A Guide to Getting Your Medical Assistant Certificate

Looking for a lucrative career in the medical field? Becoming a Certified Medical Assistant might be just the job for you!

A Medical Assistant is an allied health professional that assists doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals in clinics, health care facilities, and medical offices. They often perform administrative, clerical, and clinical tasks that support the operations of the doctor’s office or hospital. The work is challenging, stimulating, and rewarding with the added benefits of a competitive salary and professional respect.

To become a Certified Medical Assistant, you would complete a medical assistant program, and then take a voluntary exam to obtain certification through the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) or the National Center for Competency Center (NCCT). Although it is not necessary to have this certification to work as a Medical Assistant, there are many advantages to getting certified. You will have a substantial advantage in the job market with this certification. Read on for more about getting certification as a Medical Assistant!

Why Become a Certified Medical Assistant?

There are many reasons to become a Certified Medical Assistant (CMA).

Becoming certified to be a Medical Assistant shows prospective employers that you have taken steps above and beyond those required to become highly skilled and knowledgeable in your field.

Having the certification will make you competitive with other candidates also looking for a job in the medical field. Employers often prefer certified medical assistants to candidates that are not certified because they seek the highest quality candidate in his or her field. Pursuing certification is impressive! Because of the rigorous training provided by the certification program, employers feel confident hiring job seekers who have Medical Assistant certification. In addition to signaling our knowledge in the field, certification demonstrates your dedication to the profession, which will ultimately afford you professional respect and recognition.

Certification can often mean you will earn a higher salary than you would without one, averaging around $32,000 a year with benefits, depending on the state you work in. What’s more, because of the in-depth knowledge provided by the certification process, certified Medical Assistants have a greater chance of advancing into management positions during their careers than non-certified Assistants.

How do I go about becoming a Certified Medical Assistant?

The first step you’ll want to take to getting your certification is determining your eligibility. To be eligible for certification, you must be a recent graduate of or current student in a Medical Assistant program accredited by a National accreditation. If you are enrolled in a program, please note you must be 30 days from graduation before you can take the certification exam. Recent graduates must take the exam within 12 months from their graduation date.

If you are not yet enrolled in a Medical Assistant program, consider the program at Medical Institute of Palm Beach (MIPB). MIPB focuses on a broad range of skills necessary for a career in the medical field, such as admitting procedures, taking vital signs, assessing patients symptoms, preparing patients for physical examinations and/or treatment, performing lab work, operating diagnostic equipment, and performing EKGs.

You can also qualify to take the certification exam if you have two years of verifiable full-time experience working as a Medical Assistant in the last five years. Similarly, if you completed Medical Assistant training during U.S. Military Service in the last fives years, you may also be eligible for certification. Visit the National Center for Competency Testing for more details.

Once you’ve determined you meet the requirements for eligibility, you’ll need to fill out an application to take the certification exam via the AAMA’s website. The cost of the exam is a non-refundable fee between $95 and $145 for members, and $195 for non-members.

Once you’ve applied and have been notified of your acceptance you will need to prepare for the exam. To be successful on the exam, you’ll need to study! Use the AAMA’s section on exam content to become familiar with the topics on the exam and help you understand the test material. You can also enroll in classroom courses or online courses that are designed to help you prepare for the exam. These courses are great options that can help guide you through the material that will be presented on the test. Ask your Medical Assistant program director for more information about these courses.

Another great way to prepare for exam day is to take practice exams, offered through your Medical Assistant program. By taking practice tests you will know what to expect on exam day so there will be no surprises. Being prepared for the format as well as the content on the exam will help ensure your success.

The next step to getting certified is to sit for and pass the exam. You will schedule your exam date once your application has been accepted. Exams are offered in January, June, and October each year. Be sure to note that date on your calendar and give yourself plenty of time to study. Don’t try to cram at the last minute!

Once you’ve passed the exam, you’ll receive a certificate and a wallet-sized card. You will also be legally allowed to list your Medical Assistant certification on your résumé and when you apply for jobs. While you are studying for the exam, you can indicate to potential employers that you are scheduled to take the exam on a specific date, so that they will know you will be certified in the near future.

Note that you will be required to refresh your certification every 60 months (5 years) through a re-certification exam or through continuing education credits.

In addition to Medical Assistant certification, graduates from the MIPB Medical Assistant program are eligible to sit for the National Certified Medical Assistant Exam for these other certifications:

Phlebotomy (Certified Phlebotomy Technician)

EKG (Certified EKG Technician)

Obtaining certification to be a Medical Assistant will put you a step above other candidates on the job market. CMAs have greater chances at advancing to management positions and earning higher salaries than non-certified MAs and are more attractive to potential employers in the current highly competitive job market. Medical Institute of Palm Beach is an excellent option for those who are considering a career in the medical field. MIPB is an accredited school offering day and evening classes for medical assistants. Please contact us to get details about the program. Start your Medical Assistant career today!