Career & Opportunities

How to Get Your Medical Assistant Certification

How to Get Your Medical Assistant Certification
Written by Eddie Wood

Are you interested to know how to get your medical assistant certification in other to work as a medical assistant?

Healthcare professionals rely on the assistance of medical assistants, who play a key role in patient care as well as in supporting other healthcare workers.

What it takes to become a CMA and what certifications are preferred are all covered in this guide on how to get your medical assistant certification to become a certified medical assistant (CMA).

In Order to Answer this Question, We Must First Define what a Certified Medical Assistant is.

Patients are called and appointments are scheduled by medical assistants, as mentioned earlier.

They assist other healthcare professionals in clinical and administrative settings by performing minor procedures such as blood draws and other administrative duties.

Most states do not require certification or licensure for medical assistants, in contrast to the requirements for physicians and other healthcare professionals.

The AAMA provides a list of state boards of medicine that prospective CMAs can contact to double-check their credentials.

The fact that most employers prefer candidates who have achieved national credentialing in the healthcare industry should come as no surprise.

In accordance with the National Commission for Certifying Agencies, there are five primary certifications available for medical assistants, according to the BLS:

1.Certificate of Completion from the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) as a Medical Assistant

2. An RMA from the American Medical Technologists (AMT).

3. The National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT) has issued the NCMA certification for medical assistants.

4. CMA from the National Health career Association in Clinical Medical Assisting

5. CMAA certification from the National Health career Association (NHA).

For the period of 2020 to 2030, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that the number of job openings for medical assistants will rise by 18 percent nationwide.

This is a much more robust rate of growth than the 8% average growth expected for all occupations during the same time period in question.

There are expected to be 132,600 new openings for medical assistants in the United States in the next decade, which means there will be plenty of job opportunities.

Duties of a Medical Assistants

The American Association of Medical Assistants (2022) outlines the typical job duties of a medical assistant, including:

1.Preparing patients for examinations

2. Taking medical histories

3. Administering medication as requested by the attending physician

4. Performing electrocardiograms

5. Changing wound dressings or removing stitches

6. Collecting samples for laboratory testing

7. Serving as a liaison between doctors and patients

8. Fulfilling various administrative duties (e.g., scheduling appointments, coding medical services, preparing insurance forms, maintaining medical records, etc).

5 Reasons Medical Assistants Should Get a Certification in Their Field

Medical assistants frequently seek certification in order to advance in their careers, earn better pay, and gain the esteem of their peers.

In many cases, certified professionals enjoy the following advantages.

Opportunities for New Careers

Certified medical assistants may be able to apply for more positions. Professional expertise and previous work experience are highly valued by employers.

Advanced skills and dedication to the healthcare industry are shown by certification.

A Greater Monetary Reward

States that require certification tend to have higher median wages than those that don’t. Employees can use these extra dollars to cover rising living expenses, put money aside for retirement, and generally have a better time.

Continuing Education

Medical assistants are required to attend continuing education classes in order to maintain their credentials.

Medical assistants can benefit from these classes by staying up to date on the latest developments in the field. There are many benefits to attending a professional development course.

Respect More

Getting one or more certifications can help you gain the respect of your coworkers and superiors in your workplace..

Additional weight may be attached to the opinions, decisions, and actions of certified professionals.

Achieving the Goals

Some states require certification for all medical assistants. In these states, certification qualifies people for entry-level positions.

BECOMING A CERTIFIED MEDICAL ASSISTANTS: A STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE (CMA)

In order to become a medical assistant, one must complete a postsecondary education program lasting from one to two years, which includes instruction in anatomy and medical terminology, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2020).

Despite the fact that these steps may vary from state to state and certification to certification, here is one common path to becoming a CMA in the United States:

1.EITHER GET A GED OR A HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMA (FOUR YEARS)

High school graduation or obtaining a GED may be the most critical step in this procedure.

At this point, students should concentrate on courses in biology, chemistry, physics, statistics, algebra, and other relevant math and science subjects that will help them prepare for a career as a CMA.

The experience of working in a clinic or doctor’s office can also be beneficial to a student’s postsecondary school applications because it allows them to see what it’s like to work in a healthcare setting.

2. SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETE A MEDICAL ASSISTANT PROGRAM (ONE TO TWO YEARS)

American Association for Medical Assistants (AAMA) requires that medical assistants who want to be certified complete an approved postsecondary program first, even though there are no national education requirements.

Only graduates of medical assisting programs accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) are eligible to take the CMA (AAMA) certification examination,” says the AAMA.

There is a list of approved programs in every state provided by each of the organizations. Medical terminology, anatomy, pharmacology, first aid, lab techniques, how to administer medicine, coding & insurance processing, record-keeping & accounting.

Computer competency, and medical law & ethics are just some of the clinical and administrative areas covered by approved programs, according to the AAMA.

Students in these programs are also required to complete a practicum, which is an unpaid internship under the supervision of a healthcare professional.

3. SUCCESS IN THE CMA EXAM (LESS THAN ONE YEAR)

A medical assistant must then pass the CMA (AAMA) Certification Examination, or the equivalent, through one of the aforementioned organizations after completing an accredited medical assisting program.

A completed application and a fee ($125) are required of all aspiring CMAs. Students who attend accredited programs such as CAAHEP or ABHES are generally required by the AAMA to submit official transcripts proving their eligibility for certification exam participation.

Among the topics covered in the AAMA’s general outline of the test content are the following:

a. The actions of a person

b. Human development and growth

c. A person’s final moments before death or dying

d. Responses to diverse populations that are both therapeutic and adaptive.

e. Communicating through nonverbal means

f. The gathering and analysis of information

g. Confidence and ability to work well with others

h. Regulations and laws governing the medical field (e.g., advance directives, the scope of practice, confidentiality, third party payers & insurance, consumer protection acts, etc.)

Candidates are allowed three attempts to pass the exam, which consists of 200 multiple-choice questions.

Three weeks after the exam, the CMA candidates receive a copy of their official score report, and six weeks later, they receive an official CMA (AAMA) certificate designating their new title.

Consider the fact that students can sit for the exam up to a month before they finish their medical assisting program.

As of July 2019 and July 2020, there were 7,482 AAMA (CMA) certification candidates, and 67 percent of them passed the exam on their first try.

4. ENSURE THE CONTINUITY OF AAMA (CMA) CREDIT (EVERY 60 MONTHS)

In order to keep your AAMA (CMA) certification current, you must complete 60 continuing education units (also known as recertification points) in any combination of general (10), administrative (10), and clinical topics (30).

To earn an AAMA certification, you’ll need to follow these steps. Other certifying organizations may have a little different needs and timelines.

Another set of Certifications for Medical Assistants is Available.

The following is a list of certification requirements for three additional organizations, all of which are recognized by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA).

American Medical Technologist  (AMT)

Accreditation: Registered Medical Aide (RMA)

First Things First:

Candidates for the AMT exam must have either completed an accredited training program (720 training hours and 160 internship hours), a military medical services training program, five years of qualifying work experience in the previous seven years, or five years of experience as a medical assistant instructor to be eligible for the exam..

Renewal:

In order to maintain certification, a candidate must pay annual fees of $60, pay a recertification fee of $205, and complete 30 continuing education units within the three-year period of validity (CEUs).

National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT)

Credential:

The initial requirements for certification as an NCMA are as follows: In order to sit for the certification exam, candidates must either be currently enrolled in or have recently graduated from an NCCT-authorized program, have completed the military equivalent of a medical assistant training program, or have two years of relevant work experience. Within six months of graduation, the exam costs $90; after that, it costs $135.

Renewal:

Renewal of this certification is required every year after completing 14 clock hours (CH) of continuing education and paying a fee ($77), though requirements and fees may differ for candidates with multiple NCCT certifications.

National Health Career Association (NHA)

Credential:

Professional certification in the fields of clinical medical assisting (CCMA) and medical administration (CMA) (CMAA)

First things first:

Either a postsecondary training program or one year of qualifying work experience is required for applicants. There are 150 actual exam questions as well as 30 ‘pretest’ questions on the exams.

Renewal:

Valid for two years, these credentials can be renewed by earning 10 continuing education units.

Finally

The advantages of becoming a certified medical assistant, the types of certifications that are available, the resources that are available, and the advice of industry experts are all covered in our guide.

About the author

Eddie Wood

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