Complete Guide to Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) by NHA

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How to Become a Certified Clinical Medical Assistant?

A clinical medical assistant (CCMA) is responsible primarily for clinical tasks in a healthcare facility. To become a medical assistant, candidates must enroll themselves in a postsecondary medical assisting training program or must have on-the-job training from a recognized physician/healthcare facility.

Certification is not essentially required to get employed as a medical assistant, but the chances of getting hired by the employer are higher if you are certified. Thus many MAs opt to get certified. CCMA is a nationally acknowledged certification accredited by the National Healthcare Association (NHA). To become a CCMA, the candidate must take the certification exam and pass the exam.

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What is a Clinical Medical Assistant?

A CCMA is a medical assistant who is certified by the National Healthcare Association to become a certified clinical assistant. A medical assistant has to take care of both administrative and clinical duties, whereas clinical medical assistants are more focused on clinical tasks assigned to them. Taking vital signs of the patient, recording medical histories, preparing and cleaning clinical rooms, sterilizing clinical instruments, drawing blood and collecting urine samples are some of the job duties a clinical medical assistant is responsible for.

How to Get Certified?

To get certified as a clinical assistant, the candidate must check all the eligibility requirements, which are mainly to have successfully completed a medical assisting training program within 5 years and to be a high school graduate. If the candidates are eligible, they should apply for the CCMA exam authorized by NHA and pay the registration and certification fees. After taking and passing the certification exam, a medical assistant will become a certified clinical medical assistant.

5 Benefits of Being a Clinical Medical Assistant

  1. Certify to get a high rise: Becoming a certified medical assistant will get you qualified to perform specific tasks and procedures, which will eventually make more employers hire you. With better qualifications, you will get better pay as being certified makes you eligible for various tasks.
  2. More job postings: According to the S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for medical assistants will increase 16% from 2021 to 2031, which will lead to more job opportunities for MAs.
  3. Makes you stand out: CCMA by NHA is a nationally accredited certification, thus getting this credential will help you stand out from the crowd as many employers prefer a recognized and valid certification.
  4. Elevated job roles: More employers are hiring medical assistants for different career opportunities and high job profiles. Some elevated positions offered are health coach, scribe, patient navigator, and patient care coordinator. This aspect provides a wide range of job roles to choose from as per your convenience and flexibility.
  5. Specialized duties: Those who wanted to work in the medical field and perform clinical duties, CCMA is the job for you. Clinical medical assistants specialize in clinical tasks and work alongside physicians. They don’t need to do administrative tasks such as filing paperwork, recording medical histories, etc.

What are the Education and Training Requirements?

Education: The educational qualifications that are required to be eligible for applying for the CCMA exam are to have a high school diploma or the equivalent, such as GED test, and to have completed a medical assisting training program within the last 5 years by a state-recognized institute accredited by a valid board.

On Job Training: Candidate who has not completed a medical assisting training program but has at least 1 year of work experience in the health field covered by the NHA certification exam within the last 3 years is eligible for taking the CCMA certification exam.

Certification Exam: The certified clinical medical exam is provided by NHA, which is accredited by the National Commission of Certifying Agencies (NCCA). To get the credential, you must be a registered candidate in NHA. The candidate must also agree to all the attestations.

Ideal Candidate of Being a Clinical Medical Assistant

A clinical medical assistant is assigned the clinical duties in a healthcare facility. Clinical medical assistants have to deal with assessing private information of patients, so an ideal clinical medical assistant must be careful and respectful when collecting and processing one’s private information. A clinical medical assistant must also know the medical terminologies to grasp and understand the physician’s directions.

Skills Required to Become a Clinical Medical Assistant

The job profile of a CCMA consists mainly of dealing with patients directly. They also assist physicians during minor surgeries and other treatments. Here are some skills required to become an excellent clinical medical assistant:

  1. A CCMA should be empathetic, compassionate, and friendly as a large part of their job requires dealing with critically ill patients who need support in these tough times.
  2. To be a good clinical medical assistant, you should be a great communicator and listener to understand physician’s orders. Efficient communication with patients regarding their health problems and treatment is also essential.
  3. You have to be always ready because a severe crisis can come at any time, and you may have to multitask while not panicking in such a situation.
  4. A clinical medical assistant has to handle medical equipment such as EKG machines on a daily basis, so you must know how to use these instruments properly.

Job Duties of a Clinical Medical Assistant

A certified clinical assistant is mainly responsible for clinical job duties, whereas this may vary according to job profiles and work environment. Some clinical MAs might also have to do certain administrative tasks. The following are some job duties of a CCMA:

  • To record vital signs such as height and weight of patients
  • Change wound dressings and administer medications
  • Draw blood and collect laboratory specimens such as blood and urine samples
  • Sterilize clinical instruments and equipment
  • Explain treatments and procedures to patients
  • Perform basic laboratory tests and prepare medical rooms

Career Trends

Clinical medical assistants work in healthcare centers to provide their services. They are often assigned to clinical tasks, but some may do administrative tasks as well. CCMAs can choose their area of specialization, which particularly means to work for specific healthcare professionals. The job duties may vary accordingly. The main career specializations for clinical medical assistants are podiatry, ophthalmology, chiropractic, gynaecology/obstetrics, pediatric, and cardiology.

How Much do Clinical Medical Assistants Make?

Occupation Employment Hourly mean wage Annual mean wage
Offices of Physicians 421,960 $18.08 $37,610
Offices of Chiropractors 28,730 $15.76 $32,781
Offices of optometrists 12,430 $16.23 $33,760
Offices of other health professions 15,240 $17.04 $35,450
Hospitals (state, government, private) 111,130 $19.00 $39,420

Source: BLS (as of May 2022)

Recertification Requirements

The CCMA certification has to be renewed every two years. To recertify your credential, you must complete at least 10 continuing education credits. To renew the certification, you will have to pay a recertification fee of $179.

Clinical Medical Assistant Specializations

A certified clinical medical assistant can specialize in a particular work setting as per their convenience and interest. There are mainly 6 CCMA specializations:

  1. Podiatry Medical Assistant: A CCMA working in the podiatry sector will have to deal with patients suffering from injuries and medical conditions of feet. They may have to assist physicians in surgeries, trim nails of the patient, and give them proper medications.
  2. EKG/Cardiology Medical Assistant: In this work setting, a CCMA will have to work for patients going through clinical conditions of the cardiovascular system. They will assist the physicians by performing Electrocardiography.
  3. Chiropractic Medical Assistant: Chiropractors work for the betterment of the human body. They help resolve muscle and ligament issues and repair body aches. A medical assistant working under a chiropractor will have to assist during treatments and record medical histories.
  4. Gynaecology/Obstetrics: This health sector deals with women’s health issues such as obstetrics, pregnancy, and childbirth. An MA working with gynaecologists and obstetricians will have to do breast exams, assist in surgeries, and take care of pregnant women.
  5. Ophthalmology Medical Assistant: Ophthalmologists take care of the clinical matter of the eyes. A medical assistant working here will have to assist physicians in eye surgeries. They will have to give and explain proper eye medications to the patients.
  6. Paediatric Medical Assistant: Paediatricians specialize in treating infants and teenagers. While working in a paediatric facility, you will have to deal with children, give them vaccinations, record vital signs, etc.
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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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