Medical assistant certification is typically the next step medical assistants take after graduation from an accredited training program. Getting a medical assistant certification demonstrates to employers that you have mastered the clinical and administrative job duties of medical assisting.
There are several medical assistant certifications available, offered by a few different organizations. They are:
- The Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) certification from the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA)
- The Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) certification from American Medical Technologists (AMT)
- The National Certified Medical Assistant (NCMA) certification from the National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT)
- The Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) certification from the National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
This page focuses on the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) certification from the AAMA, as it is the most well-known and most highly sought medical assistant certification.
What is a Certified Medical Assistant (CMA)?
A certified medical assistant is simply a medical assisting professional who has passed the medical assistant certification test issued by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). Certification is, essentially, a professional “seal of approval” attesting that you have the necessary knowledge to work in medical assisting. Medical assistants are required to undergo continuing education and recertify every 60 months if they wish to keep their certification current. The AAMA’s medical assistant certification is considered by some to be the standard for the industry.
Benefits of Medical Assistant Certification
There are many benefits to becoming a Certified Medical Assistant. Since more and more employers are requiring medical assistant certification, having it will make you much more attractive to employers. Certified Medical Assistants have demonstrated their expertise in medical assisting duties, so employers see them as more of an asset than non-certified ones.
Some benefits to getting your certification include:
- Higher employability. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, certified medical assistants will have the best job prospects in the future
- Higher earnings potential. Certified medical assistants are generally paid a higher salary than non-certified medical assistants
- Employment growth. Certified medical assistant may be trusted with more responsibilities than their non-certified counterparts, which can lead to more, and better, promotion and growth opportunities
How to Get Medical Assistant Certification
There are several steps to getting your medical assisting certification and becoming a Certified Medical Assistant (CMA):
- Establish certification eligibility. To be eligible to take the AAMA medical assistant certification exam to become a CMA, you must have completed a medical assistant training program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). You must also have completed a medical assisting externship, which comes as part of most medical assisting programs. Your graduation does not have to be recent.
- Apply. Once you have completed an accredited medical assisting program, you must complete the application to take the AAMA exam. The exam registration fee is $125 for AAMA members and recent graduates of CAAHEP or ABHES-accredited schools, and $250 for everyone else. Personal checks are not accepted by the AAMA. You must also have a reliable email address.
- Schedule your exam appointment. Once your certification application has been approved, you will be sent a scheduling permit and will be notified to schedule an appointment to take the medical assistant certification exam. You must bring your permit with you.
- Study. There are several resources that can help prepare you for the AAMA medical assistant certification exam:
- The AAMA certification exam content outline, available on the AAMA website.
- AAMA practice exams, also available on their website.
- A CMA certification exam review course, taken at an accredited medical assistant school or training program. This is the most intensive preparation for the certification exam.
- Pass the certification exam. Once you have passed the AMAA medical assistant certification exam, you will receive a certificate and wallet credential.
Congratulations, if you have followed the above process, passed your certification exam and received your certification in the mail, you are now a Certified Medical Assistant (CMA). After getting your medical assistant certification, you must undergo continuing education and recertify every 60 months to stay certified. The AMAA recertification process is the same as the initial certification process.
Medical Assistant Certification Schools
The medical assistant schools below may help you to gain the training you need to qualify for the AAMA certification exam. You may also want to ask if they provide exam preparation courses.
Keiser University eCampus Online
For over 35 years, Keiser University has provided student-centered, quality career education. Keiser University Online offers degree programs online to prepare students for in-demand professions. Degrees are offered with a curriculum that is in pace with technology and workforce demand trends in business, criminal justice, healthcare and computer technology. Our “one-class-at-a-time” approach allows busy students to focus on their education and balance the demands of work and family.
Everest Colleges, Institutes and Universities provides postsecondary education programs that prepare students for careers in some of America’s fastest growing industries, including health care, business and technology. Everest takes a very personal approach to career education, offering small classes, intimate work groups and support systems designed to help students succeed both inside and outside the classroom. Even after students graduate, Everest’s Career Services department is there to provide ongoing career coaching and help locating local employment opportunities. Financial aid is available for those who qualify.
A college education is important in today’s workforce. Kaplan College gives you the right mix of professional experience and classroom instruction in our accelerated programs to help you succeed in your new career! Kaplan College can help you train for a new career with diploma programs ranging in just a few months. Take advantage of all the benefits Kaplan College offers today!
Lincoln / Lincoln Technical Institute
Are you looking for hands-on training at a well-respected technical school?
Since 1946, Lincoln Technical Institute has been helping students achieve professional success through personalized career support and hands-on, job-specific education. Our in-depth training programs are designed to meet the changing needs of today’s tough job market, and cover a variety of fields, including: Health Sciences, Business and Information Technology, Hospitality, automotive Technology, HVAC Technology and Electrical Systems Technology.
What sets Lincoln Technical Institute apart from other schools? Quite a few things, actually; our training programs emphasize experiential, interactive learning activities – that means you’ll do the job before you take the job. Plus, our Certificate, Diploma and Associate Degree programs are designed to accelerate your entry into the job market by offering a shorter length of training, so you may be earning valuable on-the-job experience before many of your peers do.
But our strengths go beyond that. our Lincoln instructors possess a combination of seasoned teaching skills, subject matter expertise and real world experience. Plus, we’ve built working partnerships with important industry contacts in your area. So when you graduate, we’ll help you find a good position and start your career off right.
When it comes to choosing a post-secondary educational institution, keep this in mind: Our dedication to your success sets us apart from the competition – and the specialized, career-focused training you’ll receive at Lincoln will set you apart from yours. Lincoln Technical Institute offers flexible daytime and evening programs to accommodate your busy schedule. Financial Aid is available for those who qualify and Career Placement Assistance is available upon graduation.
Lincoln College of Technology
Lincoln College of Technology helps students achieve professional success through personalized career support and hands-on, job-specific education. our in-depth training programs are designed to meet the changing needs of today’s tough job market, and cover a variety of fields, including: Health Sciences, Business and Information Technology, Hospitality, Automotive Technology, HVAC Technology and Electrical Systems Technology.