What Training is Required to Be a Medical Assistant?

Posted On February 26,2016


Becoming a medical assistant is a rewarding career that offers you the opportunity to work in a fast paced and in demand field. It can also be the first step toward a medical degree as you continue to gain experience and move up the ladder. Currently, most states do not require a certification to become a medical assistant, however many employers expect candidates to either hold a Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) or Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) distinction. 


Certified Medical Assistant

The CMA certification is reserved for people who have completed a training program through an accredited high learning institution per the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) or the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). Typically these programs can be completed in less than a year. Afterwards, the student is required to take a computer based 200 question test consisting of entirely multiple choice questions. At the end, the student will immediately receive a pass or fail grade, and will receive a letter in the mail within six to ten weeks that includes their official score. 

While it is not a legal requirement in most places to hold a CMA, most employers consider it a minimum standard for education and experience before an individual can be considered for a job. The medical assistant training program generally consists of both medical and office coursework. Students will cover a variety of concepts ranging from basic biology and physiology to patient relations and ethics. In addition, they will be expected to learn about insurance processing and consistent record keeping standards. 

Registered Medical Assistant
medical-assistant.jpgThe RMA program is a more extensive version of the CMA certificate. While the CMA can be awarded immediately upon completion of the degree program and associated test, the RMA certificate also requires five years of experience in a health care facility. This is not generally a requirement for employers nor state agencies before employment. 

Anyone who is interested in a career in the medical field should begin with a certified medial assistant program. This will give you the opportunity to learn the basics of patient care and get familiar with working in the health care environment. A school that meets basic accreditation through either the CAAHEP or ABHES will allow you the opportunity to transfer your certification and credits to a traditional four year program if you choose to pursue a bachelor’s program at any point in the future. Healthcare employers are looking for candidates who have completed the CMA program as a sign that they have reached a minimum level of competency in a medical training facility before they hire. While the CMA is not required by most states, it is the most common prerequisite for anyone interested in getting started in a medical career. 

Get on the Fast track to becoming a Medical Assistant

To learn more about a career as a Clinical Medical Assistant, and whether it’s the right fit for you, schedule an appointment with Athena Career Academy today. One meeting with our Admissions counselors could help put you on the path to a successful new career that could change your life for the better. Call 419-329-4075 today.

Athena Career Academy is located at:
5203 Airport Highway
Toledo, Ohio 43615
Hours: Monday – Friday 7:30AM to 4:30PM
Phone: (419) 329-4075