After earning a medical assistant certificate, diploma, or degree, most people will be ready to begin their career. However, medical assistants have additional ways to boost their resume and learn new skills besides their formal training. This can be done by earning a medical assistant certification. There are various types of medical assisting certifications available from different institutions. While most medical assisting jobs don’t require an applicant to be certified, certification is recommended for advanced level positions. In addition, a medical assistant certification can provide individuals access to a larger selection of jobs and a potentially higher salary.
The Benefits of Becoming Certified
The benefits to becoming certified are numerous. Employers look at a certification as a way of verifying that a candidate has met a certain benchmark of experience. A medical assistant certification stipulates that candidates are capable and competent enough to excel at certain industry-wide standard job expectations. As such, many hospitals and medical practices require a form of certification from all of their job applicants. Other benefits include:
Distinction: Without certification, applicants may have a tough time competing in the competitive healthcare industry. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, certified MAs have better job prospects than their uncertified colleagues.
Earning: With better job prospects come better earning potential. Certified Medical Assistants (CMAs) are in a better position to bargain for higher pay and benefits than other job candidates.
Ease: Luckily, becoming certified is a rather simple process. While some certifications require an associates degree in medical assisting, many can be earned by completing a single exam. Most people choose to become a Certified Medical Assistant, a Registered Medical Assistant , or a Certified Clinical Medical Assistant.
Different Types of Certifications
There are many different types of medical assistant certifications that cover all aspects of the job description. However, there are only four certifications that are accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies. The certifications, as well as the organizations that offer them, are as follows:
Certified Medical Assistant
Overview: The Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) certification is given out by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA).
Fees/Requirements: In order to apply for this certification, applicants must first graduate from an accredited medical assistant program. Members of the AAMA are charged $125 to apply for the CMA, while the fee for everyone else is $250.
More Information: AAMA website.
Registered Medical Assistant
Overview: The Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) certification is given out by the American Medical Technologists (AMT). The RMA exam is a comprehensive test that covers just about every aspect of the medical assistant job description.
Fees/Requirements: To apply, applicants must first complete either an accredited medical assistant program or have at least 5 years of work experience. The certification fee is $95 and a yearly fee of $50 must be paid in order to maintain certification.
More Information: AMT website
National Certified Medical Assistant
Overview: The National Certified Medical Assistant (NCMA) certification is given out by the National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT).
Fees/Requirements: Certification exam applicants must have either graduated from an accredited education program or have at least two years of work experience. The student fee for the exam is $90 while the regular fee is $135.
More Information: NCCT website
Certified Clinical Medical Assistant
Overview: The Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) certification is given out by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA). This certification typically requires prior experience as it allows successful applicants to perform tasks including sterilizing medical equipment, administering injections, and more.
Fees/Requirements: The exam fee is $149
More Information: NHA website
Several education programs provide students with resources to prepare for medical assistant certification. These resources may include practice exams or study courses. Students will need to decide which type of medical assistant certification they will pursue, when they will pursue it, and whether or not they need to complete formal education beforehand.