As a medical assistant, continuing education is essential to stay up-to-date with the latest developments in healthcare and advance your career.
This comprehensive guide will cover everything you need to know about medical assistant continuing education, including CMA CEU requirements, and tips for finding the best educational opportunities.
Medical Assistant Continuing Education Basics
Once you’ve completed your MA program and are qualified as a certified medical assistant, you need to meet certain continuing education requirements to maintain your certification. This involves completing 60 Continuing Education Units (CEUs) every 60 months. We’ll cover this in more detail later on.
There are many benefits that come along with your continuing medical education. Firstly, it helps you to develop professionally and to increase your competency levels. Plus, when applying for the best medical assisting jobs, the employer will ask you for your current credentials to make sure you’re eligible for the role.
There are plenty of ways to earn your CEUs. The ways of earning them include formal education classes, online workshops, seminars, conferences, local workshops, and continued employment.
Healthcare professionals sometimes confuse CEUs for CMEs but they are different. CME stands for Continuing Medical Education. A CME credit is awarded for a ‘contact hour’ and is usually associated with doctors, nurses, and pharmacists. These credits demonstrate the number of hours a healthcare professional has spent pursuing continuing education.
CMA CEU Requirements
The CMA credential is awarded by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). It’s important for your career prospects and also for demonstrating your competence in areas such as patient care.
To maintain your CMA certification, you must have a passing score of 60 CEU points every 60 months. This includes 10 points in the administrative, general, and clinical categories. The other 30 points can be accrued across any of the 3 categories.
To earn your points, you can choose courses that cover speciality and general CEUs. General CEUs cover broad areas of medical assisting such as medical terminology and clinical procedures. Speciality CEUs cover more specific elements of the role such as phlebotomy.
Medical assistants looking to become recertified can do so via the AAMA website where you can submit your application online. You can also submit your application via email or over the phone if you prefer. The instructions for doing this can also be found on the AAMA website.
Finding The Best Educational Opportunities
There are many AAMA-approved institutions that provide continuing medical education to medical assistants. Due to their accreditation, these courses are usually the best way for you to earn your CEUs.
There are also lots of non-AAMA courses that you can take. However, you’ll need to decide how relevant the topics are.
To evaluate the quality of a course, there are several factors you should consider:
- Is the rationale of the course clearly stated?
- Are the learning outcomes of the course clearly stated?
- What credentials do the instructors have?
- What are the instructional methods?
- Are the registration fees reasonable?
- Is there a refund/cancellation policy?
Below is a list of resources medical assistants can use to find educational opportunities:
- AAMA State and Chapter Listings
- AAMA Self-Study Courses
- AAMA Annual Conferences
- AAMA e-Learning Center
There are many other websites online where you can find non-AAMA education opportunities.
Free Continuing Education Opportunities For Medical Assistants
A fee is required to enroll in most CEU courses and to use the majority of CEU resources. Still, there are some organizations that offer free CEUs to medical assistants. These can be found using online databases and search engines. However, the quality, relevance, and credibility of free CEUs are often hard to establish.
Below are some websites where you can gain access to free CEUs:
What are the best continuing education opportunities for medical assistants?
The best way to continue your medical assistant education is to enroll in AAMA-approved courses and use AAMA-approved resources.
What is the cost of continuing education for medical assistants?
The costs of continuing education for medical assistants varies widely depending on how you choose to earn your CEUs. Some websites charge a subscription fee for unlimited access to their resources and most AAMA-approved courses charge a fee. There are also free CEU resources that you can access online.
Are there any free CME opportunities for medical assistants?
CME is not usually associated with medical assistants. It’s a form of continuing education that is more relevant to doctors, nurses, and pharmacists.
As a medical assistant, continuing your education is vital for maintaining your CMA credentials and keeping pace with advancements in your field. Fortunately, it’s easy to earn and complete your CEUs. Doing so helps you to excel in your role and keep your career progressing.