Medical assistant certification is not actually required by law in order to work in the field, but most medical assistant actually choose to be certified. The certification, while not required, can help in winning entry-level job and obtaining the employer and patients’ trust in the professionalism of the medical assistant. Indeed, it is increasingly becoming a requirement among the employers in the field. The question is how much do medical assistants make?
How to Obtain Medical Assistant Certification
Medical assistant certification is offered in United States by four organizations: the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA), American Medical Technologist (AMT),National Healthcareer Association (NHA) and National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT). Before being certified, though, the medical assistant certification exam requires a graduation from medical assistant training program first. These programs are usually offered by schools accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) or a minimum of 5 years’ experience in the field.
Each of the four organizations in charge of certifying the candidates offer different designations for the certified medical assistants. Those certified through AAMA will receive the title CMA (Certified Medical Assistant), while those certified by AMT will get RMA (Registered Medical Assistant) behind their names. NHA and NCCT respectively offer a CCMA (Certified Clinical Medical Assistant) and NCMA (National Certified Medical Assistant). All of the medical assistants certified through any of these four organizations for medical assistant certification are highly skilled individuals who are much sought after by employers.
The Renewal of Medical Assistant Certification
It should be noted that although the medical assistant certification validates the individual’s skill level, the credential needs to be renewed once in a while depending on the organization who issued the certification. AAMA, for example, requires their CMAs to take a renewal test every five years. The RMAs certified by AMT have to maintain their credential by paying an annual fee and completing a certain number of education hours every three years.
Education for Medical Assistant Certification
The education for the certification can be obtained through schools appointed by CAAHEP orABHES, especially if one would like to get a medical assistant certification in the future. Medical assistant certification online schools, vocational schools, community colleges, technical institutes, junior colleges or proprietary colleges usually offer a diploma, certificate or associate’s degree with one or two years of formal education. Right now there are more than 600 programs accredited by CAAHEP, spread among more than 500 institutions. An additional of 200 programs is also accredited by ABHES. All the accredited schools for medical assistant certification are guaranteed to meet educational standards with sufficient laboratory, classroom and lecture time.
The schools subjects covered the basics in medical knowledge, like medical terminology, physiology and anatomy. Clinical internship might be required during the program in where the students will get to work as medical assistants in medical clinics. Hands-on practice will include duties often found in the profession, like drawing blood or performing x-rays. The curriculum from these schools is designed to ensure the bestowing of medical assistant certification to well-trained and highly skilled individuals.