Medical assisting is one of the most promising fields in healthcare today. You can prepare for this amazing career by taking a medical assisting program through a traditional or online college, and can start working toward becoming one of the most important members of a healthcare facility. In order to be eligible for the best jobs and the highest pay, you will need to become certified by taking the Certified Medical Assistant exam offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants. Taking the certification exam can be one of the most stressful aspects of entering this career, but there are steps you can take to ensure that you pass.
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Examination Eligibility Requirements
Before you can sit for the certification test, you must meet certain eligibility requirements. This includes successfully passing a medical assisting program that is accredited through the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). Only graduates of properly accredited medical assisting programs, either in a traditional setting or online, are eligible to become certified medical assistants.
How to Take the Certification Test
If you are eligible to take the exam, you must apply through the AAMA website at www.aama-ntl.org/. The application fee is $125 and is nonrefundable and nontransferable. Personal checks are not accepted, but applicants may pay by credit or debit card, money order, or certified, cashier’s, or institution check. After you mail your application, you will receive a status update from the Certification Department within 30 days via email.
After the AAMA Certification Department processes and approves your application request, you will be required to log in to the website and print a Scheduling Permit, which you must have with you to make an appointment and to take the test.
What Is on the Exam?
The most important thing you can do is to study for the exam. Generally, the Medical Assistant Certification Exam consists of 11% anatomy and physiology questions, 10% medical office management and general office procedures questions, 4% bookkeeping questions, 4% insurance processing questions, 12% medical procedures questions, 12% patient examination questions, 11% phlebotomy questions, 12% diagnostic testing, 12% medical terminology questions, and 12% pharmacology questions. You can get a detailed outline of topics and subtopics at the AAMA website by following this link: http://www.aama-ntl.org/becomeCMA/exam_outline.aspx. The outline is a powerful study tool that lists all subject matter, by topic, that will be covered on the examination.
Prepare With Certification Practice Tests
During your studies, you can use free or paid certification practice tests to measure and focus your learning. There are many such practice tests available. Some consist simply of questions and answer keys that you can use to check yourself. Others use a format very similar to that used on the official exam and keep track of your progress and create focus reports to define your areas of weakness. Here are some good practice tests to get you started:
- CMA Practice Exam: Anatomy and Physiology – This free official AAMA practice test includes 50 sample questions and an answer key for grading.
- CMA Practice Exam: Medical Terminology – This is another 50-question free official practice test and answer key.
- Tests.com Medical Assistant Practice Test – This practice test is absolutely free and is comprised of 40 questions that are computer graded.
- MedPreps Practice Tests – MedPreps offers a free sample test. You may also choose to buy a membership for as low as $20 a month. With membership, you get unlimited practice tests, full-length exams and focus quizzes, progress tracking, real-time grading, and a 100% pass guarantee for your certification exam.
- CMA Test Prep – This practice test site offers a free practice test and also sells 20 different practice tests individually or in bundles.
The certification test does not have to be scary if you are properly prepared. While it may seem easier to skip certification altogether, remember that it will help you to prove your professional value and knowledge and will qualify you for the best employment opportunities and negotiate higher salaries. Taking the certification exam is one of the best steps you can take to make the most of this fantastic career.