In most domains of the medical industry there are associations that medical professionals belong to. These associations offer their members many opportunities and benefits and chances for ultimate improvement in their careers. As a medical assistant you may feel that it is unlikely that there is an association out there that will benefit you. However this is not the case. The American Association of Medical Assistants exists to ensure that medical assistants are properly advocated for and that they have as many opportunities and resources available to them as their counterparts in other areas of the medical industry.
What Is A CMA (American Association Of Medical Assistants)?
A CMA (AAMA) is a Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) who has achieved certification through the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). As the medical industry becomes more advanced and more and more medical assistants are needed to meet the ever-growing demand for professionals, it becomes increasingly important to belong to the American Association of Medical Assistants. Many employers will not hire you without certification from this body. It is interesting to note that AAMA is the only association available that offers a credential for medical assistants in this country, making it your only option. However there are a large number of excellent benefits that come with belonging to an association such as this that will be outlined later.
“The mission of the American Association of Medical Assistants is to provide the medical assistant professional with education, certification, credential acknowledgment, networking opportunities, scope-of-practice protection, and advocacy for quality patient-centered health care”.
The CMA (AAMA) Advantage
Certification through AAMA is not compulsory, but there are several advantages to gaining this credential, including the following:
- Certification means a professional edge in the arena of medical assisting
- Certification means greater prestige among your peers as well as among potential and current employers
- Certification means better job security
- Certification means greater career advancement opportunities
- Certification means the opportunity for better pay
Because of the long educational route that you have to take to first become a medical assistant and then to qualify for certification, many employers require you to be certified as it proves that you possess exceptionally broad, thorough knowledge of the field in which you’re working, and that you care enough about your profession to attain that knowledge.
FAQs On Medical Assisting And The CMA (AAMA)
What is certification, and how is it obtained?
To earn certification through the AAMA you must:
- Complete a medical assisting educational program accredited by either the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES)
- Pass the CMA (AAMA) Certification Examination
Is Certification Permanent?
Certification through the AAMA must be renewed every 60 months by retaking the exam or by completing CEUs.
If I’m certified in one state and I move to another, is my credential still valid?
The CMA (AAMA) credential is a national certification recognized by employers across the country, so moving will not affect the validity of your credential.
How To Become A CMA (AAMA)
There are 8 basic steps involved in becoming a medical assistant:
- Step 1: Find out if you are eligible (the eligibility criteria can be found at http://www.aama-ntl.org/resources/library/CertElig.pdf)
- Step 2: Enroll in and complete an accredited medical assisting program
- Step 3: Apply for the exam
- Step 4: Prime your e-mail – give the AAMA a valid email address that they can use to contact you and notify them of any changes that you make to your email address
- Step 5: Schedule an exam appointment
- Step 6: Study!
- Step 7: Pass the CMA (AAMA) Certification/Recertification Examination
- Step 8: Keep your CMA (AAMA) credential current – this involves renewal of your credential every 60 months
Apply For The CMA (AAMA) Exam
The next step involves applying for the exam through the AAMA website. This will allow you to become a member of the association. The PDF application form can be found at http://www.aama-ntl.org/resources/library/ExamApp.pdf. After you have mailed in your application form, wait 30 days to receive a response from the AAMA. Be patient and do not contact them unless sufficient time has elapsed since you made your application to write the exam. You will be sent an email regarding your eligibility for the exam. According to the association’s website “You will receive an e-mail with Scheduling Permit instructions no later than 20 days before your 90-day testing period begins.
You then must do the following:
- Log in online and print out the Scheduling Permit.
- Use the Scheduling Permit to make an exam appointment.
- Bring the Scheduling Permit with you to your appointment”.
Prepare For The CMA (AAMA) Exam
The next step is, of course, to begin preparing yourself to write the certification examination that will certify you as a medical assistant with the American Association of Medical Assistants. The preparation that you do at this point is of the utmost importance as it will have a significant effect on your future chances of doing well in the field of medical assisting. The AAMA website provides numerous resources. There are also a number of other online resources that you can turn to if you are looking for additional means through which to prepare for the exam.
Find Study Resources
The AAMA offers a number of excellent resources to its members as well as to medical assistants who are simply trying to do their best on the certification examination. You can find resources at http://www.aama-ntl.org/becomeCMA/exam_outline.aspx. The topics that you are required to be well-versed in are:
- Administrative and clinical procedures
- Anatomy and physiology
- Medical terminology
- Healthcare law and ethics
- Laboratory procedures
In addition the AAMA suggests that you look for any review courses offered in your area for medical assistants as these can be extremely helpful when it comes to preparing adequately for the certification examination. These are often offered at the same schools that offer the initial training course that you went through.
It is wise to be familiar with the layout and outline of the examination as this will improve your chances of preparing adequately for the test. A comprehensive outline can be fund by going to http://www.aama-ntl.org/resources/library/ContentOutline.pdf. This is a valuable study tool that lists, by topic category, the subject matter that will be covered in your examination. When studying for the examination you will need to create a study schedule that increases your chances of addressing all of the content mentioned in this outline. Prepare a schedule ahead of time in order to increase your chances of completing the work and review necessary to be well prepared for absolutely every aspect of the American Association of Medical Assistants certification exam.
Take The CMA (AAMA) Practice Exam: Anatomy & Physiology
This practice test can be found at http://www.aama-ntl.org/becomeCMA/practice_anatphys.aspx and consists of 50 multiple choice questions on the topic of anatomy and physiology. The point of this practice exam is to give you an idea of the topics you will cover in the actual test. The answers are provided at the bottom. It is important to note, however, that although these questions are extremely helpful in helping you prepare, none of the will be on the actual test. The structure of the questions and perhaps even the content will be the same, but the questions themselves will be different. Here are some examples of questions on the practice test:
1) Which of the following terms describes the body’s ability to maintain its normal state?
2) Each of the following is known to help prevent infection EXCEPT
(A) Hair in the nose
(B) Mucous membranes
Take The CMA (AAMA) Practice Exam: Medical Terminology
At http://www.aama-ntl.org/becomeCMA/practice_term.aspx you can find 50 practice questions for medical terminology. Anatomy and physiology and medical terminology are two of the most important areas that you will be tested on during the examination which is why the AAMA provides practice tests for them. Again the answers are provided at the end of the test, and again none of the same questions will be included in the exam. Examples of questions in this practice test are:
1) The general meaning of “corpus” is
2) Which of the following is the term for an abnormally low white blood cell count?
The website of the American Association of Medical Assistants contains all of the information that you will need in order to join the association and fully benefit from the various advantages and opportunities offered. The American Association of Medical Assistants website is www.aama-ntl.org. Belonging to an association provides you with opportunities that you would not have otherwise have had, which is why the need for an association specifically for medical assistants was identified and acted on. Although it is not compulsory to belong to the association, and although there are membership fees involved, it is still a better option than going it alone.