Med assistant training is an essential step toward a rewarding career in the healthcare industry. One of the decisions you’ll need to make when pursuing this profession is: online vs classroom for medical assistance training.
In this article, you will find the differences between these two options and the hybrid version to help you determine which is the best fit for you.
Online Medical Assistant Training
Online learning has been around for quite some time at this point, but it has become much more prevalent within the last decade. While there are many positive aspects of online learning, there can also be some drawbacks, especially when it comes to medical education.
Advantages of Online Training
- Online courses for medical assisting are significantly cheaper than classroom programs. Online courses typically cost between $2,000 and $5,000, which is all you will need to pay for the entire program.
- Online training can be completed much faster. This will allow you to start working at a medical office or another facility much sooner.
- Online classes can be accessed regardless of your location. You can take an course for medical assisting remotely at a school that is physically located on the other side of the country. You can also access an online course regardless of the time of day.
- Online classes may also be more beneficial for students who get distracted in classroom environments.
- Online courses often allow students to work at their own pace. This means that even if you have a busy schedule, you can study to be a medical assistant after work and on the weekends.
Disadvantages of Online Training
- Online learning for medical assisting isn’t as comprehensive as classroom instruction. Many classroom programs offer more hands-on training, which can be very valuable for an aspiring entry-level medical assistant.
- It can be disrupted by technology issues. If you have internet issues, your device breaks, or you have some other kind of technical issue, you will not be able to access your course material.
- Some students struggle to focus and learn when accessing content on a screen. This could make online learning more difficult for students who prefer to be taught via classroom instruction.
Classroom Medical Assistant Training (On-Campus)
In-person programs have been around for an exceptionally long time, and they are still the main way to receive a medical education.
Advantages of Classroom-Based Training
- Classroom environments are great for aspiring med assistants. This is because many in-person medical assisting programs offer hands-on training, as a part of the program as well.
- Many students are more comfortable in a traditional classroom, as this is how they learned during their formative years.
- In-person medical assisting programs are often more in-depth.
- These programs allow students to interact with one another. This is beneficial, as medical assistants deal with many people while working.
Disadvantages of Classroom-Based Training
- On-campus medical assisting programs can be more expensive. They can cost between $5,000 and $25,000, depending on the type of program, and the school you choose to attend.
- Traditional classroom programs are often inflexible. If you are unable to attend class, then you may miss out on some important information.
- Another drawback of in-person classes is the fact that you will need to travel to classes. This can further add to the expenses related to in-person medical assistant programs.
Hybrid Medical Assistant Training
Overview of Hybrid Medical Assistant Training
Hybrid medical assistant training consists of both online learning and in-person classes. In these programs, normal content will usually be shared online, while in-person time will be used for hands-on training, like laboratory time.
In many ways, this option can be the best of both worlds but also has drawbacks of its own.
Advantages of Hybrid Medical Assistant Training
- You can self-study some of the classroom material like medical terminology on your own time, and take advantage of the hands-on training when it is offered.
- Hybrid medical assistant training is more supportive than online learning. If you are struggling with online content, you can often approach a lecturer or other students for help when you have in-person classes.
- You won’t need to travel to class every day. This can help reduce travel costs.
Disadvantages of Hybrid Medical Assistant Training
- Hybrid learning can make it more difficult to set up a daily schedule. This is because your days will differ, depending on whether you have in-person or online classes.
- Hybrid learning medical assistant programs still rely on technology. This means that if you experience technical issues, you may not be able to access your course material.
- Depending on the medical assistant program you take, you may not get as much hands-on training, as you would if you were to take in-person classes.
How do I choose the right medical assistant training program?
Choosing the right medical assistant program can be difficult. If you don’t have much time to attend classes and don’t want to spend too much on your education, you should go for an online course. If you choose to go the online route, you should make sure the program is accredited by one of the medical assistant certification organizations.
If you have enough time to attend in-person classes and can afford the higher fees, you should go for in-person classes. They will provide you with more hands-on experience, which most employers will prefer.
What factors should I consider when choosing between online and classroom-based medical assistant training?
Some of the factors you will need to consider include:
- How much you can afford to pay for classes.
- How much time you have to attend classes.
- Whether you want to get more experience or want to finish the program quicker.
- If you prefer digital learning or a more traditional classroom experience.
Is it possible to switch from online to classroom-based medical assistant training (or vice versa)?
Yes, it is possible to switch from an online course to an in-person course, and from an in-person course to an online course. In many cases, you may be credited for the classes you have already taken, so you won’t need to learn the same material again.
How long does medical assistant training typically take?
Medical assistant training can take as little as four months, or as long as two years to complete, depending on the type of program you choose.
As you now know, there are three different options to choose from when it comes to medical assistant training programs. Both online and in-person medical assistant programs have their own pros and cons, while hybrid programs share some pros and cons with both options.
Before you take the plunge and choose a program, there are some factors that we have mentioned above that you will need to consider.
These factors include the amount of time you have to attend classes, how soon you want to complete your training, how much money you have to spend on your education, the amount of experience you want to gain from your program, and whether you prefer learning online, in-person, or a mixture of both.
Ultimately, the type of program you choose won’t matter hugely to employers. You’ll still be able to perform the same clinical and administrative tasks with any medical assistant program.
An associate’s degree in medical assisting might provide you with a clinical externship, but it will still be possible to find and complete an externship on your own if you go through an online program.