Where To Obtain Your Medical Assistant Certification?

Medical assistant certification is available from (AAMA) or CMA (AAMA) and is a form of certification that is accredited by the Certifying board of the American Association of Medical Assistance. The certificate is awarded to eligible candidates who have passed an exam and who will need to be re-examined every sixty months in order for the medical assistant certification to remain current.

Categories For Medical Assistant Certification

Eligibility Category 1

Completing student or recent graduate of CAAHEP or ABHES medical assistant certification program

Eligibility Category 2

Non recent graduate of CAAHEP or ABHES medical assistant certification program

Eligibility Category 3

CMA (AAMA) recertification

There are many reasons why a medical assistant should register with a professional body. A few examples are as follows.

  • Employers are more likely to employ a certified assistant on legal grounds. This is due to increasing pressures resulting from successful lawsuits against the medical profession for malpractice. In other words it is a form of protection against legal claims for a potential employer.
  • Employers have recourse by way of legal protection and have access to advice and legal counsel from the certification for medical assistant bodies.
  • A certified assistant on average earns more than a non-certified assistant.
  • Re-certification ensures that the assistant is always current in terms of new developments on all levels.

General Description Of Medical Assistant Work Description And Purpose

Medical Assistant CertificationGenerally speaking medical assistants are trained professionals who provide doctors and other specialist care givers with health care assistance to clinical care tasks and also perform certain administrative and managerial tasks in the same field. In the case with the clinical aspect of the profession they would be involved with tasks such as blood taking, blood pressure and temperature measuring, checking of other vital signs, urine testing, screening, sample collections and other routine medical tasks. With the onset of the technological advances the demand for trained assistants has increased and continues to so as the health care profession grows and expands. Nowadays there are many routes and options open to people wanting to pursue a career as a medical assistant. Whichever direction they may choose to go in it is vitally important to get your medical assistant certification from AAMA.

Even though certification for medical assistants is voluntary more and more professional doctors and other specialists are demanding that their employees be registered with a professional body. Not only does it prove that a person is well trained but also shows a degree of competency that is acceptable to a recognized professional body. There are a number of bodies that offer accreditations such as AAMA (American Association of Medical Assistants), CMA (Certified Medical Assistants), AMT(American Medical Technologist agency) and NHA (National Healthcareer Association).

Most employers will accept certificates from the aforementioned agencies but it would be advisable for the person embarking on a specific career in a specific area to do a little bit of research in this regard before committing to any one form of certification for medical assistants. The medical profession as it exists today would not function without the medical assistants who form a very valuable and intricate part of the industry as a whole.

Work Possibilities Prospects For Certified Medical Assistants

The type of work related to this industry cannot be considered glamorous in any way, nor is it extremely well paid. It is better suited to those who have a passion for the health care industry and care giving in general. In terms of job availability it is a very good industry to be involved in with numerous job possibilities continually opening up. In other words, the services of medical assistants are in high demand. Predictions in 2006 indicated over half a million additional medical assistants would be employed in the following eight year period. It is pretty safe to assume that a reasonably well trained and dedicated individual should not have much difficulty finding employment in this field and the possibility for long term growth does exist.

What And Where To Study To Earn A Medical Assistant Certification

Most people wanting to create a career in this field opt to study at a vocational school or community college for two years to obtain an associate degree. There are also one year specialized medical assistant training courses. In both instances it is vital that the student choose an accredited educational facility.

The course work covers a range of subjects from medical subjects to medical administrative courses. A competency exam will be written on competition and a pass is required for certification with a regulatory board such as AAMA. Although the medical assistant certification is optional it is preferable as it opens up a wider range of work possibilities for the aspiring medical assistant.

Areas Of Employment For Medical assistants

The specific areas in which the medical assistant aspirant can find work are as numerous and as varied as the medical profession. There are possibilities within the private sector as well as with institutions and the government, in the private sector medical assistance is required by general medical doctors, dentist, orthodontists, pathologists, x-ray and many others. In the area of government and institutions similar openings exist but one can also work in areas such as care for the aged, drug abuse and rehabilitation, occupational therapy, specialist care and many more. This is a very diversified field and one is bound to find a particular area within the profession that is of interest to the individual.

Salary Expectation

Although not of the highest paying areas of expertise the salaries are relatively good and do increase with age, experience and area of expertise. Like with other professions, there are professional bodies that protect the rights of its members and for medical assistants a number of bodies exist.

Average Salary Based On Experience / Hourly Rate

Experience Hourly Pay
0-2 years $12.88
3-5 years $14.31
6-9 years $15.21
10-15 years $16.23
16 years + $17.58



Average salary Based On Experience / Hourly Rate For Full Time Employees

Experience Average Hourly Rate
0-2 years $24.88
3-5 years $27.91
6-9 years $30.12
10-15 years $32.53
16 years + $33.88


As can be seen from the above tables medical assistant salaries are higher as full time employees however 95 % of full time medical assistants surveyed are paid on an hourly basis and only 5 % of those surveyed received an annual salary. It is also clear from the tables that the number of years worked by assistants paid on an hourly rate is nowhere near as high as those with more full time experience. Location was another factor that appears to affect the salaries earned. The states that employed the least medical assistants paid the highest salaries. Hawaii has a population of about 2.780 medical assistants and paid an average of 32.18 USD per person compared to California which has a medical assistant population of about 76.920 and paid out an average of 14.89 USD per person. The salaries also varied according to the field and in this regard assistants working in substance abuse and psychiatric hospital earned a mean hourly salary of 22.32 USD per hour. Second highest earning by sector was the dental industry which indicated a mean hourly average of 17.27 USD per hour. These last two statistics were taken on a national survey and are indicative of salary scale related to the sector within the medical assistant field.

Average Salaries By Region / Average Hourly Rates For Annual Gross Income

Region Average Hourly Rate
NORTH EAST: New England $13.86 – $19.22
NORTH EAST: Middle Atlantic $13.35 – $17.89
MIDWEST: East North Central $12.42 – $17.04
MIDWEST: West North Central $13.57 – $17.94
SOUTH: South Atlantic $12.17 – $17.04
SOUTH: East South Central $11.39 – 15.71
SOUTH: West South Central $12.20 – $16.48
WEST: Mountain $12.33 – $18.13
WEST: Pacific $14.98 – $19.51


As can be seen from the above tables the rates do vary considerably depending on the regions but the overall figures are indicative of a pretty evenly remunerated industry.

Of all the assistants surveyed a figure of 62 % represented those who have a certificate or diploma as a medical assistant and around about 43 % hold associate degree in medical assistance. Of all registered assistants surveyed the majority worked as assistants in physicians offices. The figure is about 87 %. Around 6 % worked in hospitals or outpatient facilities and the remainder are determined as working for other.

Benefits For Certified Medical Assistants From Employers

Of the medical assistants surveyed 20 % indicated that their respective employers paid for all the medical assistant certification costs, 13 % received partial assistance and 7 % only had assistance from the employers in the form of board and lodging sponsorship for annual conferences and when exams needed to be written in out of town areas.

Rank And Orders Of Duties Related To Medical Assistant Employment

  • CLINICAL 72 %
  • MANAGEMENT (Clinical) 5 %
  • MANAGEMENT (Administrative) 4 %
  • OTHER 6 %

Medical Assistants Responsibilities

  • Outpatient history and vital signs 89 %
  • Assist with patient exams 83 %
  • Injections 73 %
  • EKG’s 53 %
  • Laboratory 50 %
  • Venipuncture 47 %
  • Other diagnostic testing 42 %
  • X-Rays 10%
  • Start IV’s 5 %
  • Infuse medication into IV lines 2 %
  • Not involved in clinical areas 5 %

Medical Assistants Involved With Administrative Responsibilities

  • Schedule patients appointments 72%
  • Medical records 52%
  • Reception 45%
  • Insurance, including coding 29%
  • Bookkeeping 14%
  • Not involved with administrative areas 16%

Medical Assistants Involved With Management Responsibilities

  • Purchasing of equipment and supplies 33%
  • Supervising of staff 12%
  • Hiring, evaluating or termination of staff 6%
  • Managing of office finances and investments 4%
  • Not involved with management areas 61%

The majority of medical assistants are involved with preliminary checks and preparatory functions with smaller numbers being involved with administrative and managerial tasks. Although cross over does occur the amount of time spent on medical type duties far exceeds the other. There are exceptions where assistants have migrated entirely from the medical arena to being totally managerially or administratively involved.

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