What are the Different Types of Medical Assistant Certifications

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If you have made your mind to pursue a career as a medical assistant, you must know that there are various types of medical assistants who perform clinical, administrative, and other duties, based on their areas of specialization. You can choose the specialty that interests you the most.

The profession of a medical assistant is an intriguing one, and it is undoubtedly growing faster in the healthcare industry. To work at better job positions, medical assistants are considering becoming certified medical assistants. These certifications allow medical assistants to do more professional and quality tasks.

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Types of Medical Assistant Certifications

Based on certifying bodies, here are the nationally approved certifications for medical assistants:

Certified Medical Assistant

Certified medical assistant (CMA) certification is approved and granted by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA).

Clinical Medical Assistant

Certified Clinical medical assistant (CCMA) is a credential accredited by the National Healthcare Association (NHA).

Registered Medical Assistant

Registered medical assistant (RMA) certification is granted by the American Medical Technologists (AMT).

Nationally Registered Certified Medical Assistant

Nationally registered certified medical assistant (NRCMA) is a NAHP (the National Association for Health Professionals) accredited certification.

National Certified Medical Assistant

The national certified medical assistant (NCMA) is a certification accredited by the National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT).

Certified Medical Administrative Assistant

The certified administrative medical assistant (CMAA) credential is approved by NHA. These medical assistants are also called medical office assistants.

Below is a table segregating different certification exams on the basis of eligibility, exam questions, recertification requirements, exam fee, and recertification fees. These exams are provided by the above-mentioned certification bodies/organizations:

(CMA)  (RMA)  (NCMA)  (CCMA)  (CMAA)
Eligibility Graduation from an MA program that is accredited by either CAAHEP or ABHES


Graduation (within the last 4 years) from an MA program Graduation (in the past 10 years) from an MA program authorized by the NCCT  High school graduation and should have successfully completed an MA program  High school diploma and should have completed a medical administrative assistant program
Exam Questions 200 questions 210 questions 150 questions 200 questions 100 questions
Recertification Requirements Every 60 months Every 3 years Every year Every 2 years Every 2 years
Exam Fee $125-250 $100-120 $90-135 $150-160 $105-160
Recertification Fee $115-180 $205 $77 $169 $169

5 Benefits of being Certified

Being a medical assistant means excelling in both clinical and administrative duties. One moment they are accounting records, and at the other moment, they are performing medical procedures or drawing blood from the patient’s body. They thrive so that doctors and patients can live efficient life. Here are some benefits of becoming a certified medical assistant:

  • Being able to work in any state: Rather than being licensed to work in one state, getting certified by a board that is recognized across the country can ensure MAs to work in any state in the USA.
  • Insurance benefits: Certified medical assistants get benefited from health insurance (covering dental) provided by their respective employers. They also get AAMA membership with dues being paid by the employers.
  • Securing higher pay: As the demand for certified medical assistants is increasing and because there are more non-certified medical assistants than certified ones, employers are offering higher pay in comparison to the non-certified MAs.
  • Getting you more competent: Certified MAs are able to perform a wide range of duties and procedures, for which you must be credentialed. Keeping this in mind, you become more flexible and competent in the eyes of employers and patients.
  • A safe bet for employers: Cost-conscious healthcare facilities may prefer certified medical assistants as they are able to operate some specific procedures which non-credentialed cannot operate. As state law demands only certified MAs to carry out specific clinical duties, employers are more likely to hire CMAs to maintain legal boundaries. The diverse clinical and administrative techniques also contribute to the chances of CMAs getting hired.

Who is the Ideal Candidate to Become Certified?

Medical assistants are basically responsible for filling the gaps in their respective work settings. They pay attention to small details so that everything runs smoothly. Here are some characteristics a certified MAs should inherit:

  • Given in the name, they assist their employers in making their lives more efficient. An ideal candidate should possess empathy and compassion, along with a passion for helping people.
  • To become certified, a candidate must ensure that this is the field they want to devote themselves to.
  • In the process of getting certified, medical assistants will get exposed to more advanced knowledge regarding the field and their skills will get brushed. Hence, MAs must have the knack and capability for learning and growing more.
  • An ideal candidate must be obedient and should maintain confidentiality in the matters of private information of patients they have accessed.

Written by : Casey Gardner

Casey Gardner is both a healthcare support professional and an accomplished content creator.  She has been working as a certified health care professional with marketable skills as a physician assistant,  and a qualified medical assistant for last two decades. She has dedicated her nursing career to produce over hundreds of content pieces since 2001, and her work has been published both online as well as offline.


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