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Part of Western Governors University

Medical Assisting at WGU

medical professional wearing a stethoscope and smiling

Are You Looking for a Medical Assistant Program?

While WGU doesn’t currently offer a medical assistant program, our Bachelor of Science in Nursing (Prelicensure), RN-to-BSN, or Bachelor of Science in Health Services Coordination programs can prepare you for a career similar to medical assisting. These degree programs can help you build on your knowledge and broaden your career choices.  

Skills in Medical Assisting and Similar Professions

Medical assistants are similar to nurses and health services coordinators in that they work alongside doctors and patients to do a variety of tasks—from checking patient vitals and explaining treatment plans to prepping exam rooms and communicating with patients throughout their medical journeys. Similar skills are required, too, such as the ability to multitask, think critically, and work in a team setting. However, if you’re thinking about a medical assistant program, there are other routes to consider that can open the door to more advanced positions in the medical field via a more advanced credential. 

Bachelor of Science in Nursing (Prelicensure)

WGU's prelicensure pathway allows you to earn licensure as an RN and earn a BSN.

If you’re considering a career as a full or part time medical assistant but want to be more hands-on with patients and expand your career in the medical field, this program could be a better choice for you. The curriculum focuses on areas such as research, theory, leadership, community concepts, healthcare policy, therapeutic interventions, and current trends in healthcare.

Due to the clinical requirements associated with becoming an RN, this program is open to a limited number of aspiring nurses and is only available in select states: Florida, Indiana, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, and Utah. 

Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN-to-BSN)

If you want to expand your passion for medical assisting by becoming a nurse, both the prelicensure and RN-to-BSN programs will get you toward the same goal: earning your BSN. The difference is that the prelicensure program is for aspiring RNs and the RN-to-BSN is for current RNs.

If you’re interested in WGU’s prelicensure program, but don’t live in a state where it’s offered, you have the option to get your ADN or a nursing diploma, earn your RN, and then enroll in the RN-to-BSN program. The RN-to-BSN program builds on your previous ADN or nursing diploma education and experience with a focus on the areas of research, theory, leadership, community concepts, healthcare policy, therapeutic interventions, and current trends in healthcare. 

Bachelor of Science in Health Services Coordination

If the administrative side of medical assisting interests you, this bachelor's degree program is one to consider. It will prepare you for a career focused on supporting patients through their healthcare journeys. You’ll gain the knowledge necessary to explain medical situations and treatment plans and navigate patients through a complex health system, assisting with everything from insurance, provider referrals, medical resources, and appointments. 
medical assistant helping a patient on a walker

$37,497

is the average annual salary for a medical assistant.

registered nurse helping a patient on a hospital bed

$75,330

is the average annual salary for a registered nurse.

Careers Similar to Medical Assisting

Medical assisting is a great option if you enjoy both the administrative and clinical side of patient care and are looking for an entry level position. But if you’re passionate about healthcare and helping people, there are many other career paths to consider, too.

With a degree in nursing or health services coordination, you can pursue a variety of jobs as a patient care advocate, nurse, case manager, and more. In these more advanced positions, you’ll have the potential to earn a higher salary, expand your nursing expertise, and be more marketable to future employers. 

What Does a Medical Assistant Do?

Medical assistants work alongside doctors to do a variety of tasks, from assisting with minor procedures and checking patient vitals to prepping exam rooms, entering information into patient medical records, and communicating with patients throughout their medical journeys. 

What Does a Nurse Do?

Nurses work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, nursing homes, medical offices, clinics, and more. They administer medication, prepare patients for surgeries and treatments, assist doctors and surgeons, and provide patient education. 

What Does a Patient Care Advocate Do?

Patient advocates look out for the best interests of patients. They provide them with a list of resources once they leave the hospital and can arrange for them to receive the education they need regarding their health. 

What Does a Community Health Worker Do?

Community health workers are on the front lines to promote public health in their communities. They guide patients to help them navigate complex healthcare and social support systems. Above all, they’re advocates for individuals in their communities. 

What Does a Patient Educator Do?

These professionals help patients and their families understand their treatment options in regard to various medical conditions and life events. As a patient educator, you can specialize in different types of patient education, such as respiratory aid, childbirth, diabetes, and more. 

What Does a Case Manager Do?

They help people in difficult situations by giving them advice, determining what kind of help they need, and finding services to meet those needs. They also can create plans for treatment of recovery and work with other health and human services providers to keep tabs on a patient’s progress. 

medical assistant wearing a mask

18%

employment growth is projected from 2020 to 2030 for medical assistants.

registered nurse wearing PPE

9%

employment growth is projected from 2020 to 2030 for registered nurses.

Why choose WGU?

Why should you choose a nursing or health services coordination degree over a medical assistant certificate from a medical assistant school? Here are a few reasons a WGU degree is a smart choice.

  • It’s affordable. Our low, flat-rate tuition is charged per six-month term and covers as many courses as you complete in that time.
  • It’s career focused. WGU’s degree programs are designed with your future employment and success in mind, so the skills you learn will translate directly to your healthcare career.
  • It’s accessible. Along with our already-low tuition, our scholarships and financial aid make college even more affordable.
  • It’s at your pace. Thanks to our competency-based education, you can pass courses by proving what you know, meaning you can speed up your program and graduate faster.

They're Prepared

97% said that their WGU graduates were prepared for their jobs

97% of employers said that WGU graduates were prepared for their jobs.

They're Top Candidates

95% said they would hire another WGU graduate

95% of employers said they would hire another WGU graduate.

They Wow

98% of employers said WGU graduates meet or exceed expectations

98% of employers said WGU graduates met or exceeded expectations.

Source: 2021 Harris Poll survey of 300 employers

Which Degree Should You Choose?

Nursing (Prelicensure) – B.S.

A one-of-a-kind nursing program that prepares you to be an RN...

A one-of-a-kind nursing program that prepares you...

A one-of-a-kind nursing program that prepares you to be an RN and a baccalaureate-prepared nurse:

  • Locations: offered in FL, IN, TX, MO, and UT only.
  • Tuition and fees: $6,575 per 6-month term.

WGU offers the prelicensure program in areas where we have partnerships with healthcare employers to provide practice sites and clinical coaches to help teach you and inspire you on your path to becoming a nurse.

If you don't live in one of our prelicensure states or don't qualify to apply, consider getting our Bachelor's Degree in Health Services Coordination instead. This degree allows you to work inside the healthcare industry, while also working directly with patients who need help.

Nursing (RN-to-BSN Online) – B.S.

An online BSN degree program for registered nurses (RNs) seeking...

An online BSN degree program for registered...

An online BSN degree program for registered nurses (RNs) seeking the added theoretical depth, employability, and respect that a bachelor's degree brings:

  • Time: 66% of graduates finish within 18 months.
  • Tuition and Fees: $3,795 per 6-month term, plus a Health Professions Student Fee of $350.
  • Transfers: On average, students transfer 81 credits.

With over 35,000 BSN alumni, this is one of WGU's most popular online degree programs. View our RN to BSN degree guide.

If you don't currently have an RN and don't qualify for your nursing prelicensure program, consider getting our Bachelor's Degree in Health Services Coordination instead. This degree allows you to work inside the healthcare industry in a unique way.

Health Services Coordination – B.S.

An online health degree program for students passionate about...

An online health degree program for students...

An online health degree program for students passionate about value-based care and dedicated to helping others.

  • Time: 60% of graduates of similar programs finish within 3 years.
  • Tuition and fees: $3,795 per 6-month term, plus a Health Professions Student Fee of $350.

Sample careers and jobs this degree will prepare you for:

  • Care coordinator
  • Patient advocate
  • Health services coordinator
  • Patient educator
  • Community health educator

This degree allows you to work inside the healthcare industry, while also directly working with patients who need help.