The Best Medical Assistant Programs in Alabama

Updated November 18, 2022

Do you want to become a medical assistant in Alabama? Learn how to apply for a medical assistant program, including common admission requirements and how to find financial aid.
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Did you know around 10,120 medical assistants work in Alabama? In fact, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, healthcare support occupations make up 65,550 positions in the state. Certified medical assistants (CMAs), a career that does not always require a college degree or even a state certification, make an average median annual salary of $31,430 per year in Alabama.

No agency regulates how to become a CMA in Alabama — all the more reason to attend an accredited CMA program. This guide explains why accreditation matters and lists the best CMA programs in Alabama.

We use a data-driven methodology to rank the best medical assistant programs in Alabama, making it easier for you to find a program that works for you. Our methodology is based on metrics that we believe matter most to students, including: academic quality, affordability, reputation, and program offerings.

Keep reading to learn more about the best medical assistant programs in Alabama, or go straight to our list of the best medical assistant programs in Alabama.

What Can You Do as a Medical Assistant?

Becoming a medical assistant leads to careers at physician offices, general medical and surgical hospitals, outpatient care centers, health practitioner offices, and employment services. Salaries for medical assistants depend on the setting, with outpatient care centers paying the most at a median annual wage of $38,270.

According to the BLS, the lowest 10% of medical assistants earned less than $29,070 each year, while the top 10% of medical assistants earned more than $48,170 per year.

Medical assistants may enter the profession immediately after high school — or after completing a CMA program in Alabama. Common program options include certificates, diplomas, or associate degrees that teach future medical assistants how to provide administrative assistance by recording patient history and scheduling appointments. Students also learn how to directly help nurse practitioners or physicians by taking samples or vital signs.

What To Look For in a Medical Assistant Program

What differentiates one CMA program in Alabama from another? Not every college includes the same admission policies. In addition, admitted students complete different lessons and clinical experiences. As we detail below, every CMA program in Alabama varies in length, format, and pace.

  1. 1

    Admission Requirements

    Applicants cannot enroll in a medical assistant program unless they meet admission requirements, such as GPA minimums. Candidates submit high school transcripts or a copy of their GED certificate. Additional application materials may include a short personal essay and an in-person interview.

  2. 2

    Program Curriculum

    A CMA program in Alabama usually covers theory, labs, and externships. Lessons teach students about medical office management, billing and coding basics, professional documentation, physical examination techniques, and medical office laboratory procedures. Students also learn office communication skills and clinical techniques, such as handling phlebotomy and blood specimens.

  3. 3

    Clinical Experience

    Students enrolled in CMA programs in Alabama complete about 200 hours of externships or clinical rotations — even if the program operates online. Instructors help students find clinical placements, with some schools providing local clinical sites.

  4. 4

    Accreditation

    CMA programs in Alabama receive accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools. Accredited programs meet industry standards, which gives students and their future employers a level of quality assurance. Programmatic accreditation, a voluntary process, involves independent agencies validating a program's curriculum and learning outcomes.

    Importance of Accreditation

  5. 5

    Program Length

    How long it takes a student to complete a CMA program in Alabama depends on the format and if students study part- or full-time. An associate degree takes up to two years and requires about 60 credits, whereas a certificate or diploma can be completed in a single year or less.

  6. 6

    School NCLEX Pass Rate

    The NCLEX pass rate tells students how a school prepares students to pass the nursing exam to become a registered nurse or practical nurse. While medical assistants do not need to pass the NCLEX, this metric can demonstrate the quality of education.

  7. 7

    School Graduation Rate

    Schools release graduation rates which measure how many students graduate on time. This measurement sheds light on the quality of a program and tells students what they can expect.

Applying to a Medical Assistant Program in Alabama

Medical assistants hold an associate degree, diploma, or certificate. Each CMA program sets different admission criteria. Generally, students can expect the same requirements, including supplemental documents needed to prove identity, age, educational background, and residency.

  • Admission Materials

    Prospective students need a high school diploma or GED certificate to enroll in a CMA program in Alabama. Applicants may need to submit high school transcripts or a GED certificate. Additionally, schools may require entrance exams to test a student's proficiency in math or English.

  • GPA Requirements

    CMA programs in Alabama do not commonly set GPA requirements. Specific requirements depend on a student's status, whether they apply as a first-time or transfer student.

  • Other Requirements

    Schools require identification to verify a candidate's age. Programs may also ask for residency forms to show that students live in Alabama.

Why Is Medical Assistant Program Accreditation Important?

Accredited CMA programs in Alabama offer a certain standard of education that employers and industry leaders expect. Curriculum in an accredited program meets healthcare standards by teaching students administrative and clinical tasks, such as management of office emergencies, medical terminology, and human growth and development.

Going to an accredited program can guarantee better job opportunities, since employers prefer hiring these graduates. Credentialing agencies also require that students attend accredited CMA programs to qualify for certification.

Accreditation may also affect a student's ability to transfer credits to another school or pursue a higher degree. Sometimes students cannot receive federal financial aid if they do not attend accredited CMA programs.

Paying for Medical Assistant Programs in Alabama

Many factors influence college costs. Longer CNA programs in Alabama tend to cost more. Attending a school as an out-of-state resident further increases costs.

How can students pay for college? Sometimes students pay for tuition and fees out of pocket. Costs can be prohibitive when students can't earn a living while in school. Fortunately, qualifying colleges receive federal financial aid, including loans and grants. Students do not need to repay grants, and they can also receive scholarships offered by the state, schools, and private companies. Federal financial aid may not be available at unaccredited schools.

Learn More About the Best Medical Assistant Programs and Schools in Alabama

#1 The Best Medical Assistant Programs in Alabama

Northeast Alabama Community College

  • Rainsville, AL
  • 2 years
  • Campus

From its main campus in Rainsville, Northeast Alabama Community College offers one of the state's best nursing programs. The medical assisting program develops a specialized set of skills and knowledge to help graduates prepare for careers in healthcare. Students benefit from the personalized instructor attention that the school's 18-to-1 student-to-teacher ratio allows.

Experienced trainers help medical assistant candidates gain a mastery of both theoretical and practical aspects of healthcare. Lab exercises and simulated procedures further help participants build skills. Hands-on experience also comes through practicum activities, which help students develop skills needed in healthcare facilities.

Learners can receive support in obtaining their degrees from support services like academic advising, financial aid counseling, and career coaching. The institution also makes academic tutoring services in subjects such as writing and math available to degree-seekers.

Northeast Alabama Community College at a Glance:

Type of School: Public

Total Programs: 42

Average Amount of Financial Aid Awarded: $6,003

Average Tuition After Aid: $3,137

Average Alumni Earnings After Six Years: $26,200

Average Tuition
In-state
$3,930
Out-of-state
$7,860
Retention Rate
70%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
2,981
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
61% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#2 The Best Medical Assistant Programs in Alabama

H Councill Trenholm State Community College

  • Montgomery, AL
  • 2 years
  • Campus

Nursing degree-seekers should consider H Councill Trenholm State Community College in Montgomery, Alabama. The AAS in medical assisting technology program prepares its graduates for work in the healthcare field by developing specialized knowledge and skills. Learners have assurance of close faculty attention due to the school's 15-to-1 student-teacher ratio.

The training that medical assisting technology candidates receive focuses on both theoretical and practical approaches to issues in healthcare. Participants also have opportunities to develop their skills through laboratory work and procedure simulations. Students also build meaningful skills for healthcare facilities by participating in practicums that focus on hands-on experience.

Access to support services like academic advising, career coaching, and financial aid counseling help many enrollees in completing their programs. The institution also provides opportunities for tutoring in science, math, writing, and other subjects.

H Councill Trenholm State Community College at a Glance:

Type of School: Public

Total Programs: 44

Average Amount of Financial Aid Awarded: $5,264

Average Tuition After Aid: $7,850

Average Alumni Earnings After Six Years: $24,400

Average Tuition
In-state
$3,930
Out-of-state
$7,860
Retention Rate
54%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
2,042
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
30% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#3 The Best Medical Assistant Programs in Alabama

Chattahoochee Valley Community College

  • Phenix City, AL
  • 2 years
  • Campus

Chattahoochee Valley Community College in Phenix City, Alabama, hosts a fantastic medical assistant program. Completing the AAS in medical assisting program helps graduates build skills and knowledge that are integral to the healthcare field. The school features a 15-to-1 student-to-teacher ratio, ensuring that learners receive personalized attention from instructors.

Expert trainers help medical assisting candidates gain a strong understanding of theoretical and practical issues in healthcare. Participants develop their skills through specialized simulations and lab activities. Degree-seekers can gain further hands-on, transferable experience through practicum activities.

Learners benefit further from access to a number of school-provided support programs like academic advising, financial aid counseling, and career coaching. The institution also provides opportunities for tutoring in science, math, writing, and other subjects.

Chattahoochee Valley Community College at a Glance:

Type of School: Public

Total Programs: 30

Average Amount of Financial Aid Awarded: $6,363

Average Tuition After Aid: $975

Average Alumni Earnings After Six Years: $26,000

Average Tuition
In-state
$3,930
Out-of-state
$7,860
Retention Rate
50%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
1,592
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
30% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Frequently Asked Questions About Medical Assistant Programs


How do I become a medical assistant in Alabama?

Alabama does not have specific state requirements to become a medical assistant. The position does not require a license or certification. Employers may hire applicants with only a high school diploma and on-the-job training. Others prefer medical assistants who have completed an accredited certificate or an associate degree. Positions that require formal training may only hire candidates that have a current Basic Life Support certification.

How long does it take to become a medical assistant in Alabama?

It takes two years, or less, to become a medical assistant in Alabama. Medical assistants can find jobs with a certificate or an associate in medical assisting degree. A certificate in medical assisting takes as few as 4-6 months at Shelton State Community College, while an associate in medical assistant technology degree at Coastal Alabama Community College and Northeast Alabama Community College take up to two years.

What is a medical assistant salary in Alabama?

Medical assistants in Alabama make an annual mean salary of $31,390, according to the BLS. Higher salaries may go to certified medical assistants, especially candidates with a higher degree. Sometimes employers in high-demand sectors offer sign-on bonuses of up to $1,000 to new medical assistants.

How long are most medical assistant programs?

While accelerated medical assistant certificates take as few as nine months to complete, some programs take up to 18-24 months. Externships where students temporarily work in healthcare settings require additional time. Studying and passing the certified medical assistant exam by the American Association of Medical Assistants takes less than one year. Students can obtain the CMA certification when they have less than 30 days to graduation.


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