Certification and the CMA (AAMA) Credential

Who Can Take the CMA (AAMA) Exam

Q. Who is eligible to take the CMA (AAMA) Exam?

A. The only individuals eligible to take the CMA (AAMA) Certification Examination and become CMAs (AAMA) are graduates of CAAHEP or ABHES accredited medical assisting programs.

Please visit https://www.aama-ntl.org/cma-aama-exam/eligibility for more details on the eligibility requirements or contact the AAMA Certification Department at cmaexam@aama-ntl.org to speak with someone who can assist in determining eligibility for the exam.

495 thoughts on “Who Can Take the CMA (AAMA) Exam”

  1. I want to ask if I’m eligible if I haven’t taken the first cma test for the past 5 years since I graduated from a medical assisting program in 2014

    1. Hi Lisa,

      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.

      Please provide the name and location (address, city and state) of the institution where you completed your medical assisting program. This, along with your actual graduation date, can help us determine if you are eligible for the CMA (AAMA) examination. You can send that to me directly at kgottwaldt@aama-ntl.org.

      Thank you,
      Katie Gottwaldt

  2. Can you email me the steps on becoming CMA certified too please! I have been a MA for 20 years and never went to ma school I was training by the docs thank you!

  3. Can you email me the steps on becoming CMA certified too please! I have been a MA for 20 years and never went to ma school I was training by the docs thank you! I’m in Indianapolis In.

    1. Hello Tara,

      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.

      Individuals whose previous education does not provide eligibility for the exam may wish to contact the ABHES or CAAHEP accredited medical assisting programs in their area to learn which institutions offer advanced placement opportunities for previous educational or work experience. If advance placement is available you may not need to complete the entire medical assisting curriculum in order to graduate.

      A listing of CAAHEP accredited medical assisting programs can be reviewed at http://www.caahep.org. For ABHES accredited medical assisting programs click on http://www.abhes.org. Some of these programs offer courses on-line. Look for programs that are noted to be “online”, “distance education”, or a combination of “distance” and “residential” opportunities.

      I hope this is helpful. If we can be of further assistance, please let us know.

      Best Regards,
      Katie Gottwaldt
      Director of Certification
      American Association of Medical Assistants

  4. I went to Medical Careers Institute in Richmond, Virginia ( Moorefield Campus) in 2010. I had graduated in 2011 so it has been close to 8 years since I had graduated. I have been working with direct patient care for 7 years, but not as a Medical Assistant. Am I able to take the certification or do I have to take a refresher course?

    1. Good afternoon Nene,

      Yes, you are eligible under eligibility category #2, as the school you listed was and is ABHES accredited. No further courses are needed to pursue the CMA (AAMA) certification.

      To apply, please follow our exam application steps on our website here: http://www.aama-ntl.org/cma-aama-exam/application-steps#.XEIbJVxKiM8

      If you have any questions at all, please do not hesitate to contact us at 800/228-2262.

      Thank you,

      Katie Gottwaldt
      Director of Certification
      American Association of Medical Assistants

  5. If a person’s a felon can they qualify to take the cma after completing a medical office billing school?

  6. Hello Ms. Chambers, and thank you for your question.

    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.

    If eligible, you would need to complete the attached CMA (AAMA) Certification/
    Recertification Examination Request for Waiver Form and submit all appropriate documentation listed under the “Documentation Requirements” section. http://aama-ntl.org/docs/default-source/cma-exam/cma-exam-request-waiver.pdf

    To approve a waiver request, documentation of the completion of the required sentence resulting from any felony conviction or plea of guilt is needed.

    If you are unsure if your program is CAAHEP or ABHES accredited, please provide the name and location (address, city and state) of the institution where you completed your medical assisting program. This, along with your actual graduation date, can help us determine if you are eligible for the CMA (AAMA) examination.

    Thank you,
    Katie Gottwaldt
    Director of Certification
    American Association of Medical Assistants
    Ph: 800/228-2262 | Fax: 312/899-1259 | http://www.aama-ntl.org
    CMA (AAMA): Sets the Bar for Excellence in Medical Assisting

  7. If I am currently certified as a CCMA through NHA, with current work experience as a Medical Assistant, is there a way to take the AAMA without doing another program?

  8. I graduated from an accredited medical assistant program back in 1998 and I have a diploma. I ended up getting into billing and collections vs patient care. I miss working with patients and I would like to find out how I would go about renewing my certification or what steps I would need to take. I’m hoping I don’t have to take my courses all over again.

    Any guidance that can be offered would be greatly appreciated.

    1. Good afternoon Valerie,

      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 Exam.

      Please provide me with the name and location (address, city and state) of the institution where you completed your medical assisting program. This, along with your actual graduation date, can help us determine if you are eligible for the CMA (AAMA) examination.

      Thank you,
      Katie Gottwaldt
      AAMA Director of Certification
      kgottwaldt@aama-ntl.org

      1. Thank you Katie for responding so quickly. I graduated from Bryman College which was part of the Corinthian Colleges at the time I believe. I graduated from the El Monte, CA campus when it still existed. My graduation date would have been late 1998. I don’t have the exact date as my diploma is not readily available to me at this moment. Do you think this is enough information? Please let me know.

        Thank you,
        Valerie

      2. Hello Katie,

        I was wondering if you had any luck on locating information on my certificate based on the information I provided? Please let me know if you need any additional information.

        Thank you,
        Valerie

        1. Hello Valerie,

          I did research whether your program was CAAHEP or ABHES accredited, and unfortunately, it was not. Thus, you are not eligible to sit for the CMA (AAMA) certification exam at this time.

          I wish you the best of luck in the pursuit of your medical assisting career, and if there anything else I can do for you or questions I can answer, please do let me know.

          Thank you,
          Katie Gottwaldt

  9. I graduated with a Medical Assistant Diploma from Andon College in Stockton in 2000, the college has since closed down. I am trying to obtain a Medical Assistant position with the State of California, but you must be certified. How do I go about seeing if the school I went to was recognized as a CAAHEP or ABHES? Or how would go about to become certified?

    Thank you in advance.

    1. Hello Isabel,

      We were able to look up the program you attended and verified that it was in fact ABHES accredited. Because of this, you would be eligible for the CMA (AAMA) Certification exam as a category 2 non recent graduate.

      Documentation required to sit for the exam as a category 2 is an official transcript, however, you stated that the school is now closed.

      When schools close, the generally accepted practice is for the school to make arrangements with the state-licensing agency to store their records.

      For information on a state-licensing agency one can go to the following websites: http://www.nasasps.org/listing-of-regular-members and http://www.dpinnell.com/ApprovalandLicensureAgencies.htm

      Options that I suggest to you are as follows:

      – Obtain a letter from the California State Licensing Agency which verifies that you completed the medical assisting program and provides the date of completion. Send this letter to us at cmaexam@aama-ntl.org, along with a copy of your transcript.
      – Obtain a letter from the program that you attended which verifies that you completed the medical assisting program and provides the date of completion. Send this letter to cmaexam@aama-ntl.org, along with a copy of your transcript.

      You can learn more about our exam in our candidate handbook and apply online at the link here: https://www.aama-ntl.org/cma-aama-exam/apply.

      Thank you, and I do hope that’s helpful. You may contact me directly if you have any additional questions.

      Katie Gottwaldt
      Director of Certification
      kgottwaldt@aama-ntl.org

  10. Good morning
    I am a certified nursing assistant and I am interested in becoming a medical assistant.
    I would like to know where do I go and the cost to go. Will the process be long if so how long.

    1. Thank you for your question. Could you please tell me in what state you are located? The medical assisting laws vary somewhat from state to state.

      Also, what area of medical assistant is of greatest interest to you (e.g., clinical, administrative)?

      I look forward to your responses.

      Donald A. Balasa, JD, MBA
      Chief Executive Officer, Legal Counsel
      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®

  11. Hello,
    I am looking to become a medical assistant and would need to take the school online. Is there a list of schools that are accredited I can view to see which ones are the best?

    Thank you,

    1. Hello,

      You can find accredited medical assisting program information at the following websites:

      CAAHEP-accredited schools: https://www.caahep.org/Students/Find-a-Program.aspx
      ABHES-accredited schools: https://ams.abhes.org/directory/
      US Dept of Education: https://ope.ed.gov/dapip/#/home
      CHEA: https://www.chea.org/search-institutions

      You would need to research each school individually to find whether they offer online programs.

      Thank you,
      Katie Gottwaldt
      Director of Certification

  12. Hello, I graduated from the medical assistant program 15 years ago. I’m not certified, however I want to be certified now. Can I still be certify or is it it too late. Pls advise. Thank you

    1. Thank you for your question. If you graduated from a CAAHEP- or ABHES-accredited medical assisting program you are eligible for the CMA (AAMA) Certifying Examination regardless of how long ago you graduated. Donald A. Balasa CEO Legal Counsel

  13. Hi, I wanted to know if I would be able to take the certification exam and what it is i need. I graduated about ten years ago but with life came kids and havent been able to get in the game because of lack of experience. What can i do.

    1. 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. Additionally, a 3-year pilot program has been launched which opens a new education pathway for medical assistants to become eligible to sit for the CMA (AAMA)® Certification Exam. You can access eligibility information on our website here: https://www.aama-ntl.org/cma-aama-exam/eligibility

      Please contact me at kgottwaldt@aama-ntl.org and provide the name and location (address, city and state) of the institution where you completed your medical assisting program. This, along with your actual graduation date, can help us determine if you are eligible for the CMA (AAMA) examination.

      Thank you,
      Katie Gottwaldt
      Director of Certification

  14. Hello, I graduated as a medical Assistant 2009 but I never work in the field, my question is I’m eligible to be certified? Any inf I will greatly appreciate it.

    1. Thank you for your question. Could you please email me the name of the school from which you obtained your medical assisting training in 2009? Could you also please include the city, state, and mailing address of the school?

      Once we have this information, one of our staff will get back to you.

      Donald A. Balasa, JD, MBA
      Chief Executive Officer, Legal Counsel
      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®

  15. Hi good afternoon, I graduated from a medical office assistant program 3 years ago but I never taken the exam to be certified. My school that I went too close down. Is there anyway I can take the exam.

    1. Thank you for your question.
      Please email the name of your program, the city it was located in as well as the graduation date to cmaexam@aama-ntl.org. We will check into your program and let you know if you are eligible.

  16. Hi I took the medical assistance curse back in 2005 I completed the corse and got my diploma but didn’t take the test, can I still take it I did it at Mandl school In ny ny

    1. Good afternoon Jeanine,

      I can confirm that your program was/is ABHES accredited, thus you would be eligible to sit for the CMA (AAMA) exam as a category 2: Nonrecent graduate of a CAAHEP or ABHES-accredited medical assisting program. Below are the application steps.

      Step 1: Create a profile on our website and begin the application process online here: https://www.aama-ntl.org/cma-aama-exam/apply.

      Step 2: Send an official, unopened transcript to the AAMA.

      Step 3: Access our Candidate Handbook for important exam information: https://www.aama-ntl.org/docs/default-source/cma-exam/cma-exam-app.pdf?sfvrsn=40

      Step 4: Receive scheduling permit via email and schedule your exam.

      I hope this information is helpful. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at any time.

      Thank you,
      Katie Gottwaldt
      Director of Certification
      American Association of Medical Assistants

    1. Hi Andrea,

      If you 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), you would be eligible to sit for the CMA (AAMA) Certification Exam.

      Additionally, a 3-year pilot program has been launched which opens a new education pathway for medical assistants to become eligible to sit for the CMA (AAMA)® Certification Exam. You can learn whether you would meet the eligibility criteria by viewing the details on our website here: https://www.aama-ntl.org/cma-aama-exam/eligibility

      Please contact us at cmaexam@aama-ntl.org and provide the name and location (address, city and state) of the institution where you completed your medical assisting program. This, along with your actual graduation date, can help us determine if you are eligible for the CMA (AAMA) exam

      Thank you,
      Katie Gottwaldt
      AAMA Director of Certification

  17. I have 8 years in the medical field. 4 years working with developmentally disabled adults. 2 years as a CNA at Spectrum Health Contuining care on fuller st. Grand Rapids and 2 years at Butterworth Hospital. I would like to know if there’s advanced placement courses and if you have to have an externship to take the exam?

    1. Hi Chelsea,

      In order to be eligible to sit for the CMA (AAMA) Certification Exam, an individual must 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).

      Additionally, a 3-year pilot program has been launched which opens a new education pathway for medical assistants to become eligible to sit for the CMA (AAMA)® Certification Exam. This pathway requires completion of an externship or medical assisting work experience in an outpatient setting following completion of postsecondary medical assisting program. You can learn whether you would meet the eligibility criteria by viewing the details on our website here: https://www.aama-ntl.org/cma-aama-exam/eligibility

      Please contact us at cmaexam@aama-ntl.org and provide the name and location (address, city and state) of the institution where you completed your medical assisting program. This, along with your actual graduation date, can help us determine if you are eligible for the CMA (AAMA) exam.

      Thank you,
      Katie Gottwaldt
      AAMA Director of Certification

  18. I have 2 Class A misdemeanor Assaults on my background. would I still be eligible to take the exam after completing the certification and CMA credentials?

    1. Hello,

      Only candidates who have plead guilty to a felony or had a professional license, registration, or
      certification denied, revoked, suspended or subjected to probationary conditions by a regulatory authority or certification board must complete a CMA (AAMA) Certification Exam Request for Waiver Form before sitting for the exam or recertifying their CMA (AAMA) credential. The sentence or any sanctions must have been fully completed to be considered eligible for the exam or recertification.

      Please review the following documents for more information:
      – CMA (AAMA) Certification Exam Request for Waiver Form: https://www.aama-ntl.org/docs/default-source/cma-exam/cma-exam-request-waiver.pdf
      – AAMA Code of Conduct and Disciplinary Standards: https://www.aama-ntl.org/docs/default-source/cma-exam/code-of-conduct-and-disciplinary-standards.pdf?sfvrsn=6
      – Exam Eligibilty Requirements for the CMA (AAMA) Exam: https://www.aama-ntl.org/cma-aama-exam/eligibility

      Thank you,
      Katie Gottwaldt
      AAMA Director of Certification

  19. Hi there,
    I am currently a full time student at Ferris State University and as I approach my graduation ceremony this May I will have earned my Bachelor of Science degree with a major in integrated studies. I would like to start working in a hospital setting as soon as possible and would really appreciate it if someone could send me more information on what I would need to do become a certified medical assistant in Grand Rapids Michigan.
    Thank you for your time!

  20. If I received certificate inn 1995 can I still take the exam to be certified our what can I do at this point.

  21. I graduated in 2002 with a diploma of medical Assistant, I’ve been a Cna for about 26yrs,i have a continuing education certificate for patient Care Tech in which i obtained from Atlanta Tech, I’m also a Medication Aide but i work as a lab collector so therefore I’ve stayed up on my skills and now i would
    Like to know if I’m still able to take my MA test or have i waited to long?

    1. From what I understand, all you need is to be employed using related skills, at least 6 months in a row and also have graduated from an accredited program. Then you can register and pay fee to sit for the exam. Good luck!
      Be sure to confirm this when you register.

      1. To be eligible for the CMA (AAMA) Certification Exam, an individual must be a graduate CAAHEP (www.caahep.org) or ABHES (www.abhes.org) accredited medical assisting program. Work experience doesn’t factor in when determining eligibility for the CMA (AAMA) Certification Exam.
        There is no deadline for sitting for the CMA (AAMA) Certification Examination for graduates of CAAHEP- or ABHES-accredited medical assisting programs.

  22. Thank you for your question.

    To be eligible to take the CMA (AAMA) Certification Exam, an individual must complete a medical assisting program that is accredited by CAAHEP (www.caahep.org) or ABHES (www.abhes.org). The AAMA has also launched a pilot program in which an individual must be a graduate of a qualified postsecondary medical assisting program which meets certain requirements. You can review more about eligibility for the exam on our website here: https://www.aama-ntl.org/cma-aama-exam/eligibility

    In addition, please email the Certification Department of the AAMA at CMAExam@aama-ntl.org and provide the following information to determine your eligibility:

    • Name of the school you attended
    • Location (including city, state, and zip) of the school you attended
    • The year you completed the program

    Thank you,
    AAMA Certification

  23. Good Morning!
    My name is Ana I. Quinones and I graduated early this year in May for Medical Assistant from Capital Community College. I believe I have until December 2020 to take the CMA test at the cost of $150.00. Can someone please reply or contact me ASAP because every-time I call the 1-800 number the automated system says your office is closed. I need help to sign up to take the test. Please & thank you!

  24. My question is how long after the Graduation i can sit for the exam?? How much time i have After the graduation to apply for the CMA exam??

    1. Hi Mereen,

      Completing students of a CAAHEP or ABHES-accredited medical assisting program may take the CMA (AAMA) Certification Exam no more than 30 days prior to completing their formal education and practicum.

      You would be able to take advantage of the recent graduate exam fee of $125 for 12 months after graduation. After 12 months, you would be considered a non-recent graduate.

      You can learn more by accessing the CMA (AAMA) Certification Exam Application here: https://www.aama-ntl.org/docs/default-source/cma-exam/cma-exam-app.pdf?sfvrsn=42

      You can also contact the AAMA Certification Department with any questions at cmaexam@aama-ntl.org

      Best Regards,
      AAMA Certifcation

    1. Hi Jasmine,

      Those who have a felony charge must have completed their sentence in order to be eligible to sit for the CMA (AAMA) certification exam or to recertify as a CMA (AAMA). We ask those with a felony charge to complete the CMA (AAMA) Certification/ Recertification Examination Request for Waiver Form and submit all documentation required within found at the link here: https://www.aama-ntl.org/docs/default-source/cma-exam/cma-exam-request-waiver.pdf?sfvrsn=20

      Misdemeanors do not require the waiver form to be completed when applying for the exam or recertification.

      Should you have any additional questions, please contact us at cmaexam@aama-ntl.org.

      Thank you,
      AAMA Certification

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