HomeMedical AssistantMedical Assistant Degree vs Certificate – Which Is Best For You?

medical assistant degree vs certificate

There have been many discussions concerning a medical assistant degree vs certificate. For anyone thinking about entering the medical assisting career, these are the two major options.

Usually, a degree program is considered better than a certificate program for most professions, but in this case, the comparison between the two indicates that the programs are substantially similar. In fact, below are some reasons why someone might consider a medical assistant certificate course over a medial assistant degree program.

Cost Comparison

Typically, students getting a medical assistant certificate only have to pay between $2,500 and $5,700 for the entire course. A medical assistant degree, which takes two years, costs about $600 to $5,400 a year over its two year duration.

However, the cost of a degree can rise considerably when associated costs are taken into account. For instance, the externship and graduation fees, in addition to the inherent costs of the program can make it a less appealing choice in comparison to the certificate course. Consequently, a medical assistant certificate is the best option for people who would prefer to spend less on their training.

Time Comparison – Medical Assistant Degree vs Certificate

A medical assistant degree takes about 2 years to complete, which is substantial amount of time when compared to the time it takes to get a medical assistant certificate, which can take between 9 and 12 months. The faster completion time for the certificate program means that it is possible to enter the job market quicker and start getting paid. Additionally, it is a less time consuming choice for people who just want to get started in a medical profession before making further commitments to career choices and training.

Salary Comparison

There are slight differences in salary between a holder of a medical assistant degree and someone who has a medial assistant certificate. A medical assistant can make between $21,000 a year and as much as $43,000 a year. The salary depends on years of experience, but having a degree rather than a certificate when entering the profession often means a higher starting salary. However, experience can even out the differences in salaries over time since the differences in starting salaries are not that much.

Are There Different Types of Degree Programs and Certificate Programs?

Both medical assistant certificate courses and degree programs are quite typical among different institutions. The specific courses you take during a particular training program can make a big difference in what area of specialization you are qualified for after finishing the studies.

For instance, there are medical assistants who work in physician’s offices, while others may engage in more hands-on medial tasks such as taking a patient’s vital signs. Basically, when choosing the school the student should take into consideration what classes they need to take for a particular specialization and ensure these classes are part of their training.


A medical assistant certificate is cheaper, takes less time, and offers virtually similar financial benefits in the job market. So, in the battle between a medical assistant degree vs certificate, in many ways, the certificate is a much better choice.


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