Article

Top 10 Medical Assistant Certifications

This article provides an overview of the top medical assistant certifications available, including requirements, cost and job prospects.

Photo of Brenna Goyette
Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 16 min read

Certifications for medical assistants are important for several reasons. First, certifications show potential employers that the medical assistant is knowledgeable and has the necessary skills to succeed in the role. Certification also demonstrates a commitment to professional development and continuing education, which can give an edge in the job market. Finally, certifications help ensure that medical assistants are following industry standards and meeting government regulations.

The purpose of this article is to review some of the top certifications for Medical Assistants and explain how they can help to advance a Medical Assistant's career.

What are Medical Assistant Certifications?

Medical assistant certification is an official recognition that a medical assistant has met the educational, training and experience requirements to become a certified professional in their field. Certification validates a medical assistant’s knowledge, skills, and abilities to employers, peers, and patients. Having a certification can help medical assistants stand out from other applicants when looking for employment in the healthcare industry. It also demonstrates the medical assistant’s commitment to their career and provides them with greater job security.

Additionally, having a certification can open up more opportunities for advancement within the medical assisting field. Employers often prefer to hire certified professionals because they are usually more knowledgeable and experienced than non-certified individuals. Becoming certified also allows medical assistants to stay up-to-date on new developments and technologies in their field through continuing education courses. This knowledge can make them more valuable employees as well as better care providers for their patients.

Pro Tip: Take the time to research the different certifications available for medical assistants and make sure to select one that is recognized by your employer or state licensing board. Additionally, look into continuing education requirements for maintaining certification and stay up-to-date on any changes or updates.

Related: What does a Medical Assistant do?

Top 10 Medical Assistant Certifications

Here’s our list of the best certifications available to Medical Assistants today.

1. Certified Medical Assistant (CMA)

A Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) is a healthcare professional who assists physicians, nurses and other medical staff in providing patient care. They are responsible for taking vital signs, performing basic laboratory tests, preparing patients for examinations and procedures, administering medications, collecting specimens for laboratory tests, assisting with minor surgical procedures, educating patients about health-related topics and more.

It typically takes between six months to two years to become a CMA depending on the program you choose. Most programs require students to complete an accredited medical assistant program or equivalent training. These programs typically include coursework in anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, pharmacology, patient care techniques and office administration. After completing the program or equivalent training, individuals must pass an exam administered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) to become certified.

The cost of becoming a CMA varies depending on the school or program you choose. Generally speaking, tuition costs range from $1,000-$15,000 depending on length of program and whether it is online or in-person. In addition to tuition costs there may be additional fees such as application fees and exam fees which can add up quickly.

2. Registered Medical Assistant (RMA)

A Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) is a professional who has completed a formal education program and has been certified by the American Medical Technologists (AMT). The RMA provides administrative and clinical support to physicians, nurses, and other healthcare professionals.

It typically takes between one to two years to complete an RMA program. Most programs include courses in anatomy, physiology, medical terminology, pharmacology, medical office administration, patient care procedures, and medical law and ethics.

To become an RMA you must pass the AMT certification exam. You can obtain study materials from the AMT website or from your school’s career center. To be eligible to take the exam you must have completed an accredited RMA program or have at least five years of full-time work experience as an unregistered medical assistant within the past seven years.

The cost of taking the exam varies depending on whether you are a member of AMT or not. For non-members it costs $125 for the first attempt and $95 for each subsequent attempt. For members it costs $95 for the first attempt and $75 for each subsequent attempt.

3. National Certified Medical Assistant (NCMA)

National Certified Medical Assistant (NCMA) is a certification program offered by the National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT). This certification demonstrates that an individual has met the standards of knowledge and experience required to practice as a medical assistant.

It typically takes about three months to complete the NCMA exam. The exam consists of two parts: a written multiple-choice test and a practical skills test. The written portion covers topics such as medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, patient care, medical law and ethics, pharmacology, laboratory procedures, and administrative duties. The practical skills test requires candidates to demonstrate their ability to perform basic medical assisting tasks such as taking vital signs, preparing patients for exams, administering injections, collecting specimens, and performing EKGs.

In order to take the NCMA exam, applicants must meet certain eligibility criteria. They must have graduated from an accredited medical assisting program or have at least five years of full-time work experience in the field. Applicants must also pass a criminal background check prior to taking the exam.

The cost of the NCMA exam varies depending on whether you are taking it online or in person. Online exams cost $125 while in-person exams cost $150. There may also be additional fees associated with obtaining your certification card or renewing your certification after two years.

4. Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA)

A Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) is a medical assistant who has achieved certification through the National Healthcareer Association (NHA). This certification is designed to recognize the knowledge and skills of medical assistants in clinical practice.

The CCMA exam consists of 180 multiple-choice questions covering topics such as patient care, medical office procedures, pharmacology, and medical law and ethics. The exam takes approximately three hours to complete.

In order to become certified as a CCMA, individuals must meet certain eligibility requirements. These include having graduated from an accredited medical assisting program or having at least one year of full-time work experience in a clinical setting.

Candidates must also submit an application to the NHA for review and pay an application fee of $125. After the application is approved, candidates can then register for the exam with a fee of $125. The total cost for certification is $250.

5. Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA)

Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) is a credential that is awarded to individuals who demonstrate mastery of the administrative skills necessary to work in the medical field. The certification is offered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).

To become certified, applicants must first meet the eligibility requirements and pass an exam. To be eligible, applicants must have completed a minimum of a high school diploma or equivalent, as well as at least one year of experience in a healthcare setting.

The exam consists of 150 multiple-choice questions and covers topics such as medical terminology, medical office procedures, insurance processing, coding and billing, and computer applications. The exam takes approximately three hours to complete.

The cost for taking the CMAA exam varies depending on whether you are an NHA member or non-member. For members, the cost is $125; for non-members it is $150. Once you have passed the exam, there is an additional fee of $50 for certification renewal every two years.

Overall, becoming certified as a CMAA requires dedication and commitment but can provide many benefits such as increased job opportunities and higher salaries in the medical field.

6. Certified Electronic Health Records Specialist (CEHRS)

A Certified Electronic Health Records Specialist (CEHRS) is a professional who has been certified by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA) to demonstrate knowledge and competency in using electronic health records (EHRs). The CEHRS certification is designed for individuals working in healthcare settings who are responsible for managing, maintaining, and utilizing EHRs. To become certified, individuals must pass an exam that covers topics such as patient data management, security and privacy of health information, and EHR system functionality.

The CEHRS certification process typically takes three to four months from start to finish. Prospective applicants must first register with the NHA and pay the application fee. After registering, applicants will be given access to study materials which they can use to prepare for the exam. Once they feel they are adequately prepared, they can schedule their exam through Pearson VUE. Upon passing the exam, applicants will receive their official CEHRS certification card within two weeks of completion.

The cost of obtaining a CEHRS certification varies depending on whether or not you are already an NHA member. For non-members, the cost is $199 plus applicable taxes; members pay $179 plus applicable taxes. Additionally, there may be additional fees associated with scheduling your exam at a Pearson VUE testing center.

7. Certified Billing and Coding Specialist (CBCS)

A Certified Billing and Coding Specialist (CBCS) is a professional who specializes in billing and coding for medical services. They are responsible for accurately entering patient information, verifying insurance coverage, and submitting claims to insurance companies. The CBCS credential is offered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).

The certification exam consists of 125 multiple-choice questions that must be completed within two hours. To qualify to take the exam, applicants must have either a high school diploma or GED, plus one year of experience in medical billing and coding or a postsecondary certificate from an accredited program in medical billing and coding.

The cost of the certification exam is $199 USD, which includes the application fee. Applicants can register online at the NHA website or by calling their customer service line. Once registered, applicants will receive an email with instructions on how to access their exam voucher.

Once the applicant passes the exam, they will receive their official CBCS certification from NHA. This certification is valid for two years before it must be renewed. Renewal requires completing 20 continuing education credits every two years as well as paying a renewal fee of $99 USD.

8. American Association of Medical Assistants Certification (AAMA-CMA)

The American Association of Medical Assistants Certification (AAMA-CMA) is a professional certification offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). It is designed to recognize qualified medical assistants who have demonstrated knowledge and proficiency in the field.

To become certified, applicants must pass an exam administered by the AAMA. The exam consists of multiple-choice questions on topics such as medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, clinical procedures, and administrative duties. Applicants must also meet certain educational requirements before taking the exam.

The exam takes approximately three hours to complete and costs $125 for members of the AAMA or $150 for non-members. After passing the exam, applicants are awarded the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) credential. This credential is valid for five years and can be renewed by completing continuing education credits or retaking the exam.

Overall, obtaining AAMA-CMA certification requires dedication and hard work but can open up many opportunities for medical assistants in their career paths.

9. National Healthcareer Association Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (NHA-CCMA)

The National Healthcareer Association Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (NHA-CCMA) is a nationally recognized certification for medical assistants. The NHA-CCMA is designed to validate the knowledge and skills of medical assistants who work in clinical settings.

It typically takes between six months and one year to complete the requirements for the NHA-CCMA certification. To get certified, you must first meet the eligibility requirements, which include having a high school diploma or GED, completion of an accredited medical assistant program, and at least one year of full-time clinical experience as a medical assistant.

Once these requirements have been met, you can apply for the NHA-CCMA exam by submitting an application form along with any required documentation and fees. The cost of taking the exam varies depending on whether you are a member of the NHA or not; non-members pay $115 while members pay $95. Once your application has been approved, you will receive instructions on how to register for the exam.

The NHA-CCMA exam consists of 160 multiple choice questions covering topics such as anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, pharmacology, patient care procedures, legal issues, infection control procedures, and administrative duties. You will have two hours to complete the exam. After passing the exam, you will be awarded your certification and be able to use it to demonstrate your competence in clinical medical assisting.

10. American Medical Technologists Certified Medical Assistant (AMT-CMA).

The American Medical Technologists Certified Medical Assistant (AMT-CMA) is a professional certification for medical assistants. It is an internationally recognized credential that demonstrates a medical assistant’s knowledge and competence in the field. The AMT-CMA certification is designed to ensure that medical assistants are qualified to perform their duties with the highest level of professionalism and competency.

To become certified as an AMT-CMA, applicants must pass an exam administered by the American Medical Technologists (AMT). The exam consists of two parts: a written portion and a practical skills assessment. The written portion covers topics such as medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, pharmacology, laboratory procedures, patient care skills, infection control and safety protocols. The practical skills assessment tests the applicant’s ability to perform clinical tasks such as taking vital signs, administering injections, performing electrocardiograms (EKGs), and responding to emergency situations.

The AMT-CMA certification process typically takes about six months from start to finish. Applicants must first submit an application form along with required documentation and fees. After submitting their application materials, applicants will be scheduled for the written examination at one of several testing centers throughout the United States. Once they have passed the written exam, applicants can then register for the practical skills assessment which is administered at approved testing sites across the country.

The cost of becoming certified as an AMT-CMA varies depending on where you take your exams and whether or not you need to purchase any study materials or other resources. Generally speaking, it will cost between $200 - $400 USD to become certified as an AMT-CMA.

Do You Really Need a Medical Assistant Certificate?

Yes, you do need a medical assistant certificate in order to become a medical assistant. Medical assistants are healthcare professionals who play a vital role in providing patient care and assisting physicians. A medical assistant certificate is necessary for those wishing to pursue a career in this field as it serves to demonstrate that an individual has received the required training and education to perform their job duties effectively and safely.

Having a medical assistant certificate also shows potential employers that you have the knowledge, skills, and experience needed to provide quality patient care. A certificate can also help you stand out from other applicants when applying for jobs, as employers often look for qualified candidates with relevant credentials. Furthermore, some states require individuals to obtain certification before they can practice as a medical assistant.

In addition, having a medical assistant certificate will give you access to continuing education opportunities and professional development courses that will further enhance your skills and keep them up-to-date with industry standards. This will ensure that you stay abreast of any changes or updates in the healthcare field. Ultimately, having a medical assistant certificate is essential if you want to work in this profession as it provides proof of your qualifications and demonstrates your commitment to providing quality patient care.

Related: Medical Assistant Resume Examples

FAQs About Medical Assistant Certifications

1. What are the requirements to become a certified medical assistant?

Answer: To become a certified medical assistant, you must complete an accredited medical assisting program, pass the certification exam, and meet any other state-specific requirements.

2. How long does it take to become a certified medical assistant?

Answer: It typically takes about 6 to 12 months to complete the educational requirements for becoming a certified medical assistant.

3. What is the difference between a CMA and an RMA?

Answer: The Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) credential is offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA), while the Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) credential is offered by American Medical Technologists (AMT). Both certifications require completion of an accredited medical assisting program and passing of the certification exam.

4. Is there continuing education required for maintaining my certification?

Answer: Yes, both CMA and RMA certifications require continuing education for recertification every 5 years.

5. Where can I find information on available jobs as a certified medical assistant?

Answer: You can search job postings on websites such as Indeed or Glassdoor, or contact local hospitals and clinics directly to inquire about open positions.

Related articles

Top 10 Medical Lab Assistant Certifications

This article provides an overview of the top certifications available for medical laboratory assistants, including requirements and benefits.

Top 10 Medical Records Assistant Certifications

This article provides an overview of the top medical records assistant certifications available, helping readers decide which one best suits their needs.

Top 11 Medical Assistant Instructor Certifications

This article will provide an overview of the best medical assistant instructor certifications available, including details about each certification's requirements and benefits.

Top 11 Certified Medical Assistant Certifications

This article provides an overview of the top certifications for medical assistants, including eligibility requirements, exam content, and benefits.

Top 11 Medical Administrative Assistant Certifications

This article provides an overview of the top medical administrative assistant certifications available, including their associated requirements and benefits.

Top 11 Medical Office Assistant Certifications

This article explores the top certifications for medical office assistants, including their requirements and benefits.