What’s The Difference? Medical Assisting Degree vs. Diploma

So you’ve decided to pursue a career as a medical assistant, but you’re unsure of the type of program that will best suit you. Luckily for you, East Ohio College has options! Students looking to complete their medical assistant training at East Ohio can choose between earning an associate degree in our campus-based hybrid or online programs and earning a diploma at our campus in East Liverpool, Ohio

Continue reading to learn more about the differences between earning a Medical Assisting degree vs. diploma and how East Ohio College programs can fit your lifestyle!

Clinical Medical Assistant Degree Program

Students interested in pursuing an accelerated degree program should consider East Ohio College’s campus-based hybrid or online Clinical Medical Assistant program. 

East Ohio’s medical assisting degree program prepares students to enter their careers in 18 months, equipped with the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed. Students in these programs can expect to learn hands-on clinical skills, including taking patient vitals, phlebotomy, EKGs, and more. Additionally, students in the campus-based hybrid or online programs will experience hands-on clinical experiences to practice their skills, then complete an externship at a local medical facility to gain real-world experience. 

By earning an associate degree in medical assisting, graduates can show employers that they are committed to their education and career. In addition, East Ohio College’s curriculum also prepares students to sit the National Healthcareer Association (NHA) Certified Clinical Medical Assistant certification* exam, which provides them with an extra layer of credentialing and confidence when entering the workforce. 

Because the accelerated Medical Assisting degree programs are completed in only 18 months, students can expect to be challenged in their schooling. However, East Ohio College’s instructors and career management team are there to support students throughout their journey.

Medical Assisting Diploma Program

For students looking to enter the workforce in even less time, earning a diploma in medical assisting at East Ohio College could be the perfect option. The 12-Month Medical Assisting program provides students with the same skill sets as our 18-month degree program; however, students will be required to complete the program at a more accelerated and rigorous pace. 

Students in the 12-Month Medical Assisting program can expect to be trained in multiple areas of the medical office, including front office procedures like processing insurance, scheduling, and HIPAA, as well as patient care tasks such as checking vitals, phlebotomy, lab tests, and more. Throughout the program, these skills will be reinforced through hands-on clinical experiences, followed by completing an externship at a local healthcare facility. 

In addition to receiving a diploma to enter the workforce, the medical assisting diploma program will also prepare students to sit for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant NHA certification* exam. Earning third-party certifications shows employers that you possess the skills and knowledge to do the job well. In many healthcare settings, certifications combined with a diploma can set you apart from the competition, who may only have a diploma. 

Upon completing the medical assisting diploma program, students who decide to continue their education at East Ohio College can enter a pathway program to earn their associate degree while already being employed and working in the field. This can give students who take this path an opportunity to complete schooling quicker, begin working and earning money, and then return to school to finish their degree.

Get started as a Medical Assistant at East Ohio College!

Knowing the difference between a degree vs. diploma, have you decided which type of Medical Assisting program best fits your lifestyle needs and career goals? Our admissions team is here to help you get started on the path to becoming a medical assistant! Take the first step today by calling 330-385-1070 or Requesting Information.

*Certification is contingent upon passing this industry certification exam.