Medical Assistant Certification
Medical assistant certifications are offered by nonprofit professional and certificating agencies or associations. These independent agencies are established to represent willing professionals who want to demonstrate their competency by taking certification exams, become a member of that agency to enhance their professional career through continuing education, seminars, workshops, newsletters, etc. The certifying agencies also play an important role in maintaining patients’ safety by employing stringent standards when certifying professionals.
Medical Assistant Certifying Agencies
There is no licensure for medical assistants; however, one can fulfill certain requirements and get certified through one of the following agencies. The reputation and quality standard of the agency one get certified through plays an important role in the certificate’s worth.
Currently there are four medical assistant certifying agencies, namely:
- American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT)
AAMA offers the CMA credential for medical assistants who successfully complete an accredited program and pass the CMA exam.
The CMA credential is renewable every five years and it cost $125 to $250 depending on the applicant’s AAMA membership status and graduation year. CMA is the industry leading credential trusted by many employees. According to AAMA, certified medical assistant salary in 2010 was $31,361. During the same year, the difference between annual average salary of CMA and non-CMA medical assistants was more than $2,000.
- Learn more about Certified Medical Assistant (CMA)
- American Association of Medical Assistants website
AMT grants the RMA (Registered Medical Assistant) credential for medical assistant students after successfully passing the RMA exam. The exam costs $95 and a $50 fee is required annually to keep the certification current.
NHA is the biggest certification provider for allied health professionals in the US. Unlike other certifying agencies, NHA splits medical assistant certification into two: clinical and administrative. At the time of writing this article, the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) Exam costs $149 where as the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) Exam costs $105.
- Learn more about Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA)
- Learn more about Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA)
- National Healthcareer Association Website
NCCT provides two options of certification: the first one is NCMA (National Certified Medical Assistant) and the second one is NCMOA (National Certified Medical Office Assistant). Apart from their exam application requirements, these two credentials basically have no difference. If an applicant is using work experience to get certified, for NCMA, 4160 hours of employment is required where as, for NCMOA, 2080 hours of employment is required. Both exams cost $135, if the applicant is qualifying for the exam through work experience and $90 for new grads.
NCCT is the only certifying organization that requires continuing education. Medical assistant who get certified through NCCT are required to complete to complete 14 clock hours of approved continuing education every year to keep their credential current.