What Is a Certified Medical Assistant? [P2]

CareerPracticeTests.com – The Certified Medical Assistant credential designates a medical assistant who has achieved certification through the Certifying Board of the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA).

The CMA (AAMA) has been educated and tested in a wide scope of general, clinical, and administrative responsibilities as outlined in the Occupational Analysis of the CMA (AAMA).

What Is a Certified Medical Assistant?

What Is a Certified Medical Assistant?. Image: mcfattertech

As discussed in the previous part of this article, in this part we would like to continue to introduce to you the information about Certified Medical Assistant, such as: Nature of the Work, CMAin Demand, CMA Education and Training…

Nature of the Work

A typical day in the life of a Certified Medical Assistant is anything but boring. Most assistants work a standard 40-hour week and enjoy a well-lighted, clean environment with a professional staff. Some assistants may be required to work part-time, weekends, or evenings, though this is uncommon.

Since the daily tasks of a Certified Medical Assistant are broad and can vary from day to day, the work is seldom boring. Typically, during the course of a day the assistant may schedule appointments, answer telephones, and prepare treatment rooms for patient care and examinations. This may include cleaning and sterilizing instruments and disposing of contaminated materials. Daily duties of the medical assistant will also likely include recording medical information and test results, conducting patient interviews, taking and recording vital signs, collecting specimens, and administering medication under physician supervision.

Although these are some of the most common tasks of a Certified Medical Assistant, it depends largely upon their location and job description. There will likely be administrative tasks such as arranging for laboratory tests and hospital admissions or filling out insurance forms. In addition, there will be clinical duties such as changing wound dressings, preparing patients for x-rays and procedures, explaining treatment plans, and more.

Certified Medical Assistant in Demand

Many factors combine to create a driving force for an increased demand for medical assistants who have current CMA (AAMA) certification:

  • Legal perils
  • Managed care pressures
  • State and federal laws (e.g., OSHA and CLIA)
  • Qualification for entering orders for the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Program
  • Private sector bodies (e.g., Joint Commission and NCQA)

Certified Medical Assistant Education and Training

Certified Medical Assistant Education

Although some people have entered medical assisting with no more than a high school diploma, the field has evolved so much that most employers are looking for candidates with formal training from a quality medical assisting program. This involves a one-year certificate program or a two-year associate’s degree program from a properly accredited school.

Training programs are available through a number of accredited online and physical institutions. Regardless of the learning format you choose, you will learn lab techniques, medical terminology, clinical procedures, and medical office procedures. If you get your training through a post-secondary college, you will likely have a two-part training that includes office and medical training. This will include courses listed above as well as keyboarding, insurance processing, accounting, and record-keeping procedures. Some programs may also include ethics, patient relations, and medical law classes.

The CMA (AAMA) is the only medical assisting certification that requires graduation from a postsecondary medical assisting program accredited by an accrediting body recognized by the United States Department of Education (USDE) or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).

Only graduates of medical assisting programs accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) are eligible to take the CMA (AAMA) Certification Examination.

Graduates receive administrative and clinical training in a variety of areas, including, but not limited to, the following:

  • 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

This allows students to get some real-world, hands-on experience in the field before entering the workforce.

Certified Medical Assistant Training

Students also must complete a practicum (i.e., an unpaid, supervised on-site work experience in an ambulatory health care setting) as part of the program.

Certified Medical Assistants enjoy a professional working environment, a challenging and stimulating workday, and a lucrative salary that averages $42,000 a year. In many cases, they also enjoy numerous employment benefits such as insurance, vacation pay, and more. This career has it all for those who choose it.

Certified Medical Assistant Certification

The National Board of Medical Examiners—responsible for many national examinations for physicians, including the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE)—serves as test consultant for the CMA (AAMA) Certification/Recertification Examination. As a result, the reliability and validity of the CMA (AAMA) credential are of the highest order.

The CMA (AAMA) Certification Examination is a rigorous exam that requires a thorough, broad, and current understanding of health care delivery as evidenced by the CMA (AAMA) Certification/Recertification Examination Content Outline. The exam consists of 200 multiple-choice questions administered in four 40-minute segments.

See About the Exam for more information.

CMA (AAMA) Recertification

CMA (AAMA) Status:  All CMAs (AAMA) must have current status to use the credential, including for qualifying to enter orders for the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Program.

CMA (AAMA) status is a matter of public record and may be released. See Verify CMA (AAMA) Status or call the AAMA at 800/228-2262 for certification status.

Recertification Requirements:  The CMA (AAMA) credential must be recertified every 60 months by examination or continuing education.

Continuing Education Requirements:  A minimum number of points in the general, administrative, and clinical areas of medical assisting are required to recertify by continuing education.

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