In this article, we will be discussing the Top Medical Assistant Certification Near Me, medical assistant certification online, and among the best Medical Certificate Programs. A career as a medical assistant can be a great way to break into the healthcare industry. It’s a fantastic way to gain clinical experience while working your way up to a more advanced health care profession, such as nursing or allied therapy because you don’t need a degree.
Medical assisting can be a rewarding career in and of itself. The best medical assistant certification courses will prepare you to sit for an industry-recognized certifying exam, allowing you to earn your credential and start working as a certified medical assistant.
Top 5 Medical Assistant Certification Online
Depending on the requirements of your medical assisting program, you can pursue one or more medical assistant certifications.
This is one of the top medical assistant certifications online and among the medical certifications that pay well. The American Association of Medical Assistants awards the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) credential, which requires students to complete a one- or two-year medical assisting program at a school with ABHES (the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools) institutional or programmatic accreditation or CAAHEP programmatic accreditation (the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs).
Every five years, the CMA must be renewed. Taking the recertification exam or earning continuing education credits are both options for recertification. The cost of the CMA exam varies from $125 to $250, depending on how quickly you register after graduation. The CMA is divided into four 40-minute segments, each with 200 multiple-choice questions. The CMA certification is one of the most widely recognized for Medical Assistants, with simple and straightforward requirements.
This certification is a great place to start if you’re looking for an exam that gives you the most “bang for your buck” and you meet the prerequisites. However, before making your final decision, double-check your potential employer’s requirements to ensure that the CMA certification is required or accepted. It is one of the additional certifications for medical assistants and among the medical certificate programs.
2. Registered Medical Assistant (RMA):
The RMA certification is the second most well-known among medical assistant certifications. While the CMA was first (and is more well-known), the RMA covers a lot of the same ground and is a great way to show off your skills as a Medical Assistant. The AMT is in charge of RMA certification (American Medical Technologists). This is one of the top medical assistant certification online and among the medical certifications that pay well.
The RMA requirements are slightly broader than the CMA requirements, allowing for experience over the completion of specific programs in some cases. Requirements for the RMA include:
- Graduation from a medical assisting program that has been approved. The US Department of Education, the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, or the AMT board of directors must all approve this program.
- OR completion of a formal medical training program in the United States military.
- OR candidates with five years of medical assistant experience.
- OR candidates who have obtained another Medical Assisting certificate from a recognized institution.
Medical Assistants must earn a certain number of CCP (Certification Continuation Program) points every three years to keep their RMA certification. These can be earned by participating in related work committees, taking continuing education courses, or being verified by an employer. The RMA exam costs $120 at the moment. You can get a complete rundown of RMA exam topics by clicking here. To pass, students must achieve a score of 70% or higher.
The RMA exam, which consists of 200-210 questions, takes three hours to complete. Most employers recognize the RMA certification, which is very similar to the CMA certification. However, it’s important to check the specific requirements of your potential employer before deciding on your certification. In Connecticut, for example, medical offices do not currently recognize the RMA.
The RMA, on the other hand, maybe the best option for you if you have several years of MA experience, are a veteran of the US military, or have already earned certification as a Medical Assistant from another organization. It is one of the additional certifications for medical assistants and among the medical certificate programs.
3. National Certified Medical Assistant (NCMA):
This is one of the top medical assistant certification online and among the medical certifications that pay well. The National Center for Competency Testing offers the NCMA certification, which differs from the RMA and CMA in that it focuses on assisting physicians with patients rather than overall office administration. The NCMA has the following requirements:
- Graduate of an NCCT-approved Medical Assisting program within the last ten years.
- OR the applicant must be a foreign RN or physician with US equivalency documentation.
- OR the applicant must have at least ten years of experience as a Medical Assistant instructor.
- OR the applicant must have completed a US Military Medical Assisting program.
- OR the applicant must have at least two years of experience working as a Medical Assistant.
Recertification by the NCMA is required every year. Certificate holders must pay a $77 annual fee and submit proof of 14 or more continuing education hours to renew their NCMA certification. The NCMA exam costs $90 at the moment. The NCMA exam, which consists of 150 questions, takes three hours to complete. The NCMA is similar to the RMA in that it does not require graduation from an accredited program.
So if you have the necessary work experience or training, you may already be eligible to take the exam. The NCMA is also slightly less expensive than both the CMA and the RMA. The NCMA certification, while not as widely recognized as the CMA or RMA exams, may be a better fit if you plan to work directly with patients.
However, before applying, make sure to check with your preferred employer to see if there are any specific certification requirements. It is one of the additional certifications for medical assistants and among the medical certificate programs.
4. Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA):
This is one of the top medical assistant certification online and among the medical certifications that pay well. The National Healthcareer Association offers the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant certification (CCMA), which is similar to the NCMA in terms of requirements. The CCMA, like the NCMA, is aimed at Medical Assistants who want to be more involved in clinical procedures rather than office administration.
Examinees must have a high school diploma in order to take the CCMA exam. The CCMA must also meet the following requirements:
- Graduate of a medical assisting program that has been approved by the American Medical Assisting Association.
- OR the applicant must complete an apprenticeship program that has been approved.
- OR the applicant must have completed a US Military Medical Assisting program.
- OR the applicant must have at least one year of experience working as a Medical Assistant.
Every two years, CCMA recertification is required. Certificate holders must pay a bi-annual fee of $169 and submit proof of 10 or more continuing education hours to renew their CCMA certification. The current exam fee for the CCMA is $155. The CCMA exam has 150 questions and 30 pre-test questions, and it takes three hours to pass. The CCMA is a good choice for Medical Assistants who have relevant work experience but have not completed a full training program, similar to the NCMA.
The CCMA has one advantage over the NCMA in that it only requires one year of relevant work experience, so if you’re a current Medical Assistant looking to expand your opportunities with certification, the CCMA could be a good fit. Always double-check with your current or prospective employer to ensure that the CCMA is accepted by their company. It is one of the additional certifications for medical assistants and among the medical certificate programs.
Medical Assistant Certification Specializations
Although the primary Medical Assistant certifications (CMA, RMA, NCMA, and CCMA) are all well-rounded and can be used in a variety of medical offices and environments, some Medical Assistants prefer to specialize. The PMAC and COA certifications are examples of these.
- The ASPMA (American Society of Podiatric Medical Assistants) offers the Podiatric Medical Assistant (PMAC) Certification, which is designed for Medical Assistants who want to work in podiatry (treatment of feet).
- The JCAHPO (Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology) created the Certified Ophthalmic Assistant (COA) Certification specifically for Medical Assistants who plan to assist Ophthalmologists (treatment of eye and vision).
Top 5 Schools that Offer Medical Certifications Programs
1. Penn Foster
This institution offers additional certifications for medical assistants and medical certifications that pay well. Penn Foster’s medical assisting associate degree prepares students for a lifetime of success with affordable tuition, transfer credit opportunities, online learning, and a simple but comprehensive four-semester program. Penn Foster is an online school that offers high school diploma and completion programs and certificate and degree programs.
It offers an associate of science (AS) degree in medical assisting, which means you can get your certification and then transfer your credits to a bachelor’s degree program if you want to advance your career. Penn Foster is our choice for the best overall medical assistant certification course because it prepares students for five certification exams:
- American Medical Technologists offers the Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) certification (AMT)
- The National Healthcareer Association offers the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) certificate (NHA)
- The National Center for Competency Testing offers the National Certified Medical Assistant certificate (NCMA) (NCCT)
- The American Medical Certification Association offers the Clinical Medical Assistant Certification (CMAC) (AMCA)
- The NHA offers the Certified Phlebotomy Technician (CPT) certification.
You are not required to take all of the exams upon graduation, but if you do, you will increase your professional attractiveness to potential employers and expand your career options. You must complete a semester-long externship in a clinical setting in addition to all of your online coursework (which includes medical terminology, anatomy, physiology, biology, mathematics, insurance filing, clerical skills, and more). Penn Foster does help students find externship opportunities.
Penn Foster University offers an affordable associate degree program at $79 per credit hour. If you pay for each semester in advance and in full, the tuition becomes even more affordable. Tuition for the medical assistant degree program is only $999 per semester, which is significantly less than what you’d pay at a traditional university.
2. Keiser University
Keiser University is a prestigious private university with a strong track record of job placement and opportunities for continued education for its graduates. Keiser University, a Florida-based institution with an online division, offers a comprehensive medical assisting associate degree that prepares students to take the American Medical Technologists’ RMA credentialing examination, one of the most well-known and accepted medical assisting credentials.
While no university can guarantee employment after graduation, Keiser University has a dedicated student support and career advancement center. Students can get free access to career counselors, job listings, internship opportunities, and professional development workshops. When you earn your associate of science degree from Keiser, you’ll demonstrate to potential employers that you’re serious about medical assisting and that you’re dedicated to improving your skills and knowledge to serve patients effectively.
Medical terminology, anatomy, pharmacology, medical law and ethics, and advanced biology are among the general education and degree-specific credits required by Keiser University. Students must also participate in a five-credit-hour semester-long externship. The degree requires 60 credit hours and takes two years to complete.
The prestige of a private university comes at a high cost. According to the Keiser website, tuition at Keiser University averages around $19,000 per year. Attending a university has the advantage of providing financial aid and scholarships and the ability to apply for government financial aid. This institution offers medical assistant certification online and medical certificate programs.
3. U.S. Career Institute
This low-cost online certificate program offers high-quality content and instruction for less than $1,500. Prospective students can attend the US Career Institute instead of traditional institutions. Medical assistants and other healthcare professions are among the career paths offered by the school. The medical assistant program at the University of South Carolina is one of the best in the country.
Career Institute is an entirely online program that prepares you to take the NHA’s Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CCMA) or Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) exams. Medical terminology, anatomy, first aid, preparing patients for exams, minor surgical procedures, preparing and administering medications, medical insurance, front office procedures, patient therapies, and pharmacology are among the skills and knowledge that students who complete the program will gain.
This institution offers additional certifications for medical assistants and medical certifications that pay well. The medical assistant certification program costs $1,239 if paid in full. You can also pay in installments, but the total cost rises to $1,489 if you pay online and $1,539 by mail. You have up to a year to complete the program after enrolling, but it could take up to four months. According to the United States Department of State, the average time to completion is seven months.
4. Trident University
This self-paced, online course takes 540 hours to complete over a year (roughly 10 to 12 hours per week), but it covers the same material as many full-time university programs. Trident University is a member of the American InterContinental University System and is regionally accredited. Trident University was one of the first all-online schools, having opened its doors in 1998. Since then, hundreds of thousands of students have enrolled in its certificate, associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs.
Trident’s clinical medical assistant certificate program prepares you to take the NHA’s CCMA national certification exam. Medical terminology, government and private insurances, insurance claim filing, anatomy and physiology, venipuncture, and other clinical skills are all covered in the curriculum. This course costs $2,190, which includes three hard copy textbooks that will be mailed to you after you enroll.
This course has no prerequisites, but the CCMA exam requires a high school diploma or equivalent. Keep in mind that this is not a degree program or a degree track program, although a university runs it. This certificate program, or any part of it, will not earn you credit at Trident University. This institution offers medical assistant certification online and medical certificate programs.
5. Phlebotomy Career Training
Phlebotomy Career Training can help you become a certified clinical medical assistant, electrocardiogram technician, phlebotomy technician, and IV technician in as little as six months. Although Phlebotomy Career Training began as a phlebotomy-only school, it has since grown to include a variety of other healthcare careers. Its medical assistant certification program allows you to earn four different credentials in just six months, giving you an advantage over other entry-level medical professionals.
This hybrid program’s curriculum includes all of the fundamentals of medical assisting and the prerequisites for becoming an ECG technician, IV technician, or certified phlebotomist. Except for your externship and clinical hours, all of your coursework is completed online. To sit for the medical assistant exam, students must complete 204 clinical externship hours, 40 hours of ECG, and 30 live blood draws to sit for the medical assistant exam. Students will be in charge of finding and securing externship opportunities in their area.
This institution offers additional certifications for medical assistants and medical certifications that pay well. The program’s tuition is only $1,200, which includes the cost of registration for all four exams. Students must also register for the exam in their locality and take the exam at a designated, proctored location determined by the exam-administering agency. Unfortunately, only one textbook is included in the tuition fee, so you may be responsible for purchasing additional course materials.
This joint certificate program is ideal for students who want to earn multiple certifications and learn more about the health care industry but don’t have the financial means to do so.
How to Select the Most Appropriate Medical Assistant Certification
Finally, the best medical assistant certification program is determined by your unique set of requirements and objectives. When selecting a medical assistant certification program, keep the following factors in mind:
1. Medical assistant credentials come in a variety of shapes and sizes.
All will help you find work after you finish the course, but it’s important to consider your needs and long-term goals. The American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) CMA credential, for example, is the most widely recognized medical assisting credential and prepares you for overall office administration. The NCMA credential, on the other hand, is more concerned with directly helping physicians with their patients.
2. Consider how much time you have available.
A fast-track program is a good option if you need a job quickly. However, if you have the time, attending a university and earning your associate degree can be beneficial.
3. The intensiveness of the program:
Consider whether you can handle a full-time, college-level program at this point in your life or whether you need something part-time to care for your family or meet other obligations.
4. Tuition and financial aid:
Making a budget is an important part of continuing your education. Examine your financial aid options and calculate how much money you can spend on a medical assisting program without going into debt.
5. Learning platform:
Are you able to attend in-person classes, or do you have to study at home due to other obligations? Keep in mind that most medical assisting programs, even those offered entirely online, require some form of hands-on experience, such as clinical classes or an externship.
How Much Does It Cost To Become A Certified Medical Assistant?
The price of becoming a certified medical assistant varies depending on your program. Some courses cost less than $1,500 to prepare you for an exam, while others charge full college tuition, which can cost $15,000 or more per year. Don’t forget to account for other costs associated with obtaining a medical assistant certification, such as:
- Fees not related to tuition
- Housing and transportation are both essential.
- Scrubs and other hygiene items are among the supplies available.
- Books, workbooks, pens, paper, and other school supplies are all available.
- A computer, an internet connection, and other technology are all required.
- If you’re visiting a campus in person, you’ll need to bring food.
How Long Does It Take to Become a Certified Medical Assistant?
Some people complete their medical assistant certification in less than six months, while others may take two years or longer to complete the exam. It all boils down to the length of your program and how long you want to wait between graduation and taking the exam. In general, you can expect to become a certified medical assistant in a year or less if you don’t enroll in an associate degree program.
Is a Medical Assistant Certification Worth It?
It’s always a good idea to get certified in whatever field you want to work in. Obtaining certification as a certified medical assistant demonstrates to potential employers that you are passionate about the medical field and want to make a difference for patients. While not all states require medical assistants to be certified or registered, clinical institutions are increasingly hiring only certified individuals.
Furthermore, obtaining certification will provide you with important knowledge and skills and the confidence you need to succeed in a clinical setting.
How Do You Advance Your Medical Assistant Career?
Some people choose to work as medical assistants for the rest of their lives. On the other hand, medical assisting is typically used as a stepping stone to a more advanced healthcare career. Returning to school or obtaining additional certifications will almost certainly be required to advance your medical career.
Nursing as a certified nursing assistant or registered nurse or becoming a specialized medical assistant such as a podiatric medical assistant (PMAC) or certified ophthalmic assistant are two common career paths after medical assisting (COA). Some medical assistants may choose to continue working while earning a bachelor’s degree and applying to medical school.
When looking for the best medical assistant certification courses, we considered several factors, the most important of which was institution accreditation. At least one accrediting agency recognized by the United States has accredited all of the certification courses in this review. Department of Education or in collaboration with a well-known professional organization.
The Higher Learning Commission, the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC), and the Distance Education Accrediting Commission are some of the accrediting agencies (DEAC). We also only chose programs that offer an online learning format because we know that many students prefer or are required to learn remotely due to distance or family obligations.
Finally, because prospective students come from various financial backgrounds, we made sure to factor in the cost of attending each program. Except for the one university program on our list, all of these medical assistant certification courses are less than $2,000 in tuition.
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I hope you found this article on the medical assistant certification online to be useful. It can be difficult to decide which certification to pursue as a Medical Assistant, but don’t let that stop you! Whether you choose the more common CMA or RMA route or the more specialized NCMA, CCMA, PMAC, or COA route, one thing is certain: you’ve volunteered to help improve your career and open new doors and that’s something to be proud of.
So take your time, evaluate your qualifications, check the requirements of local employers, and then select the certification that best suits your needs.
Best of luck!