Medical Administrative Assistant Certification Guide
Why is the CMAA certification popular?
The CMAA (Certified Medical Administrative Assistant) exam is one of the more popular certifications available to secondary high school health science programs of study. There are several reasons for the popularity of medical administrative assistant certification.
- The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that medical secretaries are among the fastest growing professions, both in percentage and absolute terms.
- The CMAA certification is a great starting point for students who are interested in getting a job, while they continue their education towards positions like Medical Transcriptionist, Billing/Coding Specialist, and Medical Office Manager.
- The program is easier for schools to implement, because there typically aren’t requirements for clinical externships.
How do Health Science Programs of Study work?
Students who are interested in further study with CTE will choose a program of study, in this case for Health Science.
Most health science programs have one or two years of foundational courses, where students learn basic skills that are required of all health workers. The basic skills typically include Anatomy Physiology. Legal/Ethical, HIPAA, Vital Signs, Medical Terminology. Medical Math, and more.
Once students complete the health science core curriculum, they will choose a specialty within that career cluster. Popular career pathways for health science include Certified Nurse Aide, Administrative Medical Assistant, Clinical Medical Assistant, Patient Care Technician, EKG, and Phlebotomy .
Each career pathway has unique requirements. Some will require clinical externships and others will not. Some jobs require state licensure and other’s don’t. Students need to be aware of the job requirements before selecting a particular pathway/career goal.
How does the CMAA Certification Process Work?
Eligibility: Students need to be 18 years old to be officially certified, but the National Healthcareer Association allows students under 18 to sit for the test and become provisionally certified. The provisional certifications can be converted to full certifications once students graduate and turn 18.
Practice Testing: The best situation for students occurs when practice tests are provided by the institution. When this happens, students get 5 attempts at the test. Teachers can get feedback for each test attempt and help guide students towards successful results.
Certification Test: Once students are ready, they can take the official certification test. The format of the real test is the same as the practice tests (100 questions), but the actual questions will be different.
Medical Administrative Assistant Certification Best Practices
- Review the CMMA Test Plan (linked at the bottom of this article) to gain an understanding of what is on the test. Please note that the test will be changing in July 2015. Be sure to review the correct edition for your students.
- Start with a strong core curriculum, that is aligned with the certification tests.
- Provide opportunities for students to take many online assessments. This will help prepare them for the online multiple-choice format used in CMAA test.
- Use a curriculum that goes beyond the health care core, to help students master the concepts specific to the CMAA certification. NHA provides study guides and practice exams, but they aren’t meant to be used as a curriculum.
- Have students take their first practice assessment early in the school year, so there is plenty of time to close any knowledge gaps.
- Students should use the NHA study guides and practice assessments, in combination with normal course curriculum, to be as prepared as possible.
- Take one last practice assessment, close to the scheduled time of the official exam. This will give students one more practice attempt.
- Pass the exam!