Who Can Use the CMA (AAMA) Credential

Q. Who is permitted to use the CMA (AAMA) credential?

A. The only individuals permitted to use the CMA (AAMA) in connection with employment are those who have passed the CMA (AAMA) Certification Examination and have kept their CMA (AAMA) credential current by recertifying every 60 months.

About Donald A. Balasa

Donald A. Balasa, JD, MBA, executive director and legal counsel for the American Association of Medical Assistants, keeps his eye on what is happening in the profession.
This entry was posted in Certification and the CMA (AAMA) Credential and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

31 Responses to Who Can Use the CMA (AAMA) Credential

  1. Milan says:

    Hi,

    I am a forign medical graduate and completed my M.D.(doctor of medicine). As I am applying for residency next year I want to work as a medical assistat for 1 year. I want to know that do I eligible to get certified as a medical assistant/eligible to take exam for medical assistant? if no how can I will be eligible for that? and if yes whome should I contact?

    Thank you,
    Milan.

    • Buffy Jester says:

      You can call this number1-312-8991500 and asked for the lady named Anna Johnson she is adhead of the whole field. I am a new graduate from a college getting ready to take the state board test. I have worked in the medical field for 10 years as a CNA1 at hospitals nursing homes and home care.

  2. Buffy Jester says:

    My name is Buffy Jester. I talked to the people of the AAMA about sending me paper that the college was supposed to get for speical acccomondations to take the state board test. The people of the AAMA told me they would E-mail it to me. I have not received the paper yet. Their number is 1-312-899-1500. My last digetts of my socail security is 0336.Please email me back about this.

  3. LeeAnn Brown says:

    Please send me some information regarding about Medical Assistant course/exam.Thank you!

  4. Vickie Santay says:

    Hi, I received my certification in 1998. The expiration date was December 2003. I have not submitted my CEUs although I have all that is needed. If I submit my CEUs now will I still receive my certificate reinstated?

    • Anna Johnson says:

      Thank you for your important question. You are able to recertify even though your certification is current. Please read the following carefully to familiarize yourself with the process and policies of CMA (AAMA) recertification.

      Recertification of the CMA (AAMA) credential is required every five years. All Certified Medical Assistants (AAMA) practitioners or educators must have current status in order to use the CMA (AAMA) credential in connection with employment. Certification status is a matter of public record and may be released.

      CMAs (AAMA) must submit proof of provider level current CPR certification from an entity whose provider level CPR certification course meets or exceeds the provider level course offered by the American Red Cross or the American Heart Association in order to recertify either by continuing education or retesting. CMAs (AAMA) with physical limitations preventing them from performing CPR shall be exempt from this requirement. Such limitations must be documented by a statement signed by a physician.

      The American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) provides three documents that serve as useful guidelines for identifying relevant topics to study for recertification.

      1. The Content Outline for the CMA (AAMA) Certification/Recertification Examination (http://aama-ntl.org/resources/library/ContentOutline.pdf ) is a comprehensive list of everything that a CMA (AAMA) must know, organized by topic category.

      2. The Occupational Analysis of the CMA (AAMA) (http://aama-ntl.org/resources/library/OA.pdf) is based on an AAMA survey in which medical assistants listed the tasks that they performed on a daily basis and expected to perform in the future.

      3. The Advanced Practice of Medical Assisting (http://aama-ntl.org/resources/library/AAMA_AdvancedPractice.pdf ) defines advanced medical assisting skills and areas of knowledge.

      Reactivation fee. Any CMA (AAMA) not recertifying on or before the expiration date of their credential will be considered as having an expired credential and will be required to pay a $50 reactivation fee in addition to the recertification fee in order to recertify. This applies to recertification by continuing education
      or examination.

      Reactivation by exam. If it has been longer than 60 months since a CMA (AAMA) has recertified, the credential has expired and cannot be reactivated by continuing education. However, recertification can be achieved by passing the CMA (AAMA) Exam. Payment of a $50 reactivation fee plus the recertification by examination fee will be required.

      RECERTIFYING BY CONTINUING EDUCATION
      Point Total Requirement: A total of 60 Recertification points is necessary to recertify the basic CMA (AAMA) credential. At least 30 of the 60 points must be AAMA CEUs. A minimum of 10 points is required in each of the general, administrative, and clinical content areas. The remaining 30 points may be accumulated in any of the three content areas.

      Time limits for recertification points: Points toward recertification are valid only if earned after initial certification or after the most recent recertification. Credits must be earned in the calendar year in which the application is submitted and/or in the six calendar years prior.

      AAMA CEU Credits: Applications for Recertification by the continuing education method must include at least 30 points accumulated from AAMA CEUs. AAMA credits are defined as continuing education programs that have been approved for CEU credit by the AAMA. These credits are available through our magazine, CMA Today; state society and local chapter programs; Annual Conference sessions, AAMA self-study courses, independent continuing education sponsors approved by the AAMA, etc. Credit received for CPR certification will count as AAMA CEU credit.

      For additional options for obtaining AAMA CEU credits go to http://www.aama-ntl.org/recertified/how.aspx.

      Non-AAMA Credits: A maximum of thirty (30) recertification points may be accumulated from other sources than AAMA CEUs. These may include CEUs acquired outside the AAMA, college or university credit, physician CME credits and contact hours. A contact hour is defined as a typical 50-minute classroom instructional session, or its equivalent.

      Calculating Recertification Points:
      • 1 Continuing Education Unit (CEU) = 1 recertification point
      • 1 Continuing Medical Education (CME) Credit = 1 recertification point
      • 1 Contact Hour = 1 recertification point
      • 1 College credit Hour = 15 recertification points

      Documenting Non-AAMA Recertification Points

      Official documentation issued by the sponsor granting the credit must be attached to the application. The documentation must indicate:

      a. Applicant’s name
      b. Date when credit was attained
      c. Name of sponsor issuing credit
      d. Subject content of educational activity (a course description or content outline)
      e. Amount of credit awarded
      f. A certificate of completion or attendance bearing the number of contact hours awarded.

      Non-AAMA credits will be accepted towards recertification as long as they relate to the tasks and responsibilities listed on the Content Outline for the CMA (AAMA) Certification/Recertification Examination, the Occupational Analysis of the CMA (AAMA) or the Advanced Practice of Medical Assisting document.

      The AAMA CMA Recertification by Continuing Education Application

      After you have obtained the 60 required recertification points you will need to submit a completed Recertification by Continuing Education Application and the required application fee. To download this application from our website, click on http://www.aama-ntl.org/recertified/apply_recert.aspx and select the Recertification by Continuing Education Application to download.

      NOTE: Review of recertification applications can take up to 90 days. If all criteria are met recertification is granted.

      Information about AAMA membership is available at http://www.aama-ntl.org/join.aspx.

      RECERTIFYING BY EXAMINATION
      A copy of the CMA (AAMA) Certification/Recertification Examination Handbook and Application can be found at http://www.aama-ntl.org/becomeCMA/apply_CMA.aspx. The deadline to apply for the exam is based on the earliest date that you wish to sit for the examination.

      Should you need additional assistance, please contact the AAMA at 1/800/228-2262. Please indicate whether you wish to recertify by continuing education or by examination so that we can direct you to a staff member who can best assist you.

      Anna L. Johnson, CAE
      Director of Certification

      American Association of Medical Assistants
      Ph: 800/228-2262 | Fax: 312/899-1259 | http://www.aama-ntl.org

      The CMA (AAMA): Health Care’s Most Versatile Professional

  5. Tatiana says:

    Please send me some information regarding about Medical Assistant exam, Tahnk,s

  6. Kathy Harris says:

    I have just passed my RMA exam can I join the AAMA? Will I be able to get credit for ceu’s if I join?

    • AAMA Administrator says:

      Hello, Ms. Harris.

      In case you never received a reply to your question, yes you may join the AAMA. We have many RMA members of the association. You will get credit for AAMA CEUs. These, however, will not apply towards certification as a CMA (AAMA). Only individuals who have successfully completed a medical assisting program that has been accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) are eligible to sit for the CMA (AAMA) Certification Examination. No exceptions to the eligibility requirements for the examination are granted.

      However, you may document your AAMA CEUs in your resume to show that you are keeping up-to-date with current medical assisting knowledge.

      I hope this is helpful.

      Anna Johnson, CAE
      Director of Certification

      • Kathy Harris says:

        My school is CAAHEP/ABHES accredited. Should I sit for the CMA exam also? I would like to be as employable as possible.

  7. nydia cuevas says:

    cma for 30yrs. worked in florida for 20yrs. got laid off 7/08 now cant find job unless recertified by florida went to school in ohio need information to get started

    • Thank you for your question.

      The CMA (AAMA) is a national credential, and the recertification requirements are uniform and national, and do not vary from state to state.

      Could you please e-mail me more specifics about your situation? I would be happy to help you in any possible way.

      My e-mail address is dbalasa@aama-ntl.org

      Donald A. Balasa, JD, MBA
      Executive Director, Legal Counsel

      American Association of Medical Assistants
      Ph: 800/228-2262 | Fax: 312/899-1259 | http://www.aama-ntl.org

      Visit us on Facebook! http://www.aama-ntl.org/facebook

      The CMA (AAMA): Health Care’s Most Versatile Professional

      • Lori Farmer says:

        I graduated from an accredited school for Medical Assistant in 1993. Can you tell me the cost to take the test now?

  8. AAMA Administrator says:

    Your question regarding the cost for the CMA (AAMA) Certification Examination is appreciated. You would be considered a nonrecent graduate. Nonrecent gradutes pay $125 if they are AAMA members and $250 if they are not. You may download the application at http://www.aama-ntl.org/becomeCMA/apply_CMA.aspx. When you submit your application you are certifying that you have reviewed and accept all provisions under “Application agreement” and that you will abide by all the policies set forth in this document, so it is important to read them thoroughly.

    Before applying make sure that your medical assisting program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). If you’re not sure about your program’s accreditation, call 1/800/228-2262 and ask to speak with a member of the AAMA Certification Staff.

    Please let us know if you have any additional questions.

    Anna L. Johnson, CAE
    Director of Certification

    American Association of Medical Assistants
    Ph: 800/228-2262 | Fax: 312/899-1259 | http://www.aama-ntl.org

    Visit us on Facebook! http://www.aama-ntl.org/facebook

    The CMA (AAMA): Health Care’s Most Versatile Professional

  9. Laurie David says:

    I graduated Medical Assistant program October,2008 in Mason City,Iowa. I was certified October 26,2009. I am also certified in South Dakota.

    I know I need to build up on my CEUs. How can I get these points? Is there an online access that I can get my points accumulated. The only one I have done for CEUs is the one they offered at my college the same year I graduated.

    I am unemployed and have not gotten a job in my field since my graduation.
    I fear I may not get employed and lose my certification.
    I have applied at many locations in my area, but have not been hired.
    Is there something I may be doing wrong or need to work on?

    sincerely,
    Laurie David

  10. Yvette M. Christmas says:

    Hi, I need help to become certified as a Medical Assistant. I had taken the class way back in 1981, I had taken the exam once which I had failed and re-signed up to take the next occurring exam, but due to a death in my family had too back out, then one thing lead to another and never re-signed. I have been active in the field, worked for the first Doctor 20 years and the Second one for 13 years. Can you please e-mail me the steps to take on how/where I can get the information to study and take the test? I do have my Diploma in Medical Assistant showing I completed 1320 hours and also my student evaluation record. Thank you for your time and expertise in this matter. Y.C

    • AAMA Administrator says:

      Dear Ms. Christmas:

      Thank you for your interest in taking the CMA (AAMA) exam. As you may know, only individuals who have successfully completed a medical assisting program that has been accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) are eligible to sit for the CMA (AAMA) Certification Examination.

      Since no exceptions to the eligibility requirements for the examination are granted, I would suggest that you e-mail to me the name of the institution where you received your medical assisting diploma and the address, city and state where it is located. My e-mail is ajohnson@aama-ntl.org.

      Sincerely,

      Anna Johnson

      Anna L. Johnson, CAE
      Director of Certification

      American Association of Medical Assistants
      Ph: 800/228-2262 | Fax: 312/899-1259 | http://www.aama-ntl.org

      Visit us on Facebook! http://www.aama-ntl.org/facebook

      The CMA (AAMA): Health Care’s Most Versatile Professional

  11. I used to be a primary care physician in cuba for 14 years and ,I would like to be a medical assistant here in states. what should I do?

    • Thank you for your question, Dr. Rodriguez.

      Even though increasing numbers of employers prefer to hire medical assistants who have formal medical assisting education and who have the CMA (AAMA) credential, in most states it is legal for individuals to work as medical assistants under direct physician superversion in outpatient settings without medical assisting education and the CMA (AAMA) credential. Could you please tell me in what state you plan to work?

      I look forward to your response, Dr. Rodriguez. I will be happy to be of assistance in any way.

      Donald A. Balasa, JD, MBA Executive Director, Legal Counsel AAMA dbalasa@aama-ntl.org

  12. I to graduated in 2008 for Medical Assistant and passed my test in 2008 to become a certified Medical Assistant. I have yet to work in my profession in Georgia. My questions are 1. can I start working on my CEU for recertification in 2014 even if I am not working in my field and 2. when and/or where do they use medical assistants in hospitals instead of just a private Doctors office. I realize the economy is bad but I see plenty of job offers for LPN’s out there. When is our field going to grow where we can compete and get hired as readily as a LPN? Thanks for taking the time to read my questions and rants.

    • Thank you for your questions and comments. I am forwarding to Director of Certification Anna Johnson and Director of Membership and Continuing Education David Knight who will answer your question about acquiring continuing education recertification points even though you are not currently working as a medical assistant.

      The vast majority of medical assistants and CMAs (AAMA) work in outpatient settings under direct physician supervision. Very few work in hospitals, although many work in ambulatory care centers/clinics affiliated with hospitals, and on the premises of hospitals.

      As you know, CMAs (AAMA) are educated, trained, and credentialed to work primarily in outpatient settings. Unlike most LPNs, CMAs (AAMA) are competent in both front-office administrative duties as well as in back-office clinical duties, as well as in patient education/counseling responsibilities. LPNs are educated and trained to work primarily in in-patient delivery settings, and their education is focused on the typical clinical duties in hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, assisted living facilities, hospices, etc.

      So, I would argue that CMAs (AAMA) and LPNs/LVNs are very different allied health professionals because of their education and competencies. As increasing numbers of employers are becoming aware of the many advantages (including legal advantages) in employing CMAs (AAMA), we are seeing an increasing demand for CMAs (AAMA) to work in medical offices, clinics, and other outpatient delivery settings.

      Thank you again for your post, Vanessa. Please let us know how we can be of further assistance in any way.

      Don

      P.S. If you would e-mail me, I would be happy to send you some of my articles that may be helpful. My articles are also posted on the AAMA website–www.aama-ntl.org

      Donald A. Balasa, JD, MBA
      Executive Director, Legal Counsel

      American Association of Medical Assistants
      Ph: 800/228-2262 | Fax: 312/899-1259 | http://www.aama-ntl.org

      Visit us on Facebook! http://www.aama-ntl.org/facebook

      The CMA (AAMA): Health Care’s Most Versatile Professional

  13. Roberta says:

    I have been a Certified Medical Assistant for over 15 yrs. I find the profession very rewarding both financially and lifefulfilling. I have kept my credential up to date with CEU’s and have landed positions with outstanding medical offices and physicians who recognize the importance of being Certified, Registered and/or Licensed. And in fact only hire those with these credentials to insure better medical practices and to lessen their liablity insurance. My greatest disappointment is that among the public, the title of Certified Medical Assistant is that it is often confused with Certified Nurse Assistant (which is totally different). Since the CMA and the CNA sound so similar, I do with that they would somehow rename the Certified Medical Assistant as to lessen the confusion and to make a greater distiction between the two.

    • Thank you for your suggestion. The change in the credential from “CMA” to “CMA (AAMA)” was an effort to differentiate and distinguish the CMA (AAMA) from other medical assisting credentials, and from nursing assistants and medication aides.

      I will give further thought to your recommendation. Thank you again for presenting it to us.

      Donald A. Balasa, JD, MBA
      Executive Director, Legal Counsel

      American Association of Medical Assistants
      Ph: 800/228-2262 | Fax: 312/899-1259 | http://www.aama-ntl.org

      Visit us on Facebook! http://www.aama-ntl.org/facebook

      The CMA (AAMA): Health Care’s Most Versatile Professional

  14. roxanne says:

    Dear Mr. Balasa: I do not agree with changing the CMA(AAMA) logoto something elseso not to be be confused with a CNA,as I recently had an expereince in my office where a patient and her mother thought that I was a “Nurse” even though i wear a name tag each and every day that says my full name CMA(cCeritifed Medical Assistant. I referred her to theAAMA website and she was absolutely amazed at our organization and what and how e are trained.

  15. Ximena says:

    If I become certified in Maryland and move to Montreal, would my certification still be valid in Canada?

    • Thank you for your question.

      My understanding is that the medical assisting profession per se does not exist in Canada. There are medical secretaries and administrative assistants, but I don’t believe any of the Canadian provinces have a category of medical assistants.

      I hope this is helpful. Please let me know how I can be of further assistance.

      Donald A. Balasa, JD, MBA
      Executive Director, Legal Counsel

      American Association of Medical Assistants
      Ph: 800/228-2262 | Fax: 312/899-1259 | http://www.aama-ntl.org

      Visit us on Facebook! http://www.aama-ntl.org/facebook

      The CMA (AAMA): Health Care’s Most Versatile Professional

  16. cynthia mckinstry says:

    I graduated an accredited medical assistant program 1998. I worked as a medical assistant for 8 years. I switched careers and worked as a medical underwriter for an insurance company. My question is am I still eligible to sit for certification exam, if not what steps would I have to tske ?

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