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How Do You Become a Certified Medical Assistant?

Interested in becoming a certified medical assistant but not sure the correct path to take? You are not alone. There are a few paths to becoming a certified medical assistant, but one way maybe less time consuming than others.

How Do I Become a Certified Medical Assistant?

An easy way to become a certified medical assistant is by attending a vocational school. Not only will you prepare for an entry-level position as a medical assistant, but you will also prepare for certifications in your field. After graduation, you can apply for a certification from various highly regarded associations in the allied health industry. They include the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA), National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT) and American Medical Technologists (AMT).

What Certifications Are Offered to Medical Assistants?

Medical assistants are eligible for several certifications, but some are more widely recognized. Each certification has a minimum number of lecture hours and externship experience.

Certified Medical Assistant (CMA)

The CMA certificate is offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants. The exam evaluates your knowledge and skills as a medical assistant including:

  • Medical terminology.
  • Anatomy and physiology.
  • Healthcare software and computer applications.
  • Billing and coding practices.
  • Health insurance models.
  • Laboratory techniques.
  • Office procedures.
  • Patient safety and privacy.
  • Recordkeeping protocols.
  • Medical law and ethics.
  • Customer care principles.

Nationally Certified Medical Assistant (NCMA)

The National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT) is another reputable certifying agency that evaluates medical assistants. You need a vocational school diploma or two years of full-time experience to sit for the exam. Subjects include:

  • Anatomy and physiology.
  • Diagnostic testing.
  • Laboratory procedures.
  • Scheduling and resource management.
  • Billing and insurance practices.
  • Healthcare law including patient privacy.
  • Workplace safety and risk management.

American Medical Technologists (AMT)

AMT is a non-profit association of allied health professionals. AMT not only offers certification but also supports its members competencies, allows them to learn and grow, and helps sustain quality in the workplace. Students that pass the AMT certification are designated Registered Medical Assistants (RMA).

To take this certification exam, applicants must have at least 720 hours of instruction that includes at least 160 hours of externship. Hunter Business School prepares AMT candidates with the necessary instruction and externship to prepare for the certification exam. The following categories on the certification exam include:

  • Anatomy and physiology.
  • Administrative medical assisting.
  • Clinical medical assisting.
  • Clinical patient interaction.

How Do Vocational Schools Prepare Students for Certification?

One way to prepare for the certification exam and meet the minimum requirements to apply is by attending a vocational school’s medical assisting program. The program at Hunter Business School is a 910-hour program that can be completed in as little as 7 ½ months, attending full-time. Those that require part-time enrollment can complete the program in as little as 15 months while attending in the evening. The courses offered within the medical assisting program include:

  • Asepsis and assisting with minor surgery
  • Pharmacology
  • Communication and Human Relations
  • Urinalysis and Microbiology
  • Keyboarding with Microsoft Word
  • Phlebotomy and Laboratory Procedures I
  • Anatomy and Physiology I with Medical Terminology
  • Phlebotomy and Laboratory Procedures II and CPR
  • Anatomy and Physiology II with Medical Terminology
  • Clinical Skills
  • Electrocardiography and Cardiac Testing
  • Computerized Billing and EMR
  • Certification Review with Career Development
  • Externship

What Are the Benefits of Certification?

There are many benefits of certification. From self-confidence to the demonstration of proven skills, a certification can help you grow within your career and set you apart from your competition when applying for a job.

Benefit: #1: Builds Self-Confidence

A great benefit of medical assisting certification is building your self-confidence to perform better at your job, while building trust with colleagues and patients alike. A patient can tell when you are hesitant, so confidence is important to calm patients during exams and minor surgical procedures.

Benefit: #2: Demonstrates Proven Skills

If you have already worked in the field, then some associations may allow you to use your previous work experience to prove your skills. For those that are just starting out as medical assistants, education can prove your proficiency in the skills needed to succeed as a medical assistant. And there is no better way to prove your skills than by passing a certification exam. A medical assistant certification exam tests your knowledge of medical assisting, your ability to support medical facility staff, and the health outcomes of patients in your care.

Benefit: #3: Fewer On the Job Training

Employers look for medical assistant candidates that have certification because they know that fewer resources will be needed for on-the-job training. The candidate will already have passed both a vocational program and certification exam, with the skills to start working on day one.

Benefit: #4: Enhances Professional Growth and Development

Most medical assistants that want to advance in their career should achieved certification. Whether you want to become the medical office manager or move into a medical specialty, certification can prove your commitment to both medical assisting and the continuous learning that employers are looking for in senior level positions.

Why Should You Become a Certified Medical Assistant?

Interested in becoming a certified medical assistant but not sure if it is the right career path for you. There are many reasons you should become a certified medical assistant. They include:

Job Security

Did you know that medical assisting jobs are projected to grow 18 percent in the coming decade? The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects hundreds of thousands of new opportunities in medical assisting. With the retirement of baby boomers and the increase in technology that is allowing humans to have a longer lifespan, more medical professionals will be needed to serve all these patients. Medical assistants are the liaisons between physicians and patients and will play an even more significant role in the medical field moving forward.

A Team Environment

Don’t want to sit at a desk in a cubicle? Becoming a medical assistant is collaborative, as you work in a team environment. The medical professionals you work with will have the same compassion and empathy that you have for your patients. You will support physicians and nurses, allowing them to attend to more patients. This teamwork will improve health outcomes and allow you be a beacon for your community to admire.

Personal Fulfillment

Nothing is more rewarding than seeing your patients thrive. As a medical assistant in a physician’s office, you will become familiar with your patients and see them grow over the years. Making sure they stay healthy and educating them on proper health care will bring great pride and motivation to attend work every day, knowing that you are helping others in the process.

A Positive Work-Life Balance

Most medical assistants that work in doctor’s offices work a set schedule. Medical assistants work when doctor’s offices are open allowing them to enjoy life outside work. Whether you have responsibilities outside of work or a hobby that you enjoy, working as a medical assistant offers a fulfilling career and time to enjoy life.

Professional Respect

Colleagues will look up to you when they know you have a certification in medical assisting. You will also be a member of a prestigious association that holds members to the highest of standards.

Final Thoughts

Are you ready to start working as a medical assistant and prepare for certification? Hunter Business School can help. We hire industry experienced instructors, offer small class sizes and career services that will help you find a job you are passionate about. Start working in a rewarding career as a medical assistant and help others at the same time. It’s a win-win.

Ready for a new career in the medical assisting field? The Medical Assistant program at Hunter Business School prepares competent, entry-level medical assistants in the cognitive (knowledge), psychomotor (skills), and affective (behavior) learning domains required for professional practice. The Medical Assistant program provides hands-on experience in a real medical setting where you can foster professional relationships with actual patients. Medical Assistant students spend 160 hours in an externship in an actual medical environment where they are supervised and taught in order to gain valuable on-the-job training.

Contact us today to find out more on how to become a medical assistant on Long Island.