National Credential

Q. If I obtain my CMA (AAMA) credential in one state and move to another state, will my CMA (AAMA) credential still be recognized?

A. Yes, in every state the CMA (AAMA) credential will be recognized as a voluntary national credential. In a few states, there is a distinction between the legal scope of practice of CMAs (AAMA) and other medical assistants. Your CMA (AAMA), because it is a national credential, will allow you to be delegated the additional CMA (AAMA) duties.

About Donald A. Balasa

Donald A. Balasa, JD, MBA, chief executive officer 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.

34 Responses to National Credential

  1. Diane Nicol-CMA (AAMA) says:

    Mr. Balasa, My concern is that there are MA’s out there that have to get certified for there jobs, or registered to be employed. They work for private offices and then they are bought by hospitals. They were given a year to get certified or registered. But some of the MA’s did not go to school and some did not take state boards. or do they have to. They are having the doctors write letters saying they are good MA’s and have been working as MA’s. and they will get the Registered MA. Some of them know they would not pass any tests. There needs to be someway of eliminating this kind of action. they should be made to take a tests as we all do. they do the same job. get the same pay. but some don’t even have the schooling, or half the schooling. I really would like to see something done about that. I see so many RMA’s that should not be. they really give us CMA’s a bad name. Thanks

    • Thank you for voicing your concerns. The AAMA shares many of your concerns. I can tell you, however, that increasing numbers of employers prefer to hire (or even insist on hiring) CMAs (AAMA) as opposed to all other medical assistants. This, of course, varies from employer to employer.
      I will e-mail you and attach some of my articles that delineate what the AAMA is doing about this.
      I hope this is helpful.

  2. Teri Sheard says:

    Now hold on……..I went to accredited school..got my Medical Assistant diploma…but at the time they did not offer the CMA test……Our teacher told us the big exam we went through to pass the course after 0ne year….and you had to pass…was our certification. In the state of Georgia most doctors do not know what a CMA is. They will hire someone off the street and train them. This is what needs to be stopped. You should have had to have graduated from a accreditated school and show your diploma….The pay is very poor in Georgia for Medical Assistants ..I wish I had gone to the LPN it was the same amount of time and they make much better money. I would not encourage anyone to do Medical Assistanting….but go LPN…they work in many doctors offices down here.

    • Thank you for your follow up. Please see the attached.

      The Georgia legislature enacted a law in 2009 that directs the Georgia Composite Medical Board to issue regulations further delineating the scope of practice for medical assistants. This is an opportunity for the Medical Board to require accredited medical assisting education and a medical assisting credential–such as the CMA (AAMA)–as requirements for being delegated certain duties. The Georgia State Society and the AAMA will seek to protect patients by urging the Medical Board to issue regulations that protect against substandard medical assisting services.

      I hope this is helful.

      Donald A. Balasa, JD, MBA
      Executive Director, Legal Counsel
      American Association of Medical Assistants
      20 N. Wacker Drive, Suite 1575
      Chicago, IL 60606
      800/228-2262
      dbalasa@aama-ntl.org

    • Beverly says:

      I agree, you will get the respect the you deserve. As a medical assistant, certification means nothing and the pay is bad.

  3. Tammy Snipes, CMA,AAMA says:

    I am really frustrated that there are people who have not went to school to become a CMA but there is a course that has been available in book form that they are completing and taking tests (open book) and are calling themselves CMA’s..This infuriates me because I have went to school twice (my first school was closed due to misuse of government funds this we were not allowed to sit for the AAMA certification test). The second go round of education costed me a whopping $28,000.00, not to mention the months that I spent ahead of time studying for the AAMA exam..I passed with high scores due to studying but I do not think it is very fair for people to pass themselves off as CMA’s if they have not paid their dues…I even attend meetings and seminars so that I can acquire my required CEU’s. I know that there is a delineation now between the entities with ours being the only one that you can list AAMA, but it still upsets me that people still try to pass themselves off..I think there should be stricted legislation on this…
    Sincerely,

    Tammy S. Snipes, CMA,AAMA

    • Thank you for your comments, Ms. Snipes. I am sorry to hear that the school in which you took your first medical assisting course was closed because of misuse of government funds.

      Only medical assistants who hold a current CMA (AAMA) credential are permitted to use “CMA” or “CMA (AAMA)” after their names. If you have specific instances of non-CMAs (AAMA) who are using CMA or CMA (AAMA), please provide me with tangible evidence, and the name and address of the non-CMA (AAMA), and I will write her/him a cease and desist letter.

      It is legally impermissible for non-CMAs (AAMA) to use the initialisms “CMA” and “CMA (AAMA).”

      I hope this is helpful. Feel free to e-mail me the names and addresses of violators, and evidence of such violation. We will take appropriate action.

      Thank you for bringing this to my attention.

      Donald A. Balasa, JD, MBA
      Executive Director, Legal Counsel
      American Association of Medical Assistants
      20 N. Wacker Drive, Suite 1575
      Chicago, IL 60606
      800/228-2262
      dbalasa@aama-ntl.org

  4. Courtney Sease says:

    I am worried. I just completed a medical assistant program at Remington College and was told that we will not be able to sit for the AAMA or AMT, but another accrediting examiner. I am worried that I will not be able to find a job. I worked very hard to pass and I don’t think I am going to finds a job because everyone wants you to be AAMA certified. Could I get a good job sitting for another exam other than AAMA?

    • Thank you for your question. We are finding that increasing numbers of employers prefer to hire (or even insist on hiring) CMAs (AAMA).

      Could you please e-mail me at dbalasa@aama-ntl.org and we can discuss this one-on-one.

      I look forward to provide further assistance to you.

      Donald A. Balasa, JD, MBA
      Executive Director, Legal Counsel
      American Association of Medical Assistants
      20 N. Wacker Drive, Suite 1575
      Chicago, IL 60606
      800/228-2262
      dbalasa@aama-ntl.org

  5. Nora L. says:

    I have a continuing problem with medical assistants at this facility who say they are CMA’s when they did not graduate from a certified school or sit for the state exam. In this facility management is not always aware that there is a difference between a CMA (AAMA) verses someone who says they are a “certified medical assistant” because they completed their school’s exam. I have the “Scope of Legal Practice and Issues” that was sent to me years ago on my computer to reprint whenever I need to correct someone. And in this area an RMA is accepted same as a CMA (AAMA).

    • Thank you for your question. I have written other articles that you might find helpful. I will send you an e-mail and attach them.

      Only medical assistants who have passed the CMA (AAMA) Certification Examination and have kept their credential current by recertifying every five (5) years are permitted to call themselves “CMAs” or “CMAs (AAMA).” It is illegal for other medical assistants to use these designations, and legal action by the AAMA could result from such misuse.

      I will send these articles to you right away. 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
      20 N. Wacker Drive, Suite 1575
      Chicago, IL 60606
      800/228-2262
      dbalasa@aama-ntl.org

  6. Terri says:

    What about those agencies out there such as NCCT who also offer “National Credentials”(NCMA)? Many physicians are not aware of the difference because NCMA grads/MAs are going around stating they are nationally certified medical assistants as well. Is there anything that can be done to address this issue?

    • Thank you for this good question.

      The AAMA is well aware of situations such as the one you describe. We carefully monitor infringements on the legal usage of the CMA (AAMA) credential, and take action against any party that is in violation of any law. We also promote the CMA (AAMA) credential and title in many different ways, and to many varied audiences.

      It is legally permissible for an NCMA to state that she/he is “certified as a National Certified Medical Assistant.” It is not permissible for an NCMA to state that she/he is a “CMA (AAMA),” or a “CMA.”

      If you are aware of misuse of the CMA (AAMA) credential, please provide evidence to us, and we will contact the infringing party.

      Thank you in advance for your assistance.

      Donald A. Balasa, JD, MBA
      Executive Director, Legal Counsel
      American Association of Medical Assistants
      20 N. Wacker Drive, Suite 1575
      Chicago, IL 60606
      800/228-2262
      dbalasa@aama-ntl.org

      • Barbara McPhearson says:

        I am currently attending a school where we will be certificed by NCCT exam. The school states that this in nationally accredited and the same as the AAMA, is this true. ?

      • Thank you for your question.

        The NCMA test of the National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT) is accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA), as is the CMA (AAMA) of the Certifying Board of the American Association of Medical Assistants. Nevertheless, there are great differences between the NCMA of the NCCT and the CMA (AAMA) in eligibility requirements and other aspects of the two certification programs.

        I hope this is helpful.

        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

  7. Bre Beason says:

    Hello Mr. Balasa,
    I’am a Medical Assistant. I recieved my certificates from the Regional Occupational Program in my area which is accredited through the Western Association of Schools.However when I went to inquire online about becoming a CMA (AAMA) I found out that my school didn’t make the cut so I can’t sit for the test. Is there another exam that I would be able to sit for other than the AAMA to become certified?

    • Thank you for your question.

      I will send you an e-mail that will contain some information from the Medical Board of California regarding medical assisting. I would advise you to read the information carefully, and direct your questions to the Medical Board of California.

      I hope you will find helpful the information I will be sending you.

      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

  8. Traci (CMA)AAMA says:

    Is it true that some malpractice insurance premiums may be reduced if physicians hire a CMA(AAMA). How do we get employers/HR to notice the value of a certified MA as opposed to one that isn’t. In my area, we have so many schools that offer MA program but only a few that are CAAHEP or ABHES accredited. We struggle with getting students to sit for the exam when they can get hired without it.

    • Thank you for your question.

      I have been informed that some malpractice insurance carriers do reduce premiums for medical offices and clinics that only employ CMAs (AAMA). I will continue to write articles pointing out the many advantages of hiring CMAs (AAMA). I will e-mail you some of my articles–in CMA Today and in other publications–that give many reasons why CMAs (AAMA) should be the hiring choice for outpatient healthcare delivery settings.

      Also, the President, Immediate Past President, and Vice President exhibited at the annual meeting of the Professional Association of Healthcare Office Management last month. They were able to speak with scores of office managers who make hiring decisions for ambulatory settings, and emphasized the value of employing CMAs (AAMA).

      I hope this is helpful. I will send you my articles right away.

      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

  9. Tracey Ridley says:

    How long does it take for the AAMA to place you in the system as Passing the exam? When I completed the exam, I received a computized printout stating that I passed. However, when a potential employer go online to see if I passed, it doesn’t show my information. How long does it take before potential employers can go online to check if I passed?

    • AAMA Administrator says:

      First of all, congratulations on being notified that you passed the exam! If you took the exam in October 2010 you should receive your scores by about November 25, 2010. If you have changed your address since you applied for the exam, please call us at 1/800/228-2262 and give us your address change.

      Employers should be able to go online to verify your CMA (AAMA) certification on or after November 20, 2010. You should receive your certificate and wallet card no later than December 15, 2010.

      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

  10. oluranti adigun says:

    Good day sir, i have finished my medical assistants courses from accredited school since january this year, since then, it had been difficult for me to get job, even financial aids has been sending letter of re payment to me. I just got letter from AAMA that am going to do my certification exam in december. My question is these 1) why the gaps so long like that?
    2) what makes it so long?
    3) are they going to send the center of the exam to me or am i going back to my former college to do it because i had already relocated?
    I will be so glad if my questions are answered accordingly. Thanks

    • AAMA Administrator says:

      First of all, I’m very sorry to hear of your difficulties in obtaining a job. Secondly, thank you for voicing our concerns about taking the CMA (AAMA) exam.

      Our records show that you have been assigned a 90-day testing period that begins on October 1, 2010 ends on December 30, 2010. Your application was received in July 2010 so you successfully met the application deadline. I believe you may have some questions about the permit you received for scheduling an appointment.

      Please call 1/800/228-2262 on Monday, November 8, 2010 and ask to speak with me. Perhaps I can help you better understand the exam scheduling process.

      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. Nancy H. says:

    I am going to graduate from an accredited school, Virginia College, for Medical Assistant in December, 2010. Our school is preparing us for the RMA test and I was wondering if it is benefial to take the CMA tests as well? Is one better than the other? Thanks

  12. minerva villanueva says:

    what book should i buy to study for my certified medical assistant exam can i borrow the books from the library please e-mail me bask as soon as possible,

    thank you so much

    • AAMA Administrator says:

      You are wise to focus on studying for the exam. While it is a conflict of interest for the AAMA Certifying Board to recommend any specific textbooks, we can provide these study suggestions as a guide:

      Areas of knowledge and topics covered in the examination are listed in the “Content Outline for the CMA (AAMA) Certification/Recertification Examination.” It is recommended that examinees become familiar with the subject matter and topics listed in this document. Reviewing current books and publications that cover administrative and clinical content for medical assisting and anatomy and physiology, medical terminology and laboratory textbooks will also help candidates prepare for the exam.

      Information is available through the Internet and at any public library. Search on phrases such as “medical assisting textbooks” or “books in print.” Medical assisting textbooks can also be found on commercial sites such as http://www.amazon.com. If you use a public or school library, ask a librarian for the reference, Books in Print, publisher volume. This listing is published annually and contains a complete listing of United States publishers.

      To help you test your knowledge in the areas of anatomy and physiology and medical terminology, please click on the following links:

      http://www.aama-ntl.org/becomeCMA/practice_anatphys.aspx
      http://www.aama-ntl.org/becomeCMA/practice_term.aspx

      The CMA (AAMA) Certification/Recertification Examination is offered by the Certifying Board of the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) organization. The National Board of Medical Examiners—responsible for many national examinations for physicians—serves as test consultant for the examination. As a result the reliability, validity and security of the examination are of the highest order and greater numbers of employers are preferring—even demanding—that their medical assistants be CMA (AAMA) certified.

      I hope this is helpful.

      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

  13. I am having trouble financially coming up with $250 to recert. Is there any help out there to finace the test?

    • AAMA Administrator says:

      Dear Ms. Tipsword:

      Please accept my apologies for this late reply due to time away due to the holidays.

      We need to first clarify if you are a candidate for recertification. Please e-mail me at ajohnson@aama-ntl.org and provide the following information:

      -AAMA Certification ID Number
      -Medical assisting program graduation date
      -Name of institution where you completed your medical assisting program
      -City and state where institution is located.

      I will be able to assist you better upon receipt of this information.

      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

  14. Debi says:

    Hi Can you give me some direction on my CU for re-certification . I know I can do it through your web site. Can I get them for classes I take @ my local Hospice care facility if I am a volunteer ? through magazines The Dr .I work for receive ? Thanks

    Michigan CMA

  15. Lisa says:

    I graduated May 2012 from an MA program that was not accredited. we are the first class. However the school has accreditation through the HEC. What if any exams am I able to take? This has been very confusing for me. I have been led in a few directions from my school. My class was all planning to take the National test, but then were told we might not be able to.. Please help

    • Thank you for your question and concerns. I will help to the best of my ability.

      What does “HEC” stand for? You state that the school from which you graduated is accredited by HEC. It is important to ascertain this before I can answer your question.

      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. Glorua Ramsey says:

    Good evening, I finished school for my MA diploma in August of 2010. I checked to see what paperwork I would need and transcripts were one of the items. The problem is the school states I owe them and not give me or them tranacripts. Is there anything I can do so that I can take my cert test? Really frustrated!!

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