Certification and the CMA (AAMA) Credential, Professional Identity

Can Washington State Medical Assistants Use the “CMA” Initialism?

With a variety of certifications associated with the medical assisting profession, confusion runs rampant regarding who is permitted to write “CMA” after their name, thereby using the CMACM initialism. For instance, I received the following question:

I have been a CMA (AAMA) for many years and recently moved to Washington state. Washington law requires a medical assistant to register with the Washington Department of Health as a medical assistant-certified (MA-C) or a medical assistant-registered (MA-R) to be delegated certain clinical tasks. My question is this: Is an MA-C allowed to use the CMA initialism?

As you have stated, the MA-C and the MA-R are medical assisting credentials established by the Washington legislature and administered by the Washington Department of Health. They do not have a “legal existence” outside of the provisions of Washington law. The CMA (AAMA)® is a national medical assisting credential. The CMA (AAMA) Certification Program and the Certifying Board of the AAMA are accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies, the National Certification Commission, and under International Standard ISO:IEC 17024, Conformity Assessment—General Requirements for Bodies Operating Certification of Persons. The CMA (AAMA) has a national and international existence as a medical assisting credential.

Only medical assistants who have passed the CMA (AAMA) Certification Exam have been awarded the CMA (AAMA) credential by the Certifying Board of the AAMA and who have kept their CMA (AAMA) current by continuing education or testing are permitted to use the CMA (AAMA) designation. Not all Washington MA-Cs have a current CMA (AAMA). Only those MA-Cs who have a current CMA (AAMA) are permitted to use the CMA (AAMA) or CMACM initialisms after their names.

6 thoughts on “Can Washington State Medical Assistants Use the “CMA” Initialism?”

  1. So how does this apply to people who have taken the test through NCCT? Are we still certified and Ble to use CMA credentials?

    1. You may say that you have certification from the NCCT as a National Certified Medical Assistant. You may use the initialism NCMA. You may not use the initials CMA. Donald A. Balasa CEO & Legal Counsel

      1. Don, Why don’t you help push every non-profit and profit schools move in the direction that every MA be trained on a CMA level. Since the class time frame and test are the same. Can you push that?

        1. Thank you Keri. We will continue to do that! However it has become more difficult because of the sentiment in the state legislatures against regulation and standardization against the professions. Don

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