A medical assistant job is a great way to become part of a healthcare team. Medical assistants get to work closely with doctors diagnosing and treating patients, and they have decent salaries, good work schedules, and great job security.
But how much does it cost to become a medical assistant?
Medical assisting programs can cost between several hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars, depending on the program you choose. The least expensive certificate programs start at $1,500, while you might spend over $20,000 for a medical assisting degree.
This guide will go over the costs of different medical assistant training programs, cost certifications, and what else to consider when deciding which is best for you.
How Much Each Type of Medical Assistant Training Program Costs
There are many different options for medical assistant training programs. You might choose an online program, a trade school, or community college, each of which has different costs.
Cost of Online Medical Assistant Training Programs
An online medical assistant certification program is a great option for someone who is self-motivated and needs flexibility. These allow you to complete your classwork online, with morning, evening, and self-paced options. Being able to become one quickly and cheaply is one of the main benefits of a medical assisting career.
Online medical assistant training programs typically cost $2,000 to $5,00 and can be completed in under a year.
Stepful’s online medical assistant training program, for example, costs $1,999 and can be completed in just four months. This is one of the cheapest medical assistant programs currently available.
Cost of Trade School for Medical Assistants
Trade schools are designed to help people move quickly into the workforce. They provide specific courses for the career you choose and their programs can be completed in less time than a traditional college.
A trade school program for medical assisting usually lasts about a year. When you finish, you’ll earn a certificate stating that you have met educational requirements to work as a medical assistant.
The cost of these programs ranges from $2,500 to $20,000 per year. Here are some examples of medical assistant trade school costs:
- Eagle Gate College - $14,000
- Fortis College - $15,000
- Davis Technical College - $4,000
Cost of Medical Assistant Certificate Program from a Community College
While you can get a degree from a community college, many community colleges offer certificate programs as a less expensive, faster option.
A certificate program is similar to a technical college program. They usually last less than a year and focus specifically on career training.
In-state tuition for a medical assistant certificate program from a community college ranges from $1,500 to $10,000.
Here are a few examples:
- Salt Lake Community College - $6,000
- Central Community College - $9,000
- Eastern New Mexico Community College - $2,000
Cost of Associate Degree from a Community College
The average total tuition for a community college associate degree is around $10,000, and costs can range from $10,000 to $60,000.
Similarly to universities, out-of-state tuition is much more expensive than in-state tuition.
Getting a degree makes your education credits easier to transfer if you ever decide to return to school.
Here are some example costs of medical assistant associate degrees:
- Manchester Community College - $9,400
- San Bernardino Community College - $5,700
- Marymount College - $21,00
>> Read More: Medical Assistant Degree vs. Certificate
Deciding Which Medical Assisting Program Makes the Most Financial Sense for You
While cost is important, it is not the only thing that should be considered when choosing a medical assistant program. When choosing a school, look at their graduation rates, examination passing rates, and student reviews.
You can also ask whether or not they will help you find a job after graduation. Some programs, such as Stepful’s online medical assistant program, guarantee job placement after you complete their programs.
When choosing what kind of program will work for you, consider the time commitment and what your future plans are. Online and certificate options are the fastest, but you will not earn a degree.
It’s worth noting that most employers accept any type of education as long as you pass the certification exam. Most programs have the same core medical assistant courses, so you'll have the essentials down whether you do a 4-month online program or a 2-year associate degree program.
Cost of Medical Assistant Certifications
After completing your medical assisting program, you’ll need to take a certification exam. Most employers prefer to have medical assistants that have passed a medical assistant certification test, showing that they have enough training and education to be competent and safe at their jobs.
There are a few different exams to choose from, and most employers will accept any of the certificates that we go over below. Note that some specific types of medical assistants may need additional training and certifications.
Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) Cost
Taking the CMA exam requires that you have graduated from an accredited medical assisting program. The cost of the test is $125 and you are allowed three attempts to pass before you will be required to retake a medical assisting course. Your CMA certification is valid for 60 months, and CE credits must be completed to keep it current.
Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) Cost
To take the CCMA exam, you must complete a medical assisting program or have one year of medical assisting experience. The CCMA exam costs $155 and can be attempted three times per year. The CCMA certification must be renewed every two years.
Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) Cost
To take the RMA exam, you must have five years of experience as a medical assistant or graduate from an accredited program. The RMA exam costs $120. You can re-take the RMA exam every 45 days until you pass. The RMA certification is good for three years.
>> Read More: CMA vs CCMA vs RMA
Paying for Medical Assistant Schooling or Training
Whatever medical assistant training option you choose, you’ll have to find a way to pay for it. Even the least expensive options for medical assistant training require some planning and preparation.
Fortunately, there are many resources available for paying for your education, as well as online medical assistant programs that accept financial aid.
Scholarships are not exclusive to those with the best grades or cabinets full of awards. Scholarships are available for people of all different backgrounds and situations if you spend the time looking. Many people have success finding multiple small scholarships to pay for their education.
Check out guide to medical assistant scholarships to see some options you can apply for today.
A Pell Grant is money you can receive to put towards your education and you don’t have to pay it back.
Getting a Pell Grant requires you to fill out an application and be caught up on filing taxes. Until you turn 25, both your income and the income of your parent(s)/guardian(s) will be considered to determine your eligibility for financial aid.
When you apply, you will need to make sure that you or your parents have filed taxes for the previous year. You will need to fill out the Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA), then you will receive an offer with the details of your loan and grant eligibility.
The FAFSA is always due around April 15 by midnight Central time. For priority consideration, submit the FAFSA by May 1.
You will need to respond to accept the grant, and decide how much—if any—loan money you would like.
Student loans are available both federally and privately.
Federal student loans typically have lower interest rates, more repayment plans, and the potential for student loan forgiveness.
Private student loans from a bank or other lender have stricter eligibility requirements, higher interest rates, and less repayment options.
Make sure you read the terms of any loan closely and understand the repayment plan, interest rates, and fees.
Saving for college is a great option if you can get started early. Avoiding loans and planning for your future can save you a lot of money on interest payments.
Some employers offer tuition reimbursement for employees who agree to remain at their job for a specified amount of time. Companies may agree to pay for part or all of a team member's education.