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What you need to know about the Medical Assistant test
There are currently four basic medical assistant certification tests available, each offered by a different certifying agency. Click the test link to read more about each one.
CMA: Certified Medical Assistant (American Association of Medical Assistants)
RMA: Registered Medical Assistant (American Medical Technologists)
NCMA: National Certified Medical Assistant (National Center for Competency Testing
CCMA: Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (National Healthcareer Association)
You will certainly want to investigate each option, as it relates to your personal career goals and the requirements of prospective employers. For a quick run-down on the similarities and differences among the four tests, see this comparison chart.
Regardless of which of the four tests you choose, our medical assistant test prep materials will guide you through the preparation process. We have incorporated content from all four tests in our medical assistant practice questions, flashcards, and study guides.
Answers to all your questions about the Medical Assistant test
Table of Contents
What are the costs?
The cost of taking a medical assistant test can range from $90.00 upward to around $250.00, depending on the test and other circumstances. See the comparison chart for further details.
What should I bring?
When you have registered for your particular medical assistant test, you will have access to a list of materials required for, and prohibited during, the test session(s). These items will vary, depending on the format of the test you take (online or paper/pencil) and the testing situation.
How is it scored?
Your possible score on these tests varies. More information on scoring for each test is also available on our comparison chart, linked above.
What kind of job can I get?
Physicians and clinics are learning that a good medical assistant can perform many office and clinical tasks. This assistance allows the doctors and nurses to see more patients and gives them time to do more of the things for which they were trained. Even more employment opportunities are available with additional specialty certification. The employment outlook for medical assistants is excellent for the foreseeable future, with an anticipated 24% increase in positions over the next 10 years.
Am I eligible?
All four of the medical assistant tests have a prerequisite of a high school diploma/equivalent and training in the field of healthcare assistance. You will want to be sure your program of study satisfies the requirements of the test for which you prepare. More information about this is available in the handbook for each test.
Why does it matter?
While you may be able to get a medical assisting job without some type of certification, most healthcare employers are now looking for certified individuals to fill open positions. There are several reasons for this. Certification tells them that the candidate has met certain requirements for training and exhibits a higher level of skill than the non-certified person. Also, many insurance and data systems limit data entry to certified medical professionals. A medical assistant certification will enable you to qualify for, and secure, the best positions in this growing field.
What salary can I expect?
According to U.S. News and World Report, medical assistants can earn between $21,000 and nearly $43,000 per year. The median income is just under $30,000. Additional specialty certifications can increase your earnings in this occupation.
When is it available?
Medical assistant testing may be done in cooperation with your instructional institution or you may need to go to a testing center for completion, depending on the particular test and the form that you take.
How much time is allowed?
Any of the medical assistant tests will require approximately a 2- to 3-hour commitment of time. Some are divided into sections, with the possibility of short breaks in between. Other tests may be administered in one continuous block of time.
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