How to Pass the Certified Medical Assistant Exam

If you want to become a Certified Medical Assistant (CMA), you will need to pass the AAMA certification exam. Becoming certified is not compulsory and many people work as general, clinical and administrative medical assistants without this credential. However, getting the certification title will look great on your resume, especially as more and more doctors’ offices and hospitals are looking to hire all types of medical assistants with this level of qualification. CMAs are more likely to get the best jobs, higher salaries or hourly wages, and better career advancement opportunities.

You will need to apply for the exam through the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To be eligible to take the certification exam, you will need to have either graduated from an accredited medical assisting training program within the previous 12 months, or take the examination less than 30 days before you graduate. Nonrecent graduates can take the exam provided they do so within 60 months of graduation (if they graduated on or after January 1 2010). You can also apply to recertify your credential if you have previously passed the exam. CMAs need to recertify their credential every 60 months, either by re-taking the exam or with continuing education credits.

There are strict eligibility requirements needed to take the exam and completing an accredited medical assisting degree, diploma or certificate program is essential. This is why it is so important when choosing a training program that you look for one that’s accredited through either the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). There are many such medical assistant programs online, as well as campus-based degrees at traditional schools.

What Subjects Does the Exam Cover?

You should have completed courses covering all the exam topics on your medical assisting training program. You can get more detailed information on the exam content outline at the AAMA website. As a guide, the certification exam is made up of 200 multiple-choice questions in 4 40 minute segments, on the following:

  • 12% medical terminology
  • 12% medical procedures
  • 12% patient examination
  • 12% diagnostic testing
  • 12% pharmacology
  • 11% phlebotomy
  • 11% anatomy and physiology
  • 10% medical office management and general office procedures
  • 4% bookkeeping
  • 4% insurance processing

Practice Tests

A good way prepare for the medical assistant certification exam is to take practice tests. You’ll be able to find a number of practice tests and sample exam questions online. For instance, the official AAMA website offers free practice exams in anatomy and physiology and medical terminology. By answering sample exam questions you can identify your strengths and weaknesses in order to better focus your studies.

Take a Review Course

Another good way to study for the certification exam is to take an exam review course. This might be included as part of your accredited medical assisting training program. Alternatively, if you have a local AAMA chapter in your area, they may offer a review course to members.

Although the prospect of the certification exam may seem daunting, getting your training on an accredited medical assisting degree program should provide you with all the knowledge needed to pass the test. Becoming a Certified Medical Assistant is voluntary, but gaining this credential can open up the best jobs and earning opportunities for you in your future career.