Certification is not a requirement for medical assistants. However, if you want to distinguish yourself as a qualified professional with a specific level of knowledge and experience in the profession, a voluntary national certification might be for you. Furthermore, the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) is reporting that many managed care health organizations are now making certification mandatory for medical assistants.
What Are the Certifications and Why Do You Need Them?
Certified Medical Assistant (CMA)
Probably the most known national certification for medical assistants is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) credential, which is available through the AAMA. To be qualified for the exam, you must be a graduate of a medical assisting course of study that is accredited by either the CAAHEP or the ABHES. You must take and pass the CMA certification exam. Testing is computer–based, and renewal must take place every five years.
Registered Medical Assistant (RMA)
The Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) credential is available through the American Medical Technologists (AMT). Candidates for this exam must be recent graduates within the last four years of an accredited medical assisting program. The course of study must include at minimum 720 clock hours of medical assisting which consists of a clinical externship of at least 160 hours. Work experience as a medical assistant in five of the last seven years will also qualify you for the examination.
National Certified Medical Assistant (NCMA)
To qualify for the NCMA exam, you must be a current student or a recent (within the last ten years) graduate from a medical assistant program authorized by the NCCT. You can also qualify for the exam if you have at least two years of full-time medical assisting experience.
Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA)
The CCMA is available through the National Healthcare Association and is for medical assistants who have a high school diploma or the equivalent. The candidate must also complete a training program or possess one year of work experience as a medical assistant.
Why Do I Need Certification?
You might be asking yourself if certification is worth it. Here are a few excellent reasons for obtaining a medical assistant certification:
- It will get you hired. Employers are looking to hire MAs with knowledge, experience, and certifications.
- More money. A certification shows that you are dedicated to your profession and are willing to invest in your future. This commitment makes employers more likely to invest in you with a salary increase.
- It demonstrates excellence. Certification sends a clear message to employers and co-workers that you are qualified. A certification offers proof that you have met the highest standards of education and credentialing.
- Staying current. Certification keeps you up to date on all the current technology and regulations that affect your profession.
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