Accreditation, Certification and the CMA (AAMA) Credential

From the AAMA Annual Conference in St. Louis, Missouri

Questions have arisen about the 60-month-after-graduation requirement for the CMA (AAMA) Certification Examination, and eligibility to recertify by retesting.

  1. Individuals who have graduated from a medical assisting program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) on or after January 1, 2010, must take and pass the CMA (AAMA) Certification Examination within 60 months after the date of graduation. Individuals who graduated before January 1, 2010, are not subject to the 60-month requirement. In other words, according to current policy of the Certifying Board of the AAMA, an individual who graduated from a CAAHEP or ABHES accredited medical assisting program prior to January 1, 2010, is not subject to any time limit for taking and passing the CMA (AAMA) Certification Examination and being awarded the CMA (AAMA) credential.
  2. Prior to the June, 1998 administration of the CMA (AAMA) Certification Examination, there were eligibility pathways other than graduation from a CAAHEP or ABHES accredited medical assisting program. Generally, those who became CMAs (AAMA) prior to June of 1998 and were not graduates of an accredited program are eligible to recertify by continuing education or retesting. Such individuals are not forbidden from recertifying by retesting because they did not graduate from a CAAHEP or ABHES accredited program.

8 thoughts on “From the AAMA Annual Conference in St. Louis, Missouri”

  1. As program director of medical assisting at Edgecombe CC, I have had similar concerns regarding this issue. I am unable to attend National this year. There are quite a few medical assistants in the Eastern NC area that continue to practice without certifying and physicians have not yet or are just beginning to fully understand what meaningful use requirements mean for them. There are still quite a lot of previous graduates from the college that did not take the exam or took it and failed under the previous program director and these statistics continue to haunt my annual report if these students are allowed to come back and take the exam. It is not fair for reporting purposes for this to happen, especially if these were not my students and my program of study as I have made changes since she left 2 years ago. She was here 40 years. Please change this rule so that it states any student who has not taken and passed the exam within 60 months of graduation are ineligible to take the exam. Thank you.

  2. I have to say I disagree with your reasoning. One does not certify to satisfy a teacher’s reporting needs but rather for their own advancement. Because it was a teacher other than you, once again not a good reason. Sorry. Olive Devine CMA-A(AAMA)

  3. This is just one reason, it is not fair for graduates now to have regulations and previous graduates not to have the same regulations. Elizabeth Sprinkle, CMA (AAMA)

    1. It is not that simple. Things change and we need to embrace change, When I certified we were assured it was for life and that we would never have to re-certify. That changed some time ago.

  4. I am wondering…I was certified, but my certification just expired on September 30th. However, when I graduated from the college that I took the Medical assistant program at, I received an associates of Science degree in medical Assisting. Does having the certification still benefit me? Or does having a degree fulfill the meaningful use requirements?

  5. Meagan,

    Your Associates of Science has a wonderful educational base. It demonstrates commitment to your education. I applaud your efforts and hard work! Your question is a valid one and one that many others are asking themselves. Thanks for posing the question!

    As far as meaningful use (to my understanding) one must be credentialed (pass an exam by a credentialing body) and that credential must be maintained.

    In my opinion, it is imperative to continue our education. The maintaining of CEUs helps us to stay informed of industry changes, medical advancement, and uphold a high professional standard. Other professions are required to continue and maintain educational criteria; therefore, we should as well. I can’t call myself a nurse if I do not maintain my license. I cannot call myself a certified medical assistant – CMA (AAMA) – if I do not maintain my continuing education. This is the industry standard.

    1. Thank you, that makes a lot of sense. I appreciate your time. I guess I better go study up and prepare to take another test 😉

  6. I graduated in 2013 from a College in Minnesota. I took the AAMA exam and failed the 3 attempts. My professor was worried about getting her Bachelors during our class time. So now after spending around $54,000 now what do I do?

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