If you’re here, you might be an aspiring medical assistant or might be simply curious about pursuing a career in the healthcare industry.

But, what is a medical assistant? A medical assistant works alongside a physician, and their day-to-day duties can be branched under two categories –

  • Clinical Duties
  • Administrative Duties

A Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) focuses more on the clinical side of these responsibilities.

You’ve probably heard the term CCMA or want to know more about Clinical Medical Assistants.

In this guide, we cover everything from the duties of a CCMA, how to get certified, typical salaries, and how to get job-ready as a Clinical Medical Assistant faster and without student debt.

See: 12 Reasons to Become a Medical Assistant

What is a CCMA?

CCMA stands for Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA), and this certification is issued by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).

To be a certified CCMA, you have to sit for the exam, and once you clear that exam, you’re a Certified Clinical Medical Assistant.

According to a recent survey, over 89% of employers want their Medical Assistants to be certified.

Why Should You Get CCMA Certification?

When hiring medical assistants, employers generally prefer individuals with a CCMA certification, compared to Non-Certifed Medical Assistants. You’ve probably wondered which clinical medical assistant certification is the best.

A CCMA certification builds trust in the eyes of an employer, and it shows that you’re well-versed in the roles of a medical assistant.

As a Medical Assistant, you work with patients daily and help the physician treat the patient. A certification goes a long way in convincing the employer that they can rely on you (Are Medical Assistant Licenses Required?).

Another advantage of passing the exam and getting a CCMA certification is that it allows you to obtain college credits if you decide to go for medical studies in the future. (Also Read: CMAA Vs CCMA)

Where do CCMA’s Work and Who Hires Them?

Medical Assistants typically work in various healthcare settings, such as physician’s offices, clinics, outpatient care centers, hospitals, etc.

Since CCMA’s are more qualified for clinical tasks, they also usually work in specialized healthcare settings, such as ophthalmology and obstetric clinics.

Read more on Where Can Medical Assistants Work.

What Are The Roles And Responsibilities Of A CCMA?

Since CCMA’s are considered more qualified to handle clinical tasks, they are generally given advanced clinical medical assistant job duties, which can include –

Clinical Responsibilities

  • Informing patients about treatments and procedures
  • Checking and recording patients’ vital signs
  • Phlebotomy (drawing blood) {See: Can Medical Assistants Draw Blood?}
  • Maintaining and prepping examination rooms for patients both before and after each consultation
  • Conducting initial interviews with patients regarding their symptoms and medical histories
  • Assisting the doctors or physicians with physical examinations
  • Dressing up wounds, changing dressings, and removing sutures
  • Assisting physicians with essential laboratory exams, collecting specimens required by the physicians, and prepping them for further analysis
  • Instructing patients with prescribed medications as well as diets
  • Maintaining follow-ups with patients after consultations
  • Helping patients with transmitting prescriptions

Apart from that, you can also be asked to handle a few administrative tasks, which can include –

Administrative Responsibilities

  • Recording and updating medical records of patients
  • Helping patients with diagnostic tests as well as hospital admissions
  • Patient data entry
  • Updating insurance forms for patients
  • Supervising bookkeeping and billing
  • Answering calls and scheduling appointments

Also see: Medical Administrative Assistant

Medical Assistant vs Medical Billing & Coding

If you want to know what skills you can put on your resume, you can check out the top 15 medical assistant skills.

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How To Get Your CCMA Certification and Become a Certified Medical Assistant?

There’s so much information available online on Medical Assistants & CCMAs. This can make it challenging to find a step-by-step roadmap on how to become a medical assistant.

Here is a step-by-step guide on what you need to do to get certified as a CCMA.

#1 Earn your high school diploma or a GED

Even though a relevant degree is not required to enter the field of medical assistance, a high school diploma or a GED is the minimum requirement.

Also see: Is Medical Assistant Degree Required?

#2 Make sure you are eligible to sit for your CCMA examination

As we mentioned earlier, the NHA conducts the CCMA examination. Before you apply for the exam, make sure that you meet the eligibility criteria. You need to meet one of the following requirements –

  • Completing a medical assistant education program, course, or training

There are a lot of training programs and education programs available, both online and offline, for medical assistants. Different institutions, such as community colleges, technical universities, and other educational institutions, offer such programs. A medical assistant training program needs to be completed within the last 5 years of sitting for your CCMA exam.

See also: Medical Assistant Programs Cost

  • Experience of a minimum of 1 year as a supervised medical assistant

Even if you do not complete a medical assistant education program or training, you are still eligible to sit for the CCMA exam if you have worked as a medical assistant under supervision for a minimum of 1 year.

Note – In today’s market, finding a medical assistant job without training or certification could be challenging. It is, therefore, recommended to complete a training program and then sit for your examination. If you’ve wondered how long does it take to become a medical assistant, well, if you choose one of the online medical assistant programs, you can start your career within 6-8 months.

Also see: Medical Assistant on the Job Training

#3 Register online for the exam

After ensuring your eligibility for the examination, it is time to register online to sit for the CCMA exam via the NHA website.

#4 Schedule the exam according to your preference

Once you register, you can select a time and date according to your preference and the slots available on the website. The exam is held at different pre-decided examination centers like NHA-accredited schools. There is also the option of taking an online proctored exam.

To prepare for the CCMA exams, there are a variety of resources available online and on the NHA website, such as test guides, practice questions, and a CCMA exam outline for your reference.

However, a good training program should prepare you for the CCMA certification exam.

See: Accelerated Medical Assistant Program

#5 Sit for the exam

The exam comprises 180 total multiple-choice questions, out of which 150 are scored, and 30 are unscored. The duration of the CCMA exam is 3 hours.

#6 Get your results

A preliminary exam report will be sent to you after you complete your exam, which varies according to each exam center. Generally, the NHA website will allow you to view your results within 48 hours of taking the exam.

A total of two attempts will be given to clear the CCMA exam. If you do not clear after your second try, you will have to re-register and sit for the exam 30 days after your second attempt.

If you do not clear the exam on the third try, you can re-register and sit for your exam again after one year of each subsequent attempt.

See more: Certified Medical Assistant

What Is The CCMA Exam and What Does It Comprise?

The CCMA exam generally tests a medical assistant’s proficiency in various subjects and areas that are essential for a medical assistant.

The exam is typically given on a computer at different NHA-affiliated test centers or schools. There is also an option of giving the exam online, with live proctoring. No electronic devices, calculators, or study guides are allowed inside the test centers.

The duration of this exam is 3 hours, and there are a total of 180 multiple-choice questions, out of which 150 are scored and 30 are unscored questions. Most of the questions are focused on the subject of clinical patient care.

Here’s the complete breakdown of the different topics –

How Much Does The CCMA Exam Cost?

The CCMA examination costs $160 for each attempt. Further, the certificate you acquire will need to be renewed after every two years, which costs an additional $179.

How To Renew Your CCMA Certification?

After you clear the exam and obtain your CCMA certification, it is required to renew it after every two years. If your CCMA certification has not been renewed for over two years, the certification is nullified, and you will have to sit for the CCMA exam again.

Here’s the two-step process to renew your CCMA Certification –

  • Completing your 10 continuing education (CE) credits
  • Completing your renewal payment of $179.

CCMA Salaries and Job Outlook

A career as a CCMA acts as a gateway into the growing healthcare field.

Recently it has been seen that Registered Nurses, physicians, and other healthcare professionals started their careers as Medical Assistants.

See also: Medical Assistant Job Outlook

CCMAs generally are preferred by physicians and other healthcare professionals due to their competence in clinical skills and may even be paid much higher than other medical assistants.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the Certified Medical Assistant salary is $ 38,190, and the employment of Medical Assistants is expected to grow by approximately 16% from 2021 to 2031.

The job outlook for CCMAs is promising, there are multiple places you can work as a medical assistant, and if you are interested in this career, this is the best time to get started with your training. You can also choose to be a specialist and become a pediatric medical assistant.

Read More:

Medical Assistant vs Nurse
Medical Laboratory Technician

Other Related FAQs

#1 What are the key differences between a CMA and a CCMA?

What is a Medical Assistant?  Both CMAs and CCMAs are medical assistants with different certifications. The certifying authorities are different in this case. While the CMA certification is offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA), the CCMA certification is offered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA). (Read More: Certified Medical Assistants Vs Certified Nursing Assistants)

#2 Is a CCMA certification legitimate?

Since the NHA offers the CCMA certification, employers consider it to be of great value.

NHA is a nationally-recognized body, and if you’re certified by NHA, It tells employers that you have a thorough knowledge of clinical tasks.

#3 Is the CCMA exam difficult?

The CCMA exam comprises more than 50 percent of complex clinical questions, which can be challenging. However, according to statistics, the passing rate for this exam is approximately 77%,

Enrolling in the best training program can prove to be the key, as a good program will help you prepare for the exam.

#4 How long are medical assistant programs and courses?

The duration of any medical assistant program varies, depending on the type of program.

While an associate’s degree in medical assistance from a university takes up to two years, online certification programs may take 3 to 9 months.

See more: Medical Assistant Courses

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