Medical Assistant Certification Test Comparison

Test

CMA

RMA

NCMA

CCMA*

Stands for

Certified 

Medical Assistant

Registered

Medical Assistant

National Certified 

Medical Assistant

Certified Clinical

Medical Assistant

Offered by

American Association of Medical Assistants

(AAMA)

American Medical Technologists (AMT)

National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT)

National Healthcare Association (NHA)

Accredited by

National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA); independent accreditation by International Accreditation Service (IAS) for Bodies Operating Certification of Persons

National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA)

National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA); Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP); and the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES)

National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA)

Features

Seems to be the most widely recognized medical assistant certification

Several paths to eligibility

Offers personalized customer service and support

Recently enriched content

Eligibility

  • Within 30 days before and 12 months after completing a medical assistant program accredited by either the CAAHEP or the ABHES.
  • Medical assistants seeking recertification who have previously passed the exam within the mandated time frames.

See [details and exceptions for eligibility](http://www.aama-ntl.org/cma-aama-exam/application-steps/eligibility)

  • Students or recent graduates of a CAAHEP or ABHES accredited medical assisting program in the last 4 years
  • Graduates of a formal medical assisting training program offered by the U.S. military
  • A professional medical assistant who has been employed in the industry for 5 of the past 7 years
  • An instructor of an accredited medical assistant program for 5 years

(No exam is required if you meet one of above qualifications and have taken a similar certification exam.)

One of 3 categories of qualification:

  • Approved Medical Asst. training program in the past 5 years
  • 2 years of professional experience as medical asst. in the past 5 years
  • Medical assistant training with the U.S. military in the past 5 years

  • High school diploma/equivalent
  • Medical Asst. training program (civilian or military) completion in the past 5 years OR 1 year of healthcare employment (f training occurred more than 5 years in the past, at least 1 year of relevant work experience in the exam field, in the past 3 years, is required.)

(See page 8 of the candidate handbook linked below for additional provisions for current high school or GED students who may seek provisional certification.)

Testing sites

Prometric Testing sites

Pearson VUE testing centers and some schools

Many schools across the country, as well as independent testing sites

Schools and PSI Exams Online testing centers

Format

Computer

(tutorial available)

Computer at Pearson VUE; contact school for format there

Computer or paper/pencil

Computer (tutorial available) at most locations or paper/pencil at some locations

Cost

$125 for AAMA members or graduates of approved programs $250 for others

$120 (with $90 retesting fee for rescheduling within one business day of the test time)

$90 to $135

$155

Exam Content

  • General: Medical terminology Psychology, Professionalism, Communication, Legal and Ethics, Risk Management
  • Administrative: Reception, records, office management, finances, and insurance
  • Clinical: Anatomy and Physiology infection control, pharmacology, equipment and treatment, patient intake and prep, assisting provider, specimens and testing, medication, emergencies and first aid, nutrition

 

  • General Medical Assisting Knowledge
  • Administrative Medical Assisting
  • Clinical Medical Assisting
  • ECG and Other Diagnostic Tests
  • General Office Procedures
  • Law and Ethics
  • Medical Office General Management
  • Medical Procedures
  • Office Financial Management, Billing, Insurance
  • Pharmacology
  • Phlebotomy
  • Foundational Knowledge and Basic Science, including healthcare systems, medical terminology, basic pharmacology, nutrition, psychology
  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Clinical Patient Care and Education, including phlebotomy, EKG, and lab procedures
  • Medical Law and Ethics
  • Administrative Assisting
  • Communication and Customer Service

Test Specifics

  • Four 40-minute sections, with optional 20-minute total of breaks between sections
  • 200 MC questions, 180 count toward score

210 multiple-choice questions/2.5 hours

150 scored questions and 15 unscored items/3 hours

Multiple-choice, hotspot, drag and drop, and multi-select questions

150 scored and 20 pre-test questions/2 hours, 50 minutes

Passing Score

430 (subject to change)

Possible score of 0-100, with 70 as the passing score

Possible score of 0-100, with 70 as the passing score

Possible score of 200-500, with 390 as the passing score

Retakes

Three attempts allowed for first time candidates

May retake 90 days after failed exam and retake it 3 times

4 attempts allowed, but for successive retakes, you must wait 30 days, 90 days, and 1 year

3 attempts allowed, with 30 days in between; after that, the candidate must wait 1 year before attempting the test again

Good for

5 years

3 years

1 year “active status”; 5 years “inactive status”

2 years

Renewal Requirements

Retake exam or earn continuing ed. credits

Proof of a combination of experience, continuing education, leadership, and compliance with standards; pay yearly fee

Active status can be extended with continuing education hours each year. Inactive status expires if not reactivated within 5 years and you must begin the certification process again.

Documentation of 10 continuing education credits required every 2 years (If you do not recertify within 3 years, you must begin the certification/examination process again.)

Validity

Valid in all states

Recognized nationally and by state societies

Recognized by facilities across the country

Candidates should contact the health oversight body in their state for information about the validity of this certification. Be sure to seek current information as this may change with the new form of this test.

Link for Further Information

[Candidate Handbook](http://www.aama-ntl.org/docs/default-source/cma-exam/cma-exam-app.pdf?sfvrsn=28)

[Candidate Handbook](http://www.americanmedtech.org/Portals/0/PDF/Get%20Cert/Candidate%20Handbook.pdf)

[Candidate Handbook](https://www.ncctinc.com/Documents/2016%20Candidate%20HB.pdf)

[Candidate Handbook](http://www.nhanow.com/docs/default-source/pdfs/handbooks/nha-candidate-handbook4d5de88694956aeb8535ff0f00b0a11e.pdf?sfvrsn=2)

*A new form of the CCMA test has a planned release date of January 2017. The new content brings the CCMA more in line with the other three certification tests. Information in the CCMA column of this document is about the new form of the test. For more information and updates, please see [this link](http://www.nhanow.com/certifications/clinical-medical-assistant).