals, the college offers a childcare program, providing a valuable resource for parents who require assistance with childcare while attending classes and completing their medical assisting program.

  • Location- North Carolina
  • Cost- $2741 for in-state and $5813 for out-of-state students
  • Type of Program- Diploma or associate degree
  • Duration- 18 months to 2 years
  • Certificate offered- Certified Medical Assistant (CMA)

Pima Community College

Pima Community College offers a comprehensive medical assisting certificate program that encompasses both front-office work and direct patient care skills. The program is designed to provide students with a well-rounded education and the necessary knowledge and skills to succeed in the medical assisting field.

Throughout the program, students will have the opportunity to study a variety of relevant subjects, including basic anatomy and physiology, pharmacology, and office procedures. These courses cover essential topics that are vital to understanding the human body, administering medications, and performing administrative tasks within a healthcare setting.

  • Location- Tucson, Arizona
  • Cost- $2403 for in-state and $8383 for out-of-state students
  • Type of Program- Certificate
  • Duration- 12 months
  • Certificate offered- Certified Medical Assistant (CMA)

San Francisco State University

San Francisco State University offers a comprehensive program that prepares students with the knowledge and skills necessary to assist physicians in basic assessments and various responsibilities within a medical office setting. Through a combination of theoretical instruction and practical training, students gain a strong foundation in medical assisting.

The San Francisco State University program includes courses covering a wide range of topics relevant to medical assisting. Students have the opportunity to learn essential skills such as phlebotomy, which involves the proper collection and handling of blood samples, and EKG recordings, which focus on conducting and interpreting electrocardiograms.

  • Location- Online or hybrid at San Francisco University
  • Cost- $2599
  • Type of Program- Certificate
  • Duration- 3 to 6 months
  • Certificate offered- Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA)

Penn Foster Associate Degree

Penn Foster offers an online medical assisting program that provides students with the opportunity to earn an associate degree and medical assisting certification upon successful completion of the coursework and exams. The program is designed to equip students with the knowledge and skills necessary to excel in the field of medical assisting.

The courses offered include medical terminology, which focuses on understanding and effectively using medical language, as well as anatomy and physiology, which provides a comprehensive understanding of the human body’s structure and function.

Pharmacology is also covered in the program, enabling students to learn about medications, their administration, and the potential interactions and effects they may have on patients.

  • Location- Online
  • Cost- $4800
  • Type of Program- Associate degree
  • Duration- 2 years
  • Certificate offered- Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA), Certified Medical Assistant (CMA), Registered Medical Assistant (RMA), Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA).

MedCerts Medical Assisting Program

MedCerts is an online platform that provides training programs for various healthcare professions, including medical assistants, dental assistants, surgical technologists, and phlebotomists.

One of the key features of MedCerts’ training programs is their interactive learning approach. Students have access to engaging materials that include video lectures, interactive lessons, and game-based learning modules.

  • Location- Online
  • Cost- $4000
  • Type of Program- Certificate
  • Duration- 7 months
  • Certificate offered- Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA), Certified Medical Assistant (CMA)

Do You Want To Become a Medical Assistant? Check Out Free Medical Assistant Masterclass!

In our masterclass you learn:

  • How to be a medical assistant faster…in just 4 months!
  • Avoid student debt & driving to classes
  • #1 thing employers want from Medical Assistants
  • How to stand-apart & get a university certificate for a strong resume
Take me to the Free Masterclass

How To Choose a Medical Assistant Program

When exploring medical assisting program options, it’s crucial to take into account your personal priorities and learning style. Selecting the right program is a significant decision, and considering various factors can help you make an informed choice.

Here are some key aspects to consider:


Before enrolling in a program, it is important to have a clear understanding of the overall costs involved. Certain programs may have undisclosed fees, costly textbooks, or require purchasing additional supplies.

Additionally, it is advisable to inquire about scholarship opportunities or eligibility for federal Pell Grants to help finance your education. Some programs may also offer payment plans, but it is important to inquire about any potential interest charges or additional fees associated with such plans.

Duration of Program

Opting for shorter programs can accelerate your process of becoming a medical assistant by enabling you to join the workforce more quickly. However, it is important to acknowledge that these programs typically entail a substantial amount of information to cover, necessitating full-time studying until the completion of your training.

If you have family obligations or are currently employed while pursuing your education, it may be beneficial to consider enrolling in a longer-duration part-time program. This approach allows for a more manageable balance between your studies, work responsibilities, and family commitments.

Certification Pass Rate

It is highly recommended to inquire about the certification exam passing rate from your school counselor or program director before making a decision. The passing rate for certification exams, such as the CMA, can vary among different schools and programs. The national average passing rate for the CMA exam is approximately 65%.

If a particular program has a lower passing rate than the national average, you should explore alternative programs. A higher passing rate generally indicates that the program effectively prepares students for the certification exam, increasing their chances of success.

Resulting Certificate

There are various types of medical assisting certificates available, and while most employers accept any type of certification, it’s important to select the one that aligns with your career goals and interests.

For instance, if you prefer a role that involves clinical tasks and direct patient care, pursuing a Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) certification may be ideal. On the other hand, if you are more inclined toward administrative duties within a medical office, a certification as a Medical Administrative Assistant could be a better fit.


It is crucial to ensure that the medical assisting program you choose is accredited. Accreditation signifies that the school or program has undergone a comprehensive evaluation by experts and meets specific educational standards.

Accredited programs generally provide quality education and adhere to recognized industry guidelines. By selecting an accredited program, you can have confidence in the program’s curriculum, faculty qualifications, student support services, and overall educational experience.

Online vs. In-person Classes

Both online and in-person courses for medical assisting have their advantages and disadvantages. Online classes provide greater flexibility in terms of scheduling and the ability to study from anywhere with an internet connection. They are well-suited for individuals who require a flexible learning environment and prefer self-paced study.

However, online courses typically demand higher levels of self-motivation, discipline, and independent learning skills. Students in online programs may have limited opportunities for hands-on practice and face-to-face interaction with instructors and peers.

On the other hand, in-person courses offer a structured learning environment with set class schedules and face-to-face interactions. They provide more opportunities for hands-on practice, immediate feedback, and the ability to ask questions directly to instructors and classmates.

In-person courses are beneficial for those who thrive in a traditional classroom setting, prefer structured learning, and value the guidance and support of instructors and classmates. However, they may require more time commitment and limited scheduling flexibility.

If Externship Opportunities are Included

Medical assistant externships are valuable learning experiences that allow students to observe and work alongside experienced medical assistants in real-world healthcare settings.

These externships provide excellent opportunities for hands-on learning, practicing essential skills, and gaining practical experience under the supervision of seasoned professionals.

During an externship, students can apply the knowledge and techniques they have learned in their training program in a practical setting. They get to witness the daily responsibilities and tasks of medical assistants, such as taking vital signs, assisting with procedures, managing patient records, and providing general support to healthcare professionals.

Medical Assistant Programs FAQs

What is the minimum cost of a medical assistant certification program?

Medical Assistant certificate programs generally cost between $2,000 to $5,000.

Is a medical assistant degree or certification program better?

You will need to determine your goals and keep your financial and other needs in mind while deciding if a medical assistant degree or a certification program is the best fit for you.

Employers generally only want you to be certified as a medical assistant, they don’t care for a degree.

Are medical assistant programs hard?

No, medical assistant programs are generally not hard. If you commit to the career and put in an appropriate time to study, you can expect to complete the program with ease.

Which is the best medical assistant certification?

All medical assistant certifications are considered to be equally legitimate, except that they might have slightly different eligibility criteria. You can choose whichever is the best fit for you according to your career goals.

The three most common and legitimate medical assistant certifications include the CCMA, CMA, and RMA certifications.

Here are some additional resources for your reference: