Medical Assisting Certifications

Medical Assistant Certification

Do You Need To Be Certified to Become a Medical Assistant?

Medical assisting is one of those great health care careers with a training program that lasts as little as 9 months. Students are prepared to work alongside doctors, providing support to patients as they prepare to see their physicians and undergo routine preventative care.

Although there is no national body requiring that medical assistants be certified, state boards and most employers require certification before you can be hired.

While this certification standard is fairly common in the health care field, medical assisting stands out because there are a total of four different organizations that will do the certifying. Which one (and how many of them) you get certified by will depend on where you live as well as employer expectations.

  • The American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) is perhaps the most well-known of all the medical assisting certifying bodies. The exam for this certification gives those with a passing score their CMA (certified medical assistant) designation, which is recognized by the National Board of Medical Examiners.Not everyone is qualified to take this exam, though; students must have completed their education at a medical assisting school that is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) – both of which are recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
  • The American Technologists (AMT) agency is another certifying body, though it comes with additional requirements. Students who graduated from an accredited program according to the CAAHEP or ABHES and who have at least five years of experience can sit for the exam.Upon successful completion, the medical assistants become an RMA (as opposed to CMA), which stands for registered medical assistant.
  • The National Healthcareer Association (NHA) has certified over 200,000 total health care professionals. Students who choose to get certified through the NHA as medical assistants become either certified clinical medical assistants (CCMA) or certified medical administrative assistant (CMAA).
  • The National Center for Competency Testing offers a fourth type of certification as an NCMA, or national certified medical assistant. In addition to an initial exam, professionals with this designation have to keep up 14 hours of continuing education each year.

For more information on which medical assisting certification body is right for you, talk with your medical assisting school and learn about your state’s individual requirements.

 

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