A medical assistant is best described as a health provider who supports doctors and other health professionals by performing clinical and administrative tasks for them.
Assistants typically hold various certifications, the most common of which being a medical assistant diploma. Medical assistants are expected to perform routine tasks and procedures including record keeping, collection and/or preparation of fluids and tissue specimens, continued measurement of patients’ vital signs, and administration of injections and certain medications.
To become a medical assistant, you will usually need to have a certification from a recognized institution. Registration may vary from one country to another, but a medical assistant diploma is nearly always a preference. If you are interested in getting certified in the United States, you will have to follow a well-worn process. Learning this process will help you understand what you need to do in order to achieve medical assistant certification, and how it can impact your medical assistant resume.
In the United States, four major institutions are responsible for giving out medical assistant certification without a medical assistant diploma. It is important to get a medical assistant certification as a good number of employers will require you to have it before they choose to hire you. This means at the very least you will need to have passed one medical assistant certification test from any of the four major institutions. Though it is a voluntary process, it is something that the AAMA (American Association of Medical Assistants) backs up and gets behind one hundred percent.
Other institutions like the National Board of Medical Examiners, which offers a medical assistant certification test, can be used for you to gain certification. For this you will need to take the CMA Certification Examination which is offered by AAMA. To take this medical assistant certification test, you can visit any nearby computer-based testing center to apply. Please note that you cannot take the CMA (AAMA) certification examination if you haven’t done either an ABHES or CAAHEP accredited medical assisting program in the past.
Once you have successfully completed the CMA (AAMA) certification examination, you will receive your credential. You can add this credential to your medical assistant resume when you apply for jobs. It will show an employer you have a medical assistant certification, which will in turn give you a higher chance of landing the position you are looking towards getting.
To maintain your credential, you must redo the medical assistant certification test after five years. Often it is better for you if you have continued your education as it will give you a higher medical assistant certification at the end. However, if you have not continued with your studies and do not have a medical assistant diploma, you can still do the medical assistant certification test to earn a re-certification and prove your competence. Note that some organizations might have the same initials like CMA. The initials in capital letters are copyrighted and you should watch out inaccurate representations so to avoid confusion. And although they sound similar, AAMA and AMA are not part of the same organization. AMA is the American Med Association.
If you have finished your medical assistant classes, you may choose to use another credential in order to do the medical assistant certification test. This involves being a RMA (Registered Medical Assistant). Getting the credential is voluntary, but you need to have completed your medical assistant classes based on the American Medical Technologies (AMT) agency. AMT started this certification in 1972 and since then it has had its own officers, conventions, bylaws and revalidation programs.
There are two main ways a student can get the RMA. Firstly, the student needs to have completed their medical assistant classes successfully at an institution that is accredited by CAAHEP or ABHES. Secondly, they need to have at least five years experience as a medical assistant. Once this medical certification test has been passed, the initials ‘RMA’ will follow your name. This can be used as a way to add value and social proof to your medical assistant resume.
In the United States, another organization that has been growing fast while offering medical assistant certification is the NHA (National Healthcareer Association). NHA has certified over 200,000 individuals in different health care professions including holders of a medical assistant diploma. It offers a medical assistant certification test that splits certification in two categories; administrative and clinical. In fact, it is the only organization that offers medical assistant certification in this way. The medical assistant certification test for administrative category is CMAA (Certified Medical Administrative Assistant) and clinical is CCMA (Certified Clinical Medical Assistant). Either certification will have a positive impact on your medical assistant resume.
A highly qualified medical assistant might want to look into another form of medical assistant certification. NCCT (National Center for Competency Testing) is an organization that can test such individuals as it has incredibly stringent testing methods. It starts by checking the background of the individual, include their education. Records of missed medical assistant classes and other irregularities can be cause for disqualification. Once the candidate has been deemed fit and the have passed the test, they get a National Certified Medical Assistant (NCMA) certification. NCCT was incorporated in 1989 and having its credential in a medical assistant resume can increase the chances of you being hired tenfold. Some similar organizations tend to offer medical assistant certification for life, however, NCCT uses a process where the interested party must maintain medical assistant classes with a minimum of 14 hours (continuously) on an annual basis to maintain certification.
Before any of these certifications can be given, you need to attend medical assistant classes. A candidate who has had poor medical assistant classes participation will have a higher chance of failing to get a medical assistant diploma, which in turn will give them a poor medical assistant resume due to their lack of certification. For this reason, be sure to always attend your medical assistant classes, especially if you are looking to achieve a medical assistant diploma.
A medical assistant diploma can be achieved from various institutions. Despite this, they will all have different requirements in regards to participation of the medical assistant classes offered. Those with many medical assistant classes and lab durations have a higher chance of providing an approved and recognized medical assistant diploma.
Since medical assistants are required to work under a specific health professional, their medical assistant resume needs to consist of several things. First of all, your medical assistant resume should specify your level of education. Those without a medical assistant diploma should not be discouraged to apply. As long as you passed your exams and include this in your medical assistant resume, you should be fine.
You are also encouraged to include other achievements in your medical assistant resume, such as voluntary work and exemplary performance in school.