Getting a medical assistant certification is a great way to launch your career into a new, high-paying field. There are many degree and certificate programs that can be completed online from the convenience of your own home. Given that these certificates can be obtained in a short amount of time, you can even earn your credentials at night, on weekends or whenever classes fit into your schedule. 

The best online certificate programs for you will depend on your interests as well as what you hope to get out of your investment. Aside from choosing the type of program that fits your needs, you will want to make sure that your certificate is coming from a school with the proper accreditation. Below, learn more about the best types of certificates that you can get online and learn which programs might be perfect for your next career move

Best Online Certificate Programs

Online certificate programs are available in a variety of fields, with the medical field being one of the most popular ones out there. Narrowing down your search to just one type of medical assistant certification will take time, but the good news is that there is plenty to choose from. Some of the best online certificate programs for people interested in the medical field include the following: 

  • Phlebotomy technician: If you are interested in drawing blood for lab tests, being a phlebotomy tech might be a perfect fit for you. Most certificate programs take less than six months, with some requiring as little as two months of your time. 
  • Pharmacy technician: If you have ever been to a pharmacy, chances are you have interacted with a pharmacy tech at the front counter. These technicians earn their credentials in as little as nine months and can quickly become qualified to fill prescriptions, check inventories and do other tasks under the supervision of licensed pharmacists. 
  • Medical assistant certification: This type of certification gives you the freedom to work in a variety of medical settings. As a certified medical assistant (MA), you can do tasks ranging from administrative work to helping with lab tests and more.
  • Surgical technician: If you desire to work in a fast-paced environment, becoming a surgical tech can allow you to get a job in a variety of settings including operating rooms, emergency rooms and other hospital departments. 

Many of the best online certificate programs, including those listed above, can be completed in about a year or less. Better yet, there are numerous schools that offer courses for these certifications. Some of these schools offer classes both online and in person, while others are run entirely online. 

Through some online certificate programs, free courses are offered for students who just want a taste of what it is like to earn credentials in a certain field. While certain programs may be offered at no cost at all, you should expect to pay course fees for most certifications from accredited schools. There are ways to help pay for your schooling, including numerous grants and scholarships. If you are a veteran, you can obtain education assistance through the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs. 

At the same time, keep in mind that paying for a medical assistant certification course does not necessarily mean it comes from a reputable school. It is always a good idea to research a program thoroughly to make sure you are truly getting out what you put in.

Dental Hygienist School Programs

In addition to the online certificate programs described above, another great option is to become dental hygienists. Dental hygienists are responsible for a wide range of tasks, including: 

  • Checking patients for early signs of gingivitis and other oral conditions. 
  • Providing care that will prevent diseases from developing. 
  • Cleaning patients’ teeth. 
  • Taking and developing X-rays. 
  • Educating patients on nutrition and oral health. 

Many dental hygienists work in dentists’ or orthodontists’ offices. The environment in which you work may dictate the exact tasks you have, but ultimately, state regulations specify what dental hygienists are allowed to do. Therefore, the exact job requirements you face will depend on where you live and the type of office you work in. 

The best online certificate programs for dental hygienists can land you a position in a high-paying field with great job security. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), dental hygienists can expect to earn an average of $35.97 per hour, and the annual dental hygienist salary is $74,820 per year as of 2018. 

On top of that, dental hygienists’ job opportunities are expected to grow by 20 percent from 2016 to 2026. This is significantly faster than the average growth for other careers. In fact, the BLS predicts that nearly 41,000 new dental hygienist jobs will be created by 2026. 

Going to a school for dental hygienists  is the first step towards getting a career in this field. In most cases, you can land a job with a= relative degree from an accredited school. It is uncommon that you need a high level of formal education, but some dental hygienists choose to get a bachelor’s degree first. 

When starting your educational path, it is important to understand the difference between dental assistants and dental hygienists. A dental assistant may perform similar work to what dental hygienists do, but the pay and level of job responsibilities vary greatly. Online certificate programs for dental assistants are a great way to start a career in this field. However, it is necessary to obtain at least a dental hygiene associate’s degree to take your career to the next level. 

If you are wondering “Where can I find dental hygienist schools near me?” keep in mind that online courses are some of the best options. Online classes allow you to go at your own pace while keeping a schedule that works for you. 

How to Get a Medical Billing and Coding Certification Online  

When comparing online certificate programs, you may also want to consider a career in medical coding. Obtaining a medical billing and coding certification allows you to get a job where you will complete tasks such as: 

  • Reviewing the accuracy and completeness of patients’ records. 
  • Organizing medical data. 
  • Using software to handle insurance coding. 
  • Recording data for future reference or analysis. 

Many of the best online certificate programs will allow you to receive the credentials you need. Obtaining a medical billing certification is not always required in order to enter this field, but having the right credentials will set you apart from other job candidates. As with any type of job, the preferred qualifications will vary from one workplace to another. 

You can obtain a medical billing and coding certification online or through a traditional school setting. Once you have a medical assistant certification, you can expect to earn an average of $40,350 per year or $19.40 per hour according to BLS statistics for 2018.