Do you want to work in the medical industry but don’t have much interest in human anatomy and physiology? If you aren’t a syringe and scalpel person, the medical assistant job can be perfect for you. Check out all the details and procedures to apply for certified medical assistant jobs to secure one with a guarantee.
What is a CMA – Certified Medical Assistant?
A certified medical assistant is the one who assists the healthcare centre or the hospital for proper functioning. They handle administration, perform reception duties and assist patients with non-treatment-related tasks. They also help doctors and physicians to prepare and arrange before and after tests and surgeries. Like any legal nurse consultant, they also help patients redeem insurance and get past legal issues.
How to become a certified medical assistant?
Aspiring candidates can work as CMAs with or without certificates. Though their diploma in technical fields, patient nursing, and laboratory works can suffice the skill set requirements, many healthcare centres and established hospitals look for certified professionals to ensure efficiency. If you plan to opt for this career path, you need to follow the below steps.
- Enrol in nursing or medical assisting program after your high school graduation in a recognized health care education school or college. Ensure the colleges have CAAHEP and ABHES healthcare studies accreditation to permit eligibility for the exam.
- After completing the diploma course or graduation, register yourself in AAMA (American Association of Medical Assistants) to apply for the CMA certificate exam.
- The exam is conducted remotely such that you can choose a favourable centre to appear at your ease. Check your eligibility and fee payment to the proper category while registering for the test.
- If you qualify for the exam with a minimum of 72% or 360 marks out of 500, you can get a certificate of Certified Medical Assistant to work with a license.
- The license is valid for five years, after which you have to reappear for a renewal test or choose to upgrade your skills and change the job course.
After obtaining the certificate and license, candidates can approach hospitals for on-site training or apply for paid jobs through reliable job hunting platforms like Velju.
CMA education and certification
Though the job of CMAs doesn’t require any medical knowledge like nurses or doctors, they should still have structured training in their core functions. Many accredited healthcare institutions or recognized online institutions offer a four-year medical assistant program for a certified degree and to prepare the candidates for CMA exams. The courses have academic subjects covering administration jobs, laboratory assistance, patient interaction, and support to healthcare facilities.
CMA certificate examination is a 200 question long MCQ test with three sections and four 40-minute time slots to attempt. The paper has 45 questions on administration, 80 on clinical studies, and 50 on general knowledge and logical reasoning. The applying candidates (just graduated freshers, with a gap of 12 months or repeaters) have to register, pay a $125 fee, and select their centres and slots to appear for this computer-based test.
What do CMAs do?
The daily tasks of a CMA include:
- They are front persons registering the patients for treatments and recording their details before sending them to the doctor’s diagnosis.
- They keep records of every test and medication, update the patients about payments, inform them about treatments and doctor’s advice, and schedule appointments.
- CMAs also prepare the patients and the equipment for lab tests or operations before the doctors and nurses arrive. However, they don’t administer any anaesthesia or preoperative drugs like any licensed vocational nurse.
- Prominently, they help in laboratory tests by collecting samples, maintaining records and reports, and performing basic tests.
- They elucidate the patients all about their treatment, stay in the centre, and all the facilities they get.
- Along with maintaining the clinical facilities and equipment up-to-date, they have to monitor multiple patient records and appointments in correspondence to avoid clashes in scheduled slots.
Similarities and differences between CMA and RMA
All the skills and tasks noted for CMAs are exactly the same for RMAs. Both should be graduated with basic medical assistance courses for certification eligibility. AAMA conducts the CMA certificate exam, whereas AMT (American Medical Technologists) conducts the RMA exam as the former isn’t accepted in every American state.
RMAs additionally require in-clinic training and experience of three to five years, whereas CMAs don’t need any. Another stark difference is that CMA’s license is valid for up to five years, but RMA’s license is only valid for three years.
Certified medical assistants in American states earn about $17 per hour in reputed healthcare centres, which sums up to $45,000 per year. The salary ranges from $40,000 to $50,000, differing with states and provided facilities. According to a recent survey, Alaska, Minnesota, and Washington are among the top payers.
No, CMAs need at least a high school certification and medical assistance degree (you can find online courses too!) to prove that they can handle basic administration, maintenance, and reporting tasks. However, many healthcare facilities don’t require a CMA certificate as mandatory proof for working.
A registered medical assistant and a certified medical assistant have the same duties, making their pay almost the same. RMAs can be highly paid in some areas as these assistants are more experienced than CMAs.