Medical Assistant Certification – What You Should Know

Would you like to get your medical assistant certification?

Becoming a Medical Assistant is a great career choice for someone entering the job market today.  Not only is it a great way to help others, but it is a job that is in high demand, meaning that you will almost be guaranteed a job once you have the qualifications necessary.

So what exactly does it take to become a Medical Assistant?  While it is not absolutely necessary to have any education beyond a high school diploma in order to take a job as a Medical Assistant, most doctors offices and hospitals prefer that those applying for the position be Certified Medical Assistants, meaning that they have not only taken, but passed the AAMA CMA Certification Exam.

Why is Medical Assistant Certification So Important?

To obtain one’s medical assistant certification is important for two specific reasons.  First, it helps you to be able to do the job you were hired to do without as much on-the-job training as a non certified person would need (a great benefit from an employer’s view) but it also shows potential employers that you are serious about your desire to be a Medical Assistant; that this isn’t just some passing fancy and that you won’t be moving on to some other job as soon as the opportunity presents itself.

How Do You Prepare for and Achieve Certification?

A medical assistant becomes certified by taking and passing the AAMA CMA Certification Exam with an acceptable score.  However, since the exam costs money to take, most people opt to go through some sort of training program before they sit for the exam.  Anyone who has looked into it will know that there are study-at-home guides that are advertised as being helpful for someone who either has knowledge of the medical field, or who has worked in the field before and doesn’t need the hands on training.

Before you use these, however, keep in mind that you cannot sit for the AAMA CMA Certification Exam without proof of having passed a hands-on Medical Assistant Training Program.

If you opt for the hands-on training (which you will need if you are going to take the exam) there are a good number of institutions that are prepared to help you obtain the knowledge and achieve the confidence necessary to pass the test with flying colors.  Most of the programs offered by these institutions take between six months to a year to complete and focus on helping you to pass the AAMA CMA Certification Exam.

Being that these are certification programs (and not full-fledged college degrees) they usually cost a great deal less than college degrees that cover the same area of study, and they take at least a year less time to get through than even the Associate Degree programs in Medical Assisting.  The main purpose of these training programs is to get you ready to pass the medical assistant certification exam, not to get a degree or earn college credit.

What do the Certification Training Programs Cover?

When you take a hands-on Medical Assistant Certification Training program, you are going to get hands-on experience in a wide variety of areas including (but not limited to):

  • medical filing techniques
  • medical billing and coding procedures
  • patient treatment procedures
  • how to give medications
  • how to give shots
  • how to draw blood
  • how to take vital signs

You will also learn a variety of organizational and practical skills that will help you not only to pass the exam so that you can become a Certified Medical Assistant (CMA), but that will prepare you for your new job and all of the challenges that it can bring.

How Much Does a Certification Training Program Cost?

The cost of a certification program that prepares you for taking (and hopefully passing) your certification exam can vary depending on the school or institution through which you take your training.

Generally speaking, taking the training from a regular college or university is going to be more expensive than through an institution that offers certificate program training, primarily because the college or university is going to charge you their set tuition fee, and may tack on a variety of fees (as they do with most new college students), and which can significantly add to the cost of your course.

How Much Does it Cost to Take the Certification Exam?

It does cost money to take the Medical Assistant Certification Exam, but the cost is reasonable and not out of reach for the average student.  If you are a member of the AAMA or if you are a student who has completed a CAAHEP or ABHES approved training course, or you are a recent graduate, you only have to pay $125.

If you are not a member (or qualifying student) your exam sitting fee is $250.

While $250 is not a whole lot of money (in the general scheme of things), chances are that it is more than you want to just throw around, so you can see why studying for the exam is so important.  If you don’t pass, you have to take the exam again, and that would cost you another $250.

Goal: strive to pass the medical assistant certification exam the first time around!

What is the AAMA CMA Certification Exam Like?

The AAMA CMA Certification Exam is computerized.  There are 200 multiple-choice questions on the exam that cover all aspects of the Medical Assisting field and most of the things you will have learned in your training program.  The exam allows for 160 minutes (broken into four, forty second sections), and once your time is up, you cannot answer any further questions.

This concept of timing the test makes many people nervous, especially when they know that there is $250 riding on the outcome of their exam.  But with careful preparation and concentration, those who have applied themselves will have no problem.

Are You Ready to Get your Medical Assistant Certification?

Let’s face it, getting your medical assistant certification can take a good deal of preparation, as well as dedication and commitment, but you can consider it good practice, for if you have the patience to go through all the steps you need to complete in order to become a Certified Medical Assistant, the chances are that you will be committed to your chosen career and will put your very best into the job that you have chosen.

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