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Healthcare Associate Degrees

Associate degree programs are designed to help students move into the workforce, or earn educational credit that can then transfer toward a bachelor's degree. Associate degree programs can be found at trade schools, technical colleges, community colleges, junior colleges and sometimes at colleges or universities that offer bachelor's degrees.

An associate degree usually takes two years of full-time study to complete, but flexible scheduling of online schools might allow some students to earn the degree in 18 months or less. Associate degrees can be earned online for many subjects, although healthcare fields may require some hands-on or clinical training.

There are different types of associate degrees:

  • Associate of Applied Science: This route is often taken by those who want to move directly into the workforce, as it can help provide the skills and knowledge necessary to seek employment.
  • Associate of Science: This degree includes general education courses as well as courses associated with the major, with the goal of providing an educational foundation.
  • Associate of Arts: The A.A. is usually awarded in a liberal arts major, with requirements for both general education and major courses.

Associate Degrees and Career Earnings

Those who earn a degree may enjoy higher pay and lower unemployment rates than those who hold only a high school diploma. The Bureau of Labor Statistics suggests a link between education and employment, listing these median weekly earnings and unemployment rates for U.S. adults of 25 or older in 2012:

  • High school diploma: $652 per week and 8.3 percent unemployment
  • Some college, no degree: $727 per week and 7.7 percent unemployment
  • Associate degree: $785 per week and 6.2 percent unemployment

Employment in the healthcare industry is expected to rise by 27.8 percent from 2010 to 2020 nationally, according to BLS projections. Numerous associate degree programs can offer students the opportunity to move into the healthcare field. The BLS notes that positions such as diagnostic medical sonographer, dental hygienist and physical therapy assistant typically require associate degrees or a similar level of training. Those who want to enter a healthcare profession that requires a bachelor's degree can generally use the associate degree as a stepping stone to the higher credential, although it's important to confer with school admissions counselors regarding the transfer process.


  • Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2013, http://www.bls.gov/emp/ep_chart_001.htm
  • Healthcare Occupations, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2012, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/
  • Industry-occupation matrix data, by occupation, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2012, http://www.bls.gov/emp/ep_table_108.htm

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Medical Assistant

Why Brightwood?

Real-World Training

We keep education relevant by employing instructors with real-world experience in the field, who bring their career backgrounds to the classroom. Our programs are continually assessed by faculty, staff and members of the business and education communities to help ensure your studies align with your career goals. Programs offered by Brightwood College focus on local employment needs, in areas such as allied health, nursing and technical and professional programs.

Medical Assisting
Platt College , Alhambra
  • A Los Angeles-based private college offering programs in medical sciences, legal studies, and graphic design since 1985.
  • Has weekend programs, including certified  veterinary technology, nurse assistant, and hemodialysis technician.
  • Showcases visual communication students’ artwork and design through campus magazine.
  • 3 campuses in Southern California.
  • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
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  • Accredited
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
Medical Specialties (AOS)

The Secret to Getting Ahead is Getting Started


Congratulations! Your interest in California College San Diego is an important first step toward changing your life. A career-focused degree is the key to a new career with a potentially higher income, better benefits, and more satisfaction.

Medical Assistant (10-Month Diploma Program)
UEI College , Bakersfield
  • Dedicated to providing  career training since 1975.
  • Has 13 campus locations in Southern California and a campus in Morrow, GA.
  • Provides flexible class times including weekends.
  • Offers curriculum that ranges from 8 month diploma programs to 16-month Associate of Applied Science degree programs.
  • Has admissions professionals available to help students decide which diploma or degree program they should pursue.
  • Gives job placement assistance strengthened by relationships with local employers.
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  • Accredited
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
Associate of Occupational Science in Respiratory Therapy
  • Offers a free trial period so students can attend classes before paying tuition.
  • Provides blended courses that combine traditional classroom instruction with online learning.
  • Lets students connect with peers at any time, and instructors during office hours with online chat rooms.
  • Gives students the chance to participate in externships and clinical training work under the general supervision of college staff.
  • Has accelerated programs that allow students to take the same coursework in a shorter timeframe.
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  • Accredited
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
Medical Assistant
  • Features career programs in surgical technology, professional fitness trainer, vocational nursing, and an associate of science program in health administration.
  • Offers career assistance and advising services to students and graduates.
  • Campus is close to many attractions in Glendale, California, including the Los Angeles Zoo, Universal Studios, Alex Theater, and downtown Los Angeles.
  • Accredited by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES).
  • Part of the Success Education Colleges (SEC) group of schools.
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Medical Assisting
  • Offers career programs in accounting, cosmetology, massage therapy, physical fitness training, and more.
  • Provides hands-on training led by instructors who have relevant, on-the-job experience.
  • Each campus features a public salon and spa for student practice.
  • Campuses are accredited by the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training (ACCET) and Council on Occupational Education (COE).
  • 11 campuses across California, Texas, Nevada and Idaho, as well as 8 additional Milan Institute of Cosmetology campuses.
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  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid