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Education Reference Desk | Online Education Resources for Students and Teachers

Getting Certified by the AAMA

The AAMA stands for the American Association of Medical Assistants.

The benefits of joining the AAMA and getting your certification include:

  • Added professional edge
  • Career Advancement
  • Higher Pay
  • Job Security
  • Networking
  • Self-Satisfaction

The AAMA offers a CMA credential, Certified Medical Assistant, to those who meet various requirements that ensure the highest skill set and knowledge of medical assistance. In order to receive the credential one must enroll in and complete a medical assisting program that is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES).

While enrolled in the program, perspective medical assistants will receive clinical training in areas such as:

  • Human anatomy, physiology, and pathology
  • Medical terminology
  • Keyboarding and computer applications
  • Recordkeeping and accounting
  • Coding and insurance processing
  • Laboratory techniques
  • Clinical and diagnostic procedures
  • Pharmacology
  • Medication administration
  • First aid
  • Office practices
  • Patient relations
  • Medical law and ethics

The exam

Upon graduating from the program, CMA applicants must pass the certification exam. When registering for the exam you will list yourself as one of the following: a recent graduate, non-recent graduate, or recertificant. For recent graduates the cost of the exam is only $125. All other candiates must pay a $250 nonrefundable fee.

Recent graduates need to verify the completion of their program and practicum by their program director in order to receive their score. As for non-recent graduates, an official transcript is necessary. Reapplicants need only provide their CMA certificate number given to them.

The test can be taken at a Prometric testing center throughout the year. Once you apply for a testing period start date and are awarded a date, you have 90 days to take the exam. The application dates are available online through AAMA.

The exam is computerized and consists of 200 multiple-choice questions that range from medical terminology and anatomy to professionalism and communication. A more complete list is available through the AAMA. The test is composed of four 40-minute segments. There is an optional 20 minute break between segments. You have 160 minutes to answer all questions to the best of your ability.

Important things to note about your CMA credential

  1. You must take the certification exam no more than 30 days prior to completing your formal education, including practicum.
  2. Those who have committed a felony are not eligible to take the exam unless they request a waiver form.
  3. You must maintain your credential by renewing it every 60 months.
  4. To renew your credential you must stay up to date on the latest developments in the health care field.
  5. As part of AAMA, you will participate in continuing education workshops, read cutting edge texts, and build your network of health care professionals.