How Can I Prepare for the Certified Medical Assistant Test?

If you have an interest in the medical field and are able to effectively multitask, a career as a medical assistant may be right for you. Not only will you get your feet wet in the healthcare industry, you will also benefit from excellent job opportunities. Keep reading to learn more about what it takes to become a Certified Medical Assistant. Schools offering Medical Assisting degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Becoming a Certified Medical Assistant

As a medical assistant, you will be part of one of the fastest growing industries in the country, according to a projection by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) for the 2012-2022 decade (www.bls.gov). Although you can train for medical assistant positions on-the-job, formal medical training obtained in a vocational school or community college setting is often preferred by employers. Both 1-year certificate and 2-year associate degree programs are available for aspiring medical assistants. Topics typically covered in a medical assisting training program include anatomy, physiology, insurance reporting and medical terminology. You will also develop basic administrative skills, including accounting, keyboarding, customer relations and clerical skills.

Important Facts About This Occupation

Key Skills Analytical, interpersonal, and technical skills; assistants must also pay attention to detail
On-the-Job Training Terminology, equipment, daily tasks, patient interaction, administrative duties, medical coding
Work Environment Most work in physicians' offices; full time work; may work evenings, weekends
Similar Occupations Dental assistants, medical record and health information technicians, nurses, physical therapist assistants, pharmacy technicians

Preparing for the Certified Medical Assistant Test

After completing an accredited medical assistant program, you are eligible to obtain your Certified Medical Assistant credential after passing a national certification exam. The exam is administered by several professional associations, including the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) and American Medical Technologists (AMT). While medical assistants are not technically required to gain certification, employers often prefer to hire those who are certified in the field.

The AAMA provides a comprehensive exam outline on their website in order to help you study the subjects that will be on the exam (www.aama-ntl.org). Topics include medical terminology, lab procedures, anatomy, appointment scheduling, first aid and specimen collection. The AAMA also offers an exam review course through accredited medical assisting programs or local chapters of the AAMA.

Employment and Salary Information for Certified Medical Assistants

Certified Medical Assistants (CMAs) have both clinical and administrative job functions within the offices of physicians and other health practitioners. In addition to private practice, medical assisting jobs are available in public hospitals, outpatient care facilities and residential care facilities. In a small office setting, you may take on more responsibility than in larger practices or clinics. As a medical assistant, you can expect to earn a median annual salary of $29,960, according to the BLS in May 2014. Tasks commonly assigned to a CMA include the following:

  • Filling out insurance forms and maintaining patient medical records
  • Handling bookkeeping and billing
  • Gathering patients' medical history
  • Recording patients' vital signs
  • Appointment scheduling
  • Insurance coding

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Purdue University Global

    Purdue University Global responds quickly to information requests through this website.

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    Online Programs Available

  • The George Washington University

    The George Washington University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at The George Washington University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Keiser University

    Keiser University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Keiser University:

    • Associate Programs

    Online Programs Available

  • Grand Canyon University

    Grand Canyon University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Grand Canyon University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Herzing University

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  • Southern New Hampshire University

    Southern New Hampshire University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Southern New Hampshire University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

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  • Independence University

    Independence University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Independence University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Fortis College

    Fortis College responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Fortis College:

    • Certificates

    Campus Locations:

    • Maryland: Towson
  • College of Health Care Professions

    College of Health Care Professions responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at College of Health Care Professions:

    • Certificates

    Campus Locations:

    • Texas: Austin, Houston, San Antonio
  • Southern Careers Institute

    Southern Careers Institute responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Southern Careers Institute:

    • Certificates

    Campus Locations:

    • Texas: Austin, Brownsville, Corpus Christi, Harlingen, San Antonio
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