Best Medical Assistant Programs in Washington – 2024

Written By: Pattie Trumble, MPP, MPH

If you want to start your allied health career quickly, consider attending one of several outstanding medical assistant schools in Washington. In this entry-level profession, you will provide support to doctors and other healthcare providers in a wide range of settings, and in the state of WA, your salary will be much higher than the national average for MAs. Below, we have ranked the top 10 medical assisting programs in the state so that you can make the best choice for your location, budget, and needs.

About Medical Assisting Education in Washington

Medical assistant programs in Washington will prepare you to assist doctors, nurses, and other healthcare providers with a wide variety of clinical and clerical tasks that will improve overall patient outcomes. It will include things like basic anatomy and pharmacology as well as administrative training. You will also participate in clinicals in local hospitals or medical centers to test the knowledge you gain in the classroom with patients in a hands-on setting.

You can earn a certificate, diploma, or associate degree in eight months, 10 months, or two years, respectively, which gives you a great deal of flexibility. The program costs increase alongside their lengths, so be sure to keep this in mind.

Program Type Length Cost
Certificate 8 – 18 Months$2,400 - $26,780
Diploma10 to 18 Months$3,720 - $32,900
Associate DegreeTwo Years$9,290 - $40,550

Admission Requirements

Though each school in Washington will have its own admission requirements, some of these are likely to overlap. For example, to enter the associate degree MA program at the South Puget Sound Community College, you will need:

• Proof of completion of placement testing;
• High school diploma or GED;
• Proof of provider-level CPR certification through the American Red Cross or American Heart Association prior to clinicals; and
Keyboarding skills of at least 45WPM for program completion.

Why Select ABHES or CAHEEP Accredited Program?

When selecting the best program for your needs, be sure that the program you choose is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAHEEP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). Many employers prefer hiring graduates of accredited programs, and many of the credentials you can receive in Washington will require proof that you completed an accredited program.


(Based on our Ranking Methodology, below are the 10 best Medical Assistant programs in Washington. The list includes both campus-based and online programs.)

1. South Puget Sound Community College, Olympia

2. Renton Technical College, Renton

3. Bellevue College, Bellevue

4. Charter College, East Wenatchee, Fife, Lacey, Pasco, Vancouver & Yakima

5. Pima Medical Institute, Renton & Seattle

6. Carrington College, Spokane

7. Big Bend Community College, Moses Lake

8. Highline College, Des Moines

9. Everett Community College, Everett

10. Whatcom Community College, Bellingham



Does a Medical Assistant Require any Licensure or Certification to work in WA?

Washington is one of the few states in the country that requires all medical assistants to be properly licensed, registered, and certified. You cannot work in WA until you have obtained these credentials.

Certification (CMA, RMA, CCMA, NCMA or CMAC)

What Certification Options are Available in WA?

Certified Medical Assistant (CMA): The American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) offers the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) credential, and most of the MAs across the state pursue it. You will need proof that you have completed an accredited program in order to apply, and you will also need to pay the $125 exam fee when you submit your online application. By meeting employment minimums or completing continuing education courses, you can recertify every 60 months and keep your credentials in good standing.

Registered Medical Assistant (RMA): The American Medical Technologists (AMT) offers the Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) credential. Like the CMA credential above, you will need to show proof of completion of an accredited MA program and pay the $120 exam fee when you apply online. However, in this case, you will need to renew your registration annually with a $50 fee and proof of work experience or participation in continuing education courses.

Other Certifications: Washington State recognizes five exams as suitable for the registration or certification of MAs in the state. Aside from the CMA and RMA credential, they include the Clinical Medical Assistant certification available from the National Healthcareer Association, the National Certified Medical Assistant credential from the National Center for Competency Testing, and the Clinical Medical Assistant examination available from the American Medical Certification Association.

Certification Exam Cost Apply
Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) $125 Click Here
Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) $120 Click Here
Clinical Certified Medical Assistant (CCMA) $155 Click Here
National Certified Medical Assistant (NCMA) $90 Click Here
Clinical Medical Assistant Certification (CMAC) $139 Click Here

Average Salary for all Medical Assistants Working in Washington

The average medical assistant salary in Washington is $50,350 each year, which is equal to $24.21 an hour. Factors that will affect your average salary include your education, the certification or registration you choose, your employment, your city of employment, and even your overall experience. More experienced MAs tend to earn far more in WA than those who are just starting out.

Type Salary Range Average Salary
Hourly$18.81 - $29.75 $24.21
Monthly$3,260 - $5,160 $4,200
Annual$39,120 - $61,890 $50,350
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Average Salary: Washington Vs National

As a medical assistant in Washington, you will earn a salary that is much higher than the national average at $40,700. The 23.71% increase, which represents a difference of $9,650 annually, is due in part to the higher cost of living and the requirements associated with obtaining your certification or registration, which is required.

Washington National Difference
Number %
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

How Much More will I Earn with a CMA Certification?

Average Salary Difference
CMA NON -CMA Number %
$51,470 $48,970 +$2,500 +5.11%
(Source: In-House Research)

Annual Job Openings in Washington

New Replacement Projected Annual Job Openings (New + Replacement)

Which Healthcare Settings in Washington are Hiring the Highest Number of Entry Level Medical Assistants?

Physicians’ Offices: Most of the medical assistants across WA work in physicians’ offices and fulfill a variety of support roles. Some work in the back of house to assist with patients by taking histories or obtaining vital signs, but others may work in the front of house answering telephone calls or filing patient information. You might choose to work for a general practitioner, an obstetrician, a podiatrist, or any other type of doctor in your local area.

Hospitals: You might also choose to work in one of Washington’s outstanding hospitals providing an even wider variety of support depending on the department you choose. Some of the best employers of MAs in the state include the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle, which employs 1218 physicians spread over 68 different specialties, and the Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center and Children’s Hospital in Spokane, which serves as a regional cancer center, transplant center, and the only Level II Pediatric Trauma Center and Level IV NICU in the area.

Top 6 Cities in Washington to Work as a Medical Assistant

Like many other areas, you will have more opportunities for employment if you choose to work in one of the state’s more populated metro areas. The vast majority of MAs are employed in doctors’ offices and hospitals in Seattle or Spokane, and the rest work in places like Olympia, Kennewick, Yakima, and Bremerton. Though some MAs work in rural areas, there are very few, and their options are far more limited.

Rank City Current
Salary Range
1 Seattle 10,360 $25.97 $4,500 $54,010 $44,410 - $63,340
2 Spokane 1,530 $21.40 $3,710 $44,510 $37,340 - $55,060
3 Olympia 660 $23.21 $4,020 $48,270 $38,100 - $59,000
4 Yakima 640 $19.92 $3,450 $41,430 $35,630 - $47,920
5 Kennewick 660 $21.58 $3,740 $44,880 $38,130 - $55,590
6 Bremerton 550 $23.31 $4,040 $48,480 $38,380 - $62,400
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

10-Year Job Outlook in WA

Between 2020 and 2030, it is expected that some 3,560 new MA positions will become available across the state of Washington, resulting in a total of 20,050 medical assistants statewide. This 22% growth will be fueled by the overall growth of Washington’s population as well as its economy, which will lead to better medical centers that bring people in from other states. As the number of healthcare facilities and providers continues to climb, the number of support roles – like medical assisting – will climb along with it.

EmploymentEmployment Growth (2020-2030)
(Source: In-House Research)

Important Medical Assisting Organizations in Washington

Washington State Society of Medical Assistants (WSSMA)

The Washington State Society of Medical Assistants, or WSSMA, was designed to help medical assistants grow through continuing education at the local level. The goal is to keep up with incredible advances in medical technology to help medical assistants continue to provide far-reaching medical support that benefits doctors, nurses, other healthcare staff, and the patients themselves.

Pattie Trumble, MPP, MPH
Pattie Trumble is a nurse who worked in both California and New York for many years as an emergency room nurse. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from the University of California, Berkeley, and an Associate Degree in Nursing from the Samuel Merritt Hospital School of Nursing. After 10 years of providing direct care, she went back to school and earned concurrent Master’s degrees in both public policy and public health from the University of California, Berkeley. Thereafter, she worked for various public health agencies in California at both the community and state levels providing economic and legislative analysis.

Medical Assistant Schools in other States

  • Arizona
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Illinois
  • Kansas
  • Michigan
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Pennsylvania
  • Texas
  • Utah

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