How to Go from Medical Assistant to MBA: A Guide to Advancing Your Medical Career

Continuing Education

Medical assistants are crucial components of the healthcare industry and perform a range of clinical and administrative duties, such as administering medications, assisting physicians, managing patient records and scheduling appointments.

This career may also provide a springboard with which to advance toward more prestigious and higher-level careers — in the medical field and beyond — allowing professionals to build diverse skills and advance by pursuing a specialized field or continuing education after becoming a medical assistant.

Additional credentials, education and training can help medical assistants open new career paths, increase their earning potential, expand their practice and enjoy better job security, according to online career resource Indeed.

If you're looking to take the next step in your medical assistant career path, the George Washington University is here to offer guidance on how to make the transition from a career as a medical assistant to earning a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Healthcare.

Pursuing a Healthcare MBA comes with a slew of benefits, including the opportunity to advance your career and take on more responsibilities. Learn more about continuing education after becoming a medical assistant by obtaining an online MBA in healthcare.

Why Should You Pursue a Healthcare MBA?

Are you ready to advance in your career and wondering what comes after medical assistant? Understanding the benefits of pursuing an online MBA in Healthcare can help you plot your path forward.

Continuing your education is important because it helps you keep up with medical advancements, enhance your knowledge and improve your patient care while giving you the opportunity to build skills needed for career development. An online Healthcare MBA, such as the one offered by GW, can help you develop industry-relevant skills to build on your knowledge and experience as a medical assistant while also honing business acumen to expand your career possibilities.

Salary and Growth for Medical and Health Services Management Positions

Obtaining an MBA in the healthcare industry can great impact your career with improved chances for better job opportunities and increased pay.

In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that organizations have a growing need for healthcare managers to direct and coordinate health services. The BLS projects a 28% employment growth for medical and health services managers between 2022 and 2032, much higher than the 3% average growth rate projected for all careers during that time.

While medical assistant careers are projected to grow faster than average (14%), it’s clear that growth for higher-level opportunities is projected to outpace this career — so continuing your education can help you take advantage of these opportunities.

The BLS also reports that medical and health services managers earned an average annual salary of $104,830 in 2022 — about $5,000 a year higher than the typical management-level salary and more than double the average reported salary for all careers. By contrast, the median medical assistant salary was around $38,000, just over a third of what medical and health services managers earned.

Educational Outcomes for an Online Healthcare MBA

Along with those financial and career outlook benefits, earning your Healthcare MBA can elevate your comprehensive expertise with crucial business acumen and a unique blend of medical and business knowledge. Healthcare MBA courses also provide the opportunity to build on foundational skills in leadership, strategic management and data analysis, all of which are necessary for overseeing modern healthcare processes.

Continuing your education and earning a graduate-level degree can help you leverage your medical, administrative and patient care knowledge while building crucial research and critical thinking skills. In many cases, you can also pursue additional specialization in areas like healthcare quality, regulatory affairs, health sciences or integrative medicine to deepen and broaden your skills and increase your value in the healthcare job market.

Researching Healthcare MBA Programs

With a better idea of why continuing education after becoming a medical assistant is beneficial, now you can focus on the specific path to receiving your Healthcare MBA.

First, you'll want to research MBA programs that specialize in healthcare to find one that is reputable and a good fit for you. Some key areas to consider while researching institutions include accreditation, curriculum and location, all of which may contribute to your educational experience and potential career outcomes. Here’s why they are important.


Accreditation is a strong indication that a degree program meets or exceeds a certain standard set and understood by experts and employers in a given field.

For example, GW’s School of Business is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), meaning this accrediting body has analyzed the curriculum, course content, faculty qualifications, resources and other factors to confirm that they are adequate to provide the education and outcomes students and employers may expect.

Accreditation assures students of a school's credibility and adherence to industry standards, ensuring that the degrees, certificates and other credentials offered are recognized by employers and professional bodies.

Additional benefits of regional and specialized accreditation include:

  • Facilitating credit transfers between accredited institutions
  • Ensuring students are eligible for financial aid
  • Providing clear improvement benchmarks for institutions
  • Allowing students to use accredited degrees for further education and certifications.

Accreditation holds particular significance for online programs like GW's Healthcare MBA, as it helps distinguish reputable online education from lesser-quality alternatives. In fields as regulated as medicine, healthcare and business, accreditation assures potential employers that graduates studied and trained in a rigorous learning environment and thus are more likely to be prepared for real-world challenges and opportunities.


Not all MBAs are alike, and this can be especially true for students hoping to specialize in an area like healthcare.

While many programs offer similar core coursework in areas like economics, accounting, data analysis, finance and management, each university’s degree may have electives and specializations that are more relevant to a particular career path. For example, GW’s program is focused on business as it relates to healthcare — so if you’re hoping to advance in that field, GW’s offerings are more tailored for your needs and expectations.

Flexibility and quality are core elements of the online Healthcare MBA program at the GW. Program offerings include courses in key business administration disciplines with added healthcare management-related subjects and elective courses. It also offers the opportunity to build specialized skills through graduate certificates in areas like healthcare quality, regulatory affairs, clinical research practice or administration, health sciences or integrative medicine.


Where you practice matters. If you value in-person education, you may want to consider earning your degree in the state in which you hope to practice, so you can get relevant classroom and on-site experience that meets potential employer regulations or expectations.

However, online coursework provides a more convenient option for working professionals or students who value flexibility to fit their schedules. Online MBA programs offer the same high-quality education you’d expect from an on-campus experience, but they allow you to work on your own time, so you can earn your education around your personal, professional and social obligations. They also allow you to complete any practical requirements, like internships, locally where it’s convenient to you.

Preparing for a Healthcare MBA

When you continue your education to advance in your medical assistant career and beyond, a graduate-level degree like a Healthcare MBA should be one of your main goals.

To qualify for programs like these, you’ll need to meet admission requirements before you apply. Some common prerequisites include the following:

  • Bachelor’s Degree: A U.S. accredited bachelor’s degree or its international equivalent is required.
  • Standardized Testing: Most programs require you to take the GMAT or GRE, but waivers may be considered for applicants depending on relevant professional experience or qualification.
  • Professional Experience: While not always required, many programs, including GW’s, prefer candidates with a minimum of two years of full-time post-undergraduate professional experience in healthcare.

Medical assistants looking to gain their Healthcare MBA may need to demonstrate academic qualifications, relevant professional experience and a potential for success in a business-oriented program.

What to Expect When Pursuing and Completing an Online Healthcare MBA

Pursuing an online Healthcare MBA provides immense flexibility for students, since you can choose course options that align with your schedule.

Coursework often includes, but is not limited to, core MBA courses, finance, ethics, project management, ethics, accounting and data analysis, in addition to electives and certificate courses relating to healthcare management topics.

You'll also likely have the opportunity to join a growing network of healthcare professionals and explore rewarding internships along the way.

4 Tips for Success Continuing Your Education after Becoming a Medical Assistant

To help you get the most out of your continuing education, consider these tips:

  1. Foster connections with your instructors. Engage with your instructors, especially in online courses, by introducing yourself via email to build rapport and facilitate communication for questions and insights.
  2. Establish a dedicated study space and schedule. Create a fixed routine by scheduling specific hours and locations for studying to minimize distractions and enhance productivity, whether at home, in a library or at a coffee shop.
  3. Prioritize organization. Utilize apps or time-tracking programs to manage study sessions, assignments and online engagements effectively, setting alarms for deadlines to avoid procrastination and reduce stress.
  4. Embrace the journey toward your Healthcare MBA. Cultivate relationships with instructors and peers, choose an inspiring workspace and maintain organizational strategies to succeed in pursuing your healthcare MBA.

Broaden Your Career Options with an Online Healthcare MBA

Does continuing education after becoming a medical assistant sound exciting to you? Let The George Washington University help you take that next step.

Our online Healthcare MBA offers you the opportunity to study on your schedule and work around your obligations as you build graduate-level understanding of business concepts and healthcare management techniques. You can also specialize your knowledge through an assortment of healthcare-related elective courses and one of seven in-demand graduate certificates.

Explore our program and prepare to take your next step today.


Recommended Readings

7 Careers in Healthcare That Leverage Strategic Leadership
Benefits of an MBA in Healthcare
Partnership: School of Business and School of Medicine and Health Sciences


Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, “The George Washington University”
Indeed, “Medical Assistance Advancement: 6 Ways to Advance Your Career”
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Medical Assistants”
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Medical and Health Services Managers”