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Medical Assistant Certification Test & Exams

As part of pursuing your medical assisting certification, you will need to complete a medical assistant certification test or exam from one of the nation’s medical assistant certification agencies. The four major certification agencies and the medical assistant certifications they offer are:

All four certification agencies require medical assistants to pass a certification exam in order to become certified.

The Four Medical Assistant Certification Tests

The four certification exams are administered by the four certification bodies: AAMA, AMT, NCCT, and NHA. These certifications are separate – a medical assistant can get any of them, all of them, or none. However, taking the exams and becoming certified by any of the organizations will strengthen you in the job market.

The Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) Exam

The CMA exam is administered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). This certification test covers essential knowledge in areas such as anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, legal guidelines, administrative practices, and others. Some of the major topics covered are:

The computerized exam consists of 200 multiple-choice questions. Students are given 195 minutes (three hours and 15 minutes) to complete it, broken into four 40-minute segments. Optional 20-minute breaks can be taken between the test segments.

To be eligible for this test, you must be a graduate of a medical assistant program accredited by either the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accreditation Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). The courses you take while in school will also prepare you for the test.

Studying for the CMA Exam

The AAMA recommends several study resources for the CMA exam. They include:

The American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) administers the CMA exam for medical assistant certification and recertification throughout the year.

The Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) Exam

The RMA exam is a medical assistant certification test administered by American Medical Technologists (AMT). It covers 20 topics in clinical, administrative and clerical medical assisting. Some of the major topics include:

To be eligible to take the RMA exam, you must be of good moral character and satisfy one of four qualifications:

As an additional qualification, applicants who meet one of the three qualifications above and who have already passed another recognized medical assistant certification test may become certified without taking the RMA exam. Details are on the AMT website.

Studying for the RMA Exam

Students studying for the RMA exam have access to several materials to help them pass the certification test. They include:

The RMA exam may be retaken if you do not pass the first time. Fees and a time limit apply to retaking the test.

The National Certified Medical Assistant (NCMA) Exam

The National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT) administers the NCMA exam. This test covers clinical and administrative topics, including:

To be eligible to take the NCMA exam, you must have graduated from high school must meet at least one of the following conditions:

Additional details are available on the NCCT website. Test fees are $90 for students and $135 for non-students.

Studying for the NCMA Exam

The NCCT offers several certification test review packages for sale, ranging from a $15 practice test to a $59 package that includes a review book, practice test, puzzle and pin. Packages are available on the NCCT website. An exam content outline is also available, as well as the online practice test login.

The Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) Exam

The CCMA exam is administered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA). It is around 2 hours and 40 minutes, and consists of 160 questions. The exam covers a variety subjects, including:

To qualify to take the CCMA exam, you must have graduated from high school, and must have either completed a medical assistant training program or have one year of work experience in medical assisting, including venipuncture and EKG experience.

Studying for the CCMA Exam

The NHA recommends purchasing medical assistant certification test review materials from ATI Allied Health prior to taking the exam. Certification test takers can purchase study materials ranging from a $25 online practice test to a $56 study guide and practice test package. More information is available on the NHA website.

For a detailed look at the process of becoming a Certified Medical Assistant, see our step-by-step guide to becoming certified.

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