Certified Medical Assistant – Responsibility, Salary, Educational Requirements, Programs, Training and Certification

A Medical Assistant (MA) is an important member of any health care delivery team, who assists physicians and nurses with a wide range of medical and administrative tasks. Medical assisting is one of many allied health care careers. The physicians believe that the Medical Assistants not only make a bond between the physician and the patient but also increase the overall productivity of the hospital.

Though medical assistant certification is not required by law to work in this field, many professionals prefer to go certified so as to make easy use of medical assistant jobs compared with the rest of struggling graduates. Medical assistant certification gives patients and doctors the hope that the medical assistant is trained enough to assist in all health care issues.

Certified Medical Assistant Responsibility:

Certified Medical assistants are multi skilled professionals who work in a doctor’s office and also in hospitals. Generally there are two areas where a medical assistant can work, the diagnostic area and the administrative area. In diagnostic area, the medical assistant helps the lab technician in reading the test results, prepare and administer medications and order refills as necessary. In the administrative area, the medical assistant helps the hospital in scheduling patients, storing patients file, working with health insurance forms and carrying out other vital roles.

The duties of medical assistant usually vary depending on the specialty and size of the practice. In a small practice the medical assistant works closely with the physicians and office staff and reports directly to them. In a large practice the medical assistants are allocated to certain departments were they get specialized and in this case they report to the department administrators.

Certified Medical Assistant Salary:

The salary for a certified medical assistant varies depending on the familiarity, skill level, and location of the work. The average number of medical assistant jobs in 2010 was 527,600 and the average annual pay in 2010 was $28,860 with approximately $13.87 per hour. The bottommost 10 percent earned less than $20,810, and the uppermost 10 percent earned more than $40,190. The median annual salary for the combined other health care support occupations was $29,790. It is estimated that the job opportunity for a medical assistant would grow by 31% from 2010 to 2020 were as for the combined other health care support occupations it would grow by 25%, indicating that the job security for a certified medical assistant is much higher compared to other allied health careers.

Educational requirements:

Students who are interested in pursuing the career as a medical assistant should have biology, chemistry and anatomy included in the study. All you have to do is, commit one year or more of classwork and carry online training course to become a certified medical assistant.


To become a medical assistant there is no official education necessary but employers prefer trained medical assistants for better quality of work. The duration of the programs depends upon the student’s commitment and institutions providing the medical assistant certification programs.

The medical assistant programs are provided by vocational and technical schools, community colleges and universities and the programs takes about a year for completion. There are also some community and junior colleges which offer a full 2 year program course. During this program the individuals are given study classes and laboratory classes in anatomy and other medical terminologies. To do some advanced tasks like taking X-Rays and giving injections, some states require the medical assistants to undertake the required program or to pass an exam or do both.


When the medical assistant joins the health practice, he/she will be given training in assisting the physician and the office. The medical assistant is trained on knowing the medical terminology, name and usage of the instruments in the hospital, on how to carry out the everyday activities with ease and perfection, how to maintain good communication with the patients so as to serve them professionally, how to run the office works without work stress or tension and how to get along with the team members. Medical assistant is responsible for maintaining and storing the patient records and so is trained to decode the paper and electronic records.


As per law a medical assistant is not required to be certified but professionals and employers prefer certification. Professionals prefer to be certified so that that they get more chances of getting a job compared with the rest and the employers prefer the medical assistants to be certified because they believe certified medical assistant is fit for the job. Again it is not difficult to gain certification!! There are several organizations that provide certification. Either they require the medical assistant to pass an exam or graduate with required accredited program or both. It is to be noted that the applicants with less than 18 years of age is not eligible for certification.

A certified medical assistant means he/she is certified from one of these certifying boards

•    Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) from the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA)

•    Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) from the American Medical Technologists

•    National Certified Medical Assistant (NCMA) from the National Center for Competency Testing

•    Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) from the National Health career Association

By gaining the CMA certificate the medical assistant is considered to possess high standard of medical assisting professionalism. The National Board of Medical Examiners is responsible for conducting exams for medical assistants by maintaining high level of security, validity and reliability in exams.

Steps to become Certified Medical Assistant:

1. Check if you are eligible for the certification by reviewing on CMA (AAMA) Certification and Recertification Exam Eligibility

2. Once you are eligible, find a school, college or university that run medical assistant programs and undergo training. Very important, check if the institution is accredited. Do not forget to check if the institution provides necessary academic and clinical training.

3.  Next step is to apply for an exam. Find the application online and provide the required documentation and exam fees. If you are a member of AAMA or recent graduate the exam fee is $125 and for others it is $250. Please note the exam fees are non-refundable and non-transferable.

4.  After you pay the exam fees fix an exam appointment. Once your application is administered you will obtain an email with scheduling permit instructions. Log in and fix an exam appointment.

5.  The most vital to do for exam is study. Make sure you know the exam outline and cover all vital areas of examination like anatomy, physiology, medical terminologies, medical guidelines and regulations and all clinical and administrative procedures.

6.  After you pass the exam you will obtain an official certificate and wallet card to prove that you have obtained CMA (AAMA) credential.

7.  Now you can put your CMA (AAMA) credential in your resume and apply for a certified medical assistant position so easily. Do not forget to recertify your credential every 60 months. Your resume with CMA (AAMA) credential will make you stand apart from the rest and take you forward.