Accreditation, Certification and the CMA (AAMA) Credential

Educational Requirements for Different Medical Assisting Credentials

I have received questions to the following effect: “Which medical assisting academic programs are ‘CMA (AAMA) programs,’ and which are ‘RMA(AMT) programs’?”

This is an imprecise way to frame the question.  It is better to ask what the eligibility pathways are for the CMA (AAMA) Certification Examination, and for the RMA(AMT) Examination.

Applicants for the CMA (AAMA) Certification Examination for initial certification must be graduates of CAAHEP (Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs) or ABHES (Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools) accredited medical assisting programs, and must meet the other requirements established by the Certifying Board of the AAMA. (Information regarding such programs can be found on the AAMA website.)

There are five eligibility routes for the RMA(AMT) Examination.  One of the five is the education route.  Note the following from the website of AMT:

Graduated from an accredited MA program (ROUTE 1–Education)

  • Training programs must be accredited by an agency approved by the DOE
  • Training programs must have 720 clock hours of instruction, including at least 160 clock hours of externship
  • If graduated more than 4 years ago, must also have 3 out of the last 5 years of work experience as an MA in both clinical and administrative areas

Consequently, in addition to graduates of CAAHEP and ABHES accredited medical assisting programs, graduates of medical assisting programs in schools that are accredited by an accrediting body recognized by the United States Department of Education (DOE), and that have the required clock hours of instruction and externship specified above, are eligible for the RMA(AMT) Examination.

8 thoughts on “Educational Requirements for Different Medical Assisting Credentials”

  1. CMA’s in Bend Oregon are being told we don’t have the credintials to enter labs, radiology or refill pt rx’s w/o the doctor signing first in CPOE. We was told that they contacted the AAMA and this is what they was informed.

  2. I have a CMA,RMA and RPT. I work as a CMA, and find it difficult to decide whether to keep the RMA or let it go? Also I met all the requirements for the RPT except the blood draws, can I still recertify without taking the test. I pasted in 2013 for the RPT, RMA, and CMA any advice would be great?????

  3. Thank you for your questions. First of all, there is nothing to prohibit you from maintaining all three credentials unless the cost of recertifying multiple credentials to be problematic.if you decide you prefer to keep just one you might want to review the article that can be found at this link which explains why employers often prefer the CMA (AAMA) credential:

    The AAMA does not offer the RPT credential so we can’t really answer your question about recertifying your RPT credential.

    Questions about recertifying your CMA (AAMA) credential are answered at this link: If you have any additional questions about recertification, please feel free to contact the AAMA at 1/800/228-2262 and ask to speak to a staff member about rercertification.

    I hope this is helpful.

    Anna Johnson

    Anna Johnson, CAE
    Associate Executive Director/Director of Certification
    American Association of Medical Assistants
    Ph: 800/228-2262 | Fax: 312/899-1259 |
    The CMA (AAMA): Health Care’s Most Versatile Professional®

  4. I am beginning work as a Phlebotomist and want to get certified to further my career goals. The only related program in my area is to become a Certified Medical Assistant. Would this program allow me to apply for certification with phlebotomy or would it be better to look outside of my area for a phlebotomy specific program?

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