If you want to enter the healthcare industry without fulfilling all the strenuous educational requirements of medical school, you might have considered medical assistant as a career.

What is a Medical Assistant?

A Medical Assistant is a healthcare worker who works in close proximity to physicians, nurses, and other healthcare professionals. They provide support services and their duties generally entail both clinical and administrative duties.

You must also be wondering: “How much does it cost to pursue a career as a medical assistant, or how much do medical assistant programs cost?”

The cost of medical assisting programs can vary significantly, ranging from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars, depending on the specific program you choose.

Read: Accelerated Medical Assistant Program

Read on to find out more about the costs attached to the different types of medical assistant training available, and which one might be the best for you.

Also see: Is Medical Assistant a Good Career?

What Do Medical Assistants Do?

Medical assistants are important members of healthcare facilities as they perform both administrative and clinical tasks.

On the administrative side, they schedule appointments, maintain patient records, handle billing, and manage the front desk. In a clinical capacity, they assist physicians during examinations, take vital signs, prepare patients for procedures, draw blood, and perform basic lab tests.

They might also explain treatments or medications to patients, sterilize medical instruments, and even conduct basic wound care.

Their diverse skill set and ability to multitask make them invaluable in ensuring the smooth functioning of medical offices and clinics while providing essential support to both healthcare providers and patients.

How Much Does Each Type of Medical Assistant Program Cost?

When it comes to medical assistant training programs, you have a wide range of options to choose from. Whether you prefer the flexibility of online learning, the specialized training offered by trade schools,

Read: 12 Reasons to Become a Medical Assistant

or the comprehensive education provided by community colleges, each option comes with its own cost considerations.

It’s important to explore the various program types and their associated costs to make an informed decision about the best training path for you as a prospective medical assistant.

Also see: How to Become a Medical Assistant

Online Medical Assistant Training Programs

If you want flexibility in your medical assistant training, an online certification program could be an excellent choice. These programs offer the convenience of completing coursework online, with the flexibility to choose from morning, evening, and self-paced study options.

One of the major advantages of pursuing a career as a medical assistant is the ability to enter the field quickly and affordably, and online training programs align well with this benefit since you can complete it in as little as 4 to 6 months.

Generally, online medical assistant training programs have a cost range of $2,000 to $5,000, making them a more affordable option compared to other training routes.

Also see: Medical Assistant Career Path

Community College Programs for Medical Assistants

While community colleges also offer degree programs, their certificate programs are often a more cost-effective and faster alternative as compared to getting an associate’s degree.

Certificate programs offered by community colleges typically have a duration of up to a year and are designed to provide focused career training.

These programs equip students with the essential skills and knowledge required to excel in the medical assistant profession.

In terms of cost, a medical assistant certificate program at a community college can range from $1,500 to $10,000.

See more: Medical Assistant Certificate Requirements

Even though this is a much cheaper and better option than opting for the conventional associate’s degree, there is still one major disadvantage attached: scheduled classes and the risks and costs attached to it.

Also read: Medical Assistant Skills

Associate’s Degree from a Technical University

Obtaining an associate degree from a technical college is a popular choice for individuals pursuing a comprehensive education in medical assisting.

On average, the total tuition cost for a community college associate degree program is approximately $20,000.

This makes it the most expensive method of completing a medical assistant training program, wherein students have to often undertake the burden of education loans.

One advantage of earning an associate degree is the potential ease of transferring your education credits. If you decide to further your education in the future, having a degree can facilitate the process of transferring credits to another institution.

Also read: Medical Assistant Educational Requirements

Deciding Which Medical Assisting Program Suits You Financially

While the cost of a medical assistant program is an important factor to consider, other crucial aspects should also influence your decision.

When considering potential schools, it is essential to examine their graduation rates, passing rates on certification exams, and feedback from current and former students.

See also: Is Medical Assistant School Hard?

In addition to cost, you should also consider the time commitment and your future aspirations when selecting a program.

Online and certificate options tend to be quicker to complete, but they do not result in earning a degree. If obtaining a degree is important to you or aligns with your long-term goals, you may prefer a program that offers an associate degree.

See more about Medical Assistant Degree Online 6 Weeks here.

It is worth noting that most employers recognize any type of medical assistant education as long as you pass the certification exam.

The core courses in medical assistant programs are generally similar across different types of programs, ensuring that you acquire the essential knowledge and skills necessary for the role.

Whether you opt for a 4-month online program or a 2-year associate degree program, you will gain the foundational understanding needed to succeed as a medical assistant.

Read more on: How Long Does it Take to Become a Medical Assistant?

Here’s an online Medical Assistant Training Program that suits every individual’s needs, in every way ->


How Much Do Medical Assistant Certifications Cost?

After finishing your medical assisting program, it is necessary to take a certification exam to demonstrate your competence and ensure safety in the workplace.

Most employers prioritize hiring medical assistants who have successfully passed a medical assistant certification test, as it indicates sufficient training and education.

There are several certification exams available, and generally, employers accept any of the certificates discussed below. However, certain specialized medical assisting roles may require additional training and certifications beyond the standard exams.

Also see: Is Medical Assistant Degree Required?

Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) Exam: Cost

In order to take the CCMA (Certified Clinical Medical Assistant) exam, you need to fulfill one of the following requirements: completion of a medical assisting program or one year of medical assisting experience.

The cost of the CCMA exam is $155, and it is available for three attempts per year. It’s important to note that the CCMA certification needs to be renewed every two years to maintain its validity.

Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) Exam: Cost

To be eligible to take the CMA (Certified Medical Assistant) exam, you must have graduated from an accredited medical assisting program. The exam fee for the CMA test is $125, and you have up to three attempts to pass it.

If you are unsuccessful after three attempts, you will be required to retake a medical assisting course before attempting the exam again.

Once you pass the CMA exam, your certification is valid for 60 months (5 years). To keep your CMA certification current, you will need to complete continuing education (CE) credits within that time frame.

Also see: Medical Assistant Degree vs Certificate

Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) Exam: Cost

In order to take the RMA (Registered Medical Assistant) exam, you must meet one of two requirements: have five years of experience as a medical assistant or graduate from an accredited medical assisting program.

The cost of the RMA exam is $120, and if you don’t pass on your first attempt, you can retake the exam every 45 days until you pass.

Once you successfully pass the RMA exam, your certification will be valid for a period of three years. After three years, you will need to renew your RMA certification to maintain its validity.

Also see: How to get Medical Assistant jobs with no experience

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How to Pay for Medical Assistant Schooling or Training

Regardless of the medical assistant training option you choose, financing your education will require careful planning and preparation. Even the most affordable training programs come with associated costs.

However, there are several resources available to help you pay for your education:

  • Scholarships:

    Scholarships are not limited to individuals with exceptional grades or extensive accolades. Scholarships are available to individuals from diverse backgrounds and circumstances, provided that they invest time in searching for suitable opportunities. Many students have successfully funded their education by securing multiple smaller scholarships.

  • Grants:

    A Pell Grant is a non-repayable sum of money that can be used to fund your education. To qualify for a Pell Grant, you must complete an application and ensure that your tax filings are up to date.

    Until you reach the age of 25, both your income and your parent’s or guardian’s income will be taken into account to determine your eligibility for financial aid.

    To apply, you must ensure that you or your parents have filed taxes for the previous year. Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is necessary, and you will subsequently receive an offer outlining the specifics of your loan and grant eligibility.

    Once you receive the grant offer, you will need to respond to accept the grant and make decisions regarding the amount of loan money you wish to request.

  • Student Loans:

    Both federal and private student loans are available to finance your education.

    Federal student loans generally offer more favorable terms, including lower interest rates, various repayment plans, and the possibility of loan forgiveness. These loans are backed by the government.

    On the other hand, private student loans are obtained from banks or other lenders. They typically have stricter eligibility criteria, higher interest rates, and fewer repayment options compared to federal loans.

  • Savings:

    Saving for college early is an excellent strategy to avoid excessive reliance on loans and reduce interest payments. By starting to save for your education as soon as possible, you can accumulate funds over time and potentially cover a significant portion of your college expenses without borrowing.

Also see: Medical Assistant On-the-Job Training


In conclusion, understanding the costs associated with medical assistant programs is important for aspiring healthcare professionals.

While expenses vary based on factors like program duration, location, and type of institution, there are avenues for financial aid, scholarships, and grants to alleviate the burden. Evaluating program costs against the quality of education and potential career opportunities is essential.

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