Becoming a Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) can open up a world of opportunities in the healthcare industry. Here are the five steps you need to take to become a CCMA.
Step 1: Meet the Eligibility Requirements
In this section, we’ll explore the eligibility requirements in detail and discuss the different CCMA training programs available.
To complete the certified clinical medical assistant exam you need:
- A high school diploma/GED
- One year experience or a full medical assisting training program that includes practical work
Obtaining full medical assistant certification training allows you to gain enough clinical experience to sit for the exam. Alternatively, you may choose to get one year of experience, but this usually isn’t paid.
A medical assisting training program is the most comprehensive way to get ready for your exam. The course not only gives you clinical training, but the theory too.
There are a few medical assistants training programs available, including:
- In-person training: You physically go into class to complete the theory and clinical training.
- Online medical assistant certification course: You receive your theory training online, this is usually self-study at your own pace. Some courses have medical assistants’ clinical training options in your area, while others require you to do your own training (internship). Popular options include rural health clinics and physicians’ offices.
Based on the type of certified clinical medical assistants training program you choose, you may finish the course in about three months, some can take upwards of a year depending on if you’re doing a full or part-time program.
Step 2: Apply for the CCMA Exam
Once you meet the medical assistant eligibility requirements, the next step is to apply for the CCMA exam.
Here is the step-by-step process for applying for the CCMA exam:
- Apply online at the National Healthcareer Association website
- Select the location and date you wish to take your exam
- Pay the fee ($155)
- Hit the books and recap what you learned in your training program
- Take the certified clinical medical assistant (CCMA) exam
- Receive your certification
Step 3: Prepare for the CCMA Exam
Preparing for the CCMA exam is essential if you want to pass the exam on the first attempt. This step includes studying the CCMA exam content, taking practice tests, and familiarizing yourself with the exam format. In this section, we’ll discuss the different ways you can prepare for the CCMA exam and provide tips on how to study effectively.
To prepare for the clinical medical assistant (CCMA) exam you’ll need extensive knowledge of the following topics:
- Administrative assisting
- Clinical patient care
- Communication and customer service
- Medical law and ethics
- Patient care coordination and education
- Foundational knowledge and basic science
- Anatomy and physiology
Taught medical assistant programs will have you prepared with basic medical terminology knowledge, certain clinical procedures, experience with medical records, and everything in between.
If you’re studying on your own, it’s best to use the learning materials from the National Healthcareer Association (NHA) website, but these come at an additional cost.
Here’s what we recommend to ensure you’re well-prepared come exam day:
- Review the exam outline: The NHA provides the outline, showing students exactly what’s going to be covered. Make sure you’re well prepared for all the exam topics.
- Get some study materials: If you’re joining a medical assistant certification course, you should be all set here. If not, we recommend getting a clinical medical assistant (CCMA) study guide. There are lots of practice tests available through the National Healthcareer Association. We recommend doing as many as possible until you are totally comfortable with the content and structure of the exam.
- Set out a study plan: If you struggle to sit down and study, a study plan can be super helpful. It’s where you set out specific blocks of time to get enough studying done before the exam. You should set out enough time to go through each section once generally and once in detail. But don’t forget the time for the practice tests!
The most important thing is to give yourself enough time to prepare for the exam. We understand life gets busy, particularly if you’re in a full-time medical assistant role. But you need to be comfortable with the fundamentals of medical assisting (medical records, medical terminology, etc).
Step 4: Take the CCMA Exam
Taking the CCMA exam is the fourth step in becoming a certified clinical medical assistant. This section will discuss what to expect on exam day, what to bring to the exam, and what to do after the exam is over.
Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of exam day:
- You should arrive at the testing center 30 minutes before the exam. Bring along your photo ID (+ one more identity document) and your exam admission ticket.
- Go through the check-in process, you’ll need to provide a palm scan and electronic signature.
- The invigilator will provide instructions on how to use the computer to answer the multiple-choice questions.
- You have the option to take two breaks, but this does form part of the three hours.
If you’ve passed, you’ll receive your certification in a few weeks.
Step 5: Maintain Your CCMA Certification
Maintaining your CCMA certification is the final step in becoming a certified clinical medical assistant. This section will discuss the continuing education requirements, the renewal process, and the benefits of maintaining your CCMA certification.
If you’re doing the exam for the first time, doing a training course is best to ensure you’re fully prepared. After that, you need to be recertified every two years.
Working in the field with other health care professionals should keep you up to date on most of the theoretical knowledge like medical terminology, but it’s always good to study and recap before the exam.
Remaining certified shows your employer you are qualified for the medical assistant position. It also allows you to further your studies, showing you’ve remained certified with the knowledge and skills needed for further education.
Becoming a certified clinical medical assistant (CCMA) is an excellent career choice for those interested in the healthcare industry. By following these five steps, you can become a CCMA and gain access to a rewarding career.
What are the eligibility requirements for becoming a CCMA?
You need a high school diploma/GED and recognized clinical experience. This can be through a training program or on-the-job training.
How much does the CCMA exam cost?
Sitting for the exam costs $155.
What is the passing score for the CCMA exam?
You need at least 78% to pass the CCMA exam. It’s a total of 390 points out of a possible 500.
What happens if I don’t pass the CCMA exam on the first attempt?
Don’t panic. You’ll have a second chance 30 days after your initial exam sitting. You’ll have to pay for the second exam.
How often do I need to renew my CCMA certification?
Your certification expires after two years, so it’s a constant certification throughout your career.