CMAA Certification

Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) certification is required by relatively few employers, so it’s only advisable to pursue it if your prospective employer specifically requires it. It’s offered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA), and it’ll remain active for two years after you pass the CMAA certification exam.

What CMAA Certification Means

Unlike many other certifications, CMAA certification focuses particularly on office administration training, rather than on all areas of the medical assistant profession. Some employers in your area may be looking for medical assistants who’ve trained especially in areas of the job related to billing, insurance, bookkeeping and office upkeep; and CMA certification may make you an ideal candidate for these jobs. Still, the majority of medical assistant positions require training and/or experience both in office tasks and in basic medical procedures, which means a CMAA certification on its own may leave you underqualified even for some entry-level medical assistant jobs. Thus, it’s only worthwhile it to pursue this certification if your prospective employer is particularly interested in it.

About the CMAA Certification Exam

The exam consists of 100 multiple-choice questions, grouped into three content areas. You’ll have one hour and 45 minutes to complete the exam. The first content area is Office Procedures, which covers topics like greeting patients, scheduling appointments, processing mail and financial documents, answering phone calls and taking messages, taking dictation, proofreading, and maintaining patient records. The second content area, Financial Procedures, covers topics like checking financial documents, processing transactions, preparing and distributing bills, following up on unpaid invoices, and ordering supplies. The third content area, Risk Management, covers topics like maintaining files on team members, preparing and filing reports, training new employees, ensuring compliance with state and federal regulations, and participating in audits. The exam can be taken with pen and paper, online, or in PSI/Lasergrade format. All these formats are only offered at testing centers, which means you won’t be able to take the exam from home.

Requirements and Costs to Take the CMAA Certification Exam

To take the CCMA certification exam, you’ll need to have at least a high school diploma, a GED, or another accepted equivalent. You’ll also need to have completed a medical assistant training program or have one year of work experience in the field. If you’re in a training program, you can take the exam up to 12 months prior to graduation. The exam costs $105.

Applying to Take the CMAA Certification Exam

The NHA’s website offers an online registration form. You’ll start by providing your personal information, and then you’ll get a prompt to provide documentation of your eligibility to take the exam. Depending on your situation, you may have the option to choose between a pen-and-paper exam, an online exam at a testing center, or a PSI/Lasergrade exam at one of about 550 PSI/Lasergrade centers throughout the U.S. Once you’ve paid in full, you’ll receive a confirmation. You should get email instructions on appearing for your exam within the next few weeks.

Preparing for the CMAA Certification Exam

Quite a bit of the material on the CMAA exam will have already been covered in your preparatory courses, so be sure to study your lecture notes, tests and textbooks. You’ll also find it helpful to review with some study resources designed around the format of the CMAA exam. The Certified Medical Assistant Exam Secrets Study Guide is one excellent resource, and Kinn’s The Medical Assistant Study Guide and Procedure Checklist Manual Package also covers all content areas in depth. These resources both include some study guides and sample tests.

Keeping Your CMAA Certification Active

The NHA requires anyone who’s earned a CMAA certification to keep it current by earning at least ten continuing education (CE) credits every two years. You can earn these credits from the NHA’s online Continuing Education Program, which offers two plan options: Option one is to purchase a package of five class credits, which are good for one year, for $79.50; option two is to purchase a package of ten class credits, which are good for two years, for $159. Each CE course can help you add on to your existing knowledge base, which may qualify you for better jobs.