What Is a Certified Medical Assistant?

Certified medical assistants (CMAs) perform clinical and clerical tasks in hospitals, surgical centers and the offices of physicians and other medical professionals. Keep reading to learn more about what CMAs do, what education they need and how much money they can earn. Schools offering Medical Assisting degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Job Duties

Certified medical assistants (CMAs) work in offices of physicians, podiatrists and chiropractors, and at other medical facilities, where they assist with clerical and clinical tasks. The jobs entrusted to these professionals depend on individual state laws, as well as the size of the medical facility where they work. Some common duties of a CMA include:

  • Greeting patients
  • Billing and bookkeeping
  • Performing clerical duties, such as answering telephones and scheduling appointments
  • Preparing patients for examinations
  • Assisting physicians during examinations
  • Giving injections
  • Performing blood draws
  • Sterilizing instruments for procedures
  • Doing medical coding

Important Facts About Certified Medical Assistants

Job Outlook (2012-2022)29% (much faster than average)
Continuing EducationExam or continuing education required every five years
Key SkillsTechnical skills, analysis, interpersonal skills
Similar OccupationsDental hygienist, nursing assistant, pharmacy technician

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education and Training

CMAs are certified by the American Association of Medical Assistants www.aama-ntl.org). In order to take the CMA Certification/Recertification Examination, one must be 18 or older and complete an accredited medical assistant training program, including a medical assistant externship. Training programs are available as diplomas and certificates, although some may choose to earn an associate's degree. In addition to studying medical terminology and anatomy, students gain some lab experience.

The CMA exam includes three sections and a total of 200 questions. Some topics covered include medical terminology, psychology, anatomy and physiology, communication, professionalism, legal requirements, office administration, nutrition, first aid and infection control.

Earnings Potential

As of September 2015, CMAs earned a median hourly rate of $13.39, according to Payscale.com. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), medical assistants in general earned a median hourly wage of $14.41 in May 2014 (www.bls.gov). Those who worked in scientific research and development had the highest earning potential of $17.63 an hour on average. Physicians' offices were the top employer and paid medical assistants $15.02 an hour on average, while general hospitals paid them a slightly higher average wage of $15.82 per hour. Offices of other health practitioners offered an hourly mean wage of $13.48.

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.

    Popular programs at Purdue University Global:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • 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, Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio
  • Herzing University

    Herzing University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Herzing University:

    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

  • 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

  • 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

    Online Programs Available

  • Regent University

    Regent University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Regent University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Northcentral University

    Northcentral University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Northcentral University:

    Online Programs Available

  • Abilene Christian University

    Abilene Christian University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Abilene Christian University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • University of the Southwest

    University of the Southwest responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at University of the Southwest:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. Next »