Types of Certifications for Medical Assistants

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Types of Certifications for Medical Assistants

Although medical assistants do not typically need a specific credential to be allowed to practice in the field, becoming certified can set you apart from your competition when applying for a job.

Moreover, depending on the state where you want to practice, certification may become a requirement if you want to collect blood samples or perform x-rays.

Certified Medical Assistant Credential

One of the most widely recognized credentials is Certified Medical Assistant offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants.

Many employers prefer to hire medical assistants who hold this certification because this provides evidence that the employer is following medical assistant employment procedures.

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Before applying for the Certified Medical Assistant credential, you must meet a few requirements:

You must graduate from an accredited medical assisting program which is usually between one and two years long, depending on the school and the type of program you choose.

The institutes that offer accreditation for medical assisting programs are The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs and the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools.

After successfully graduating from a training program, you must pass the CMA Certification Examination.

This certification must be renewed every 5 years and you have to complete continuing education classes in order to maintain this credential.

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Registered Medical Assistant Credential

The Registered Medical Assistant Credential is offered by the American Medical Technologists Association.

To qualify for this credential you need to meet one of the following requirements and to pass an exam:

Education Requirements:

You can qualify for this credential if you have graduated from a medical assisting training program within the last four years- this program must be approved by the U.S. Department of Education, the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, or the AMT Board of Directors.

The program that you choose should include at least 720 clock hours of medical assisting training, including a clinical externship of at least 160 hours.

Military Requirements:

Candidates can also qualify if they have graduated from a medical services training program in the last four years within the United States Armed Forces.

Work Experience:

The exam can also be taken by candidates who hold a high school diploma and have been employed as a full-time medical assistant with both clinical and administrative experience in 5 out of the last 7 years.

Instructor

Candidates may also qualify if they are an instructor with at least 5 years of teaching experience in an accredited medical assisting program and have completed a course in a healthcare discipline that is related to this profession.

Other Requirements

Those who have taken and passed another certification exam approved by the AMT Board of Directors may also sit for the Registered Medical Assistant exam.

National Certified Medical Assistant Credential

The National Center for Competency Testing offers a National Certified Medical Assistant credential for medical assistants who pass an exam and meet one of the following requirements:

  • are a current student or graduate from a medical assisting program authorized by the NCCT within the last 10 years.
  • are a foreign physician or registered nurse with documented U.S. equivalency within the last 10 years.
  • are medical assistant instructors with more than 10 years of experience.
  • have completed a medical assistant training program offered by the U.S. military within the last 10 years.
  • have at least two years of experience as medical assistants within the last 10 years.

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Certified Clinical Medical Assistant Credential

This certification is offered by the National Healthcare Association and is reserved for medical assistants who meet the following requirements:

  • possess a high school diploma or equivalent, and
  • have graduated from a training program or have at least one year of work experience as a medical assistant.

Specialty Certification

If you want to have better employment and earning prospects, there are also specialty certifications offered by the following credentialing institutions:

The American Society of Podiatric Medical Assistants

To qualify for this credential you must be a podiatric medical assistant and a member of the American Society of Podiatric Medical Assistants for at least 90 days and must be employed in a podiatry office.

The Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology

You can become eligible for this credential through the Career Advancement Tool- a learning resource that helps you prepare for this exam.

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