Continuing education allows medical assistants to maintain high standards, as well as enhance their knowledge and skills. It also improves employment and career advancement opportunities, meaning medical assistants can move into different roles or receive improved salary offers.
Continuing Education Units (CEUs) are credits that show the MA has participated in 10 hours of an accredited education program. Medical assistants are required to earn a specified amount of CEUs to maintain their certification.
This article will provide you with an overview of medical assistant continuing education requirements. It will also provide information on how to earn CEUs and the best programs to do this with.
Overview of CEUs for Medical Assistants
Continuing education units are earned by medical assistants who carry out additional training. Accredited programs will issue 1 CEU for every 10 hours of participation.
CEUs are required to maintain licenses and certifications in a range of professions. These include:
- Medical assistants
- Financial advisors
This is to ensure healthcare professionals remain up to date with the latest developments in their respective fields.
Medical assistants can obtain certification from the American Medical Technologists (AMT) and the American Association of Medical Assistants (AMMA).
Certified medical assistants are eligible for medical assistant jobs with higher wages. After certification, students must maintain their education.
Re-certification for a CMA (certified medical assistant) requires MAs to gain 60 CEU points within a five-year (60-month) period.
Certification can also be achieved by taking the CMA certification exam. Costs typically vary between $125 and $250 for this exam.
A minimum of 30 points must be from programs approved by the AAMA. Medical assistants must obtain specific categorized CEU points to be eligible for re-certification. The breakdown for medical assistant CEU points is as follows:
- 10 general CEU points
- 10 clinical CEU points
- 10 administrative CEU points
- 30 CEU points from combined categories
It is essential you select the right courses because of these requirements. Clinical procedure CEUs will cover a range of topics. These include:
- Treating patients
- Examining patients
- Assessing patients
The administrative procedure CEUs required for medical assistant re-certification include:
- Medical coding
- Patient charting
- Scheduling appointments
A registered medical assistant (RMA) must earn the required 30 CCP points from a certification continuation program.
A national certified medical assistant (NCMA) requires annual re-certification. This is done by paying the annual fee of $77 and submitting evidence of participation of 14 hours or more in continuing education hours.
A certified clinical medical assistant (CCMA) will only require 10 credits every two years for recertification. A fee of $179 must also be paid.
How to Earn CEUs
Continuing education units (CEUs) are an essential part of recertification for medical assistants. There are several ways for medical assistants to get the required CEUs. These include:
Attending seminars and conferences
Medical assistants can earn CEUs by attending medical conferences and seminars relevant to the medical assistant field.
Seminars and conferences provide an excellent way for medical assistants to learn about the latest trends and techniques and to network with fellow medical professionals.
Online courses are a convenient way to earn CEUs. This allows your learning to be scheduled around your working hours and other responsibilities. Distance learning can also help people save money on travel costs.
There are lots of online courses designed for medical assistants. Many of these courses are accredited by the required institutions, such as the American Association of Medical Assistants (AMMA).
Participating in training programs and workshops
Workshops and training programs are a great way to learn about new developments in medical assisting, providing an opportunity for hands-on learning and practical experience.
Workshops and training programs are often initiated by professional organizations and employers.
Published research and writing articles
Medical assistants can also earn CEUs by having their work published in relevant journals. This can include research and articles relating to the field.
As well as earning CEUs, this is an excellent way to impress prospective employers at job interviews.
Completing certification exams
Some certification exams offer CEUs for successful completion. This is because the exams are designed to test the knowledge of the medical assistant. Passing a certification exam demonstrates the medical assistant’s commitment to professional development.
How to Choose the Right Program?
Choosing the right CEU program is essential to the development of a medical assistant. It will also play a significant part in the recertification process.
Before selecting a program you must determine your learning goals. This will allow you to select a program that focuses on areas you want to improve on. It can also help you improve your current performance.
- You must ensure the program you plan to take is accredited by a national or state accrediting agency. Failure to do this could see you gaining CEUs that are not valid or recognized by the relevant bodies.
- Explore the course content to ensure the CEUs you would gain are applicable to your field. You must also ensure you achieve the required amount of CEUs for specific categories.
- Take the time to read reviews and ensure the course content is as up-to-date as possible. The purpose of gaining CEUs is to ensure you understand all the latest techniques and technology. Dated CEU programs will fail to do this.
- The teaching methods will also determine whether it is the right course for you. Online or in-person learning suits different kinds of people. Hybrid courses are also available sometimes.
- The cost and availability of the course will ultimately determine whether it is the right option for you.
- Some learning experiences may be more expensive than others. Conferences and seminars can be costly, but they have additional benefits.
- Attending a seminar or conference provide you with the opportunity to network with fellow professionals. This will allow you to get a different perspective on new technologies and techniques.
- You may also see live demonstrations and have the option to ask questions. This investment can be beneficial to your overall development.
Popular CEU Programs for Medical Assistants
Finding suitable continuing education programs may seem daunting. This is because there are a lot of choices and you need to be sure you are selecting the right categories. You must also ensure that the programs are run by accredited institutions.
To make things easier for you, here are some of the most popular CEU programs for medical assistants. This will give you a better idea of the options available to you.
1. AAMA CEUs
You are required to earn a minimum of 30 CEUs from AAMA sources. There are a number of ways to earn CEUs via the AAMA. These include:
The AAMA e-learning center offers medical assistants the opportunity to study online. This is done by testing students on recently published articles.
The benefit of this learning opportunity is its convenience. The study can fit around your schedule and you will be able to pay via secure online payments.
Medical assistants will receive immediate score results. These will be sent directly to your email address. Your AAMA CEU transcript will also be automatically updated.
CMA Today is a magazine that is published bi-monthly. Continuing education articles appear in each issue and tests are also included.
This facility is also available in the e-learning center. However, members of AAMA receive CMA Today as an additional benefit. This can be a great way to save money and keep up-to-date with your required CEUs.
AAMA Self-Study Programs
AAMA self-study programs provide the information required to carry out continuing education in your own time. Prices for the course will vary but AAMA members will enjoy discounts of 50% on these programs.
Each course will include tests and the course must be completed within six months of purchase. This ensures the course materials are still relevant.
AAMA Annual Conferences
The AAMA Annual Conference offers an excellent opportunity for medical assistants to network and earn CEUs. Continuing education session materials are available to check before the conference.
Local Chapters and State Societies
AAMA affiliate continuing education workshops are also available. You will be able to check the AAMA website for upcoming workshops.
Like the AAMA conference, they are an excellent opportunity to meet and network with other medical professionals. They are also more likely to work locally.
CPR cards are credentials that qualify the holder to carry out CPR on people having a medical emergency.
CPR cards are issued for a period of two years. Because of this, a maximum of three CPR cards can be submitted. Each is worth four clinical recertification points. This means a maximum of 12 CEUs can be used in this way.
2. Relias Academy
Relias Academy is a resource that has a continuing education solution that provides a range of courses for medical assistants.
It is essential that courses are accredited by the relevant state regulatory board and certifying organization. For this reason, Relias Academy offers a wide range of accredited and non-accredited courses.
This is made easy on their site with dropdown menus. You can select specific license requirements for your profession to ensure the courses you take will earn you CEUs. You will also be able to select the state you are working in.
Medical assistants will have an extensive range of courses to choose from. The price of individual courses typically ranges from around $15 to $60.
The hours it takes to complete a course are provided next to the course title. Medical assistant courses available from Relias Academy include:
- Medical Ethics for the Medical Assistant
- Basic Medical Terminology
- Phlebotomy Basics
- Patient Care
- Quality improvement
- The Medical Assitant’s Role in Team-Based Care Delivery
- Resident Rights Essentials
This is just an example of the many courses on offer. The all-access course is available for $249.00 and gives medical assistants access to more than 1,500 online courses.
3. ACE – Annals of Continuing Education
ACE (Annals of Continuing Education) is a platform that helps medical assistants with their continuing education requirements. One of the biggest benefits of studying with ACE is that all of their courses are approved by the AAMA.
ACE also offers excellent value for money with its annual membership. For $29.95, medical assistants will have access to all courses. This allows MAs to earn more than 40 CEUs every year for under $30.
The courses are accepted by a variety of certification organizations, including:
The courses available let you know the CEUs that will be earned on completion. They will also advise what content areas are covered by each course. This makes it easier for medical assistants to ensure they get the required CEUs for each area.
Courses available for medical assistants to earn CEUs include:
- The Role of Medical Assistants in Neurology
- The Role of Medical Assistants in Gastroenterology
- The Role of Medical Assistants in Cardiology
- The Role of Medical Assistants in Radiography
- The Role of Medical Assistants in Emergency and First Aid Situations
- Medical Assistants in Front Offices
- Medical Assistants in Clinics
- Electronic Health Record Technology
- Fundamentals of Pharmacology
The user-friendly design makes it easy for medical assistants to log on and complete courses. Grading and certification are immediate. The pass rate is 80% for ACE continuing education programs and you will have three attempts to pass.
4 Tips for Meeting CEU Requirements
Continuing education is essential in the healthcare field. It ensures you remain competent and trained to the highest standard. Failure to carry out continuing education can result in outdated methodology. It will also mean the medical assistant has a poor understanding of new techniques and technology.
A work-life balance essential is essential when carrying out continuing education.
The following tips should help you meet your CEU requirements while maintaining a healthy work-life balance:
Having a schedule that covers work and home-life responsibilities will allow you to plan study time more easily. Online earning CEU credit online can be beneficial for this because of its flexibility.
In-person learning or workshops can be easily managed when you have a schedule. It will allow you to make any plans well in advance to accommodate your continuing education.
Utilize professional resources
Many medical assistants will work in places that have resources in place to help employees earn CEUs.
Recertification is essential for medical assistants and making use of in-house training programs will help you with this.
Attend seminars and conferences
Searching online and checking with your employer to find out about relevant seminars and conferences will help you earn CEUs.
Schedule time for yourself
When scheduling your time to fit in continuing education, do not neglect yourself. It is easy to fill in all your spare time between work with responsibilities and study. This can lead to burnout.
The main takeaway from these tips is to plan ahead and make use of the resources available to you.
Failure to recertify will result in expired credentials. If credentials have expired for three months or more you must sit the CMA certification exam. Three attempts are permitted for the CMA exam.
Certain states require certification for specific medical assistant roles. Forfeiting certification could jeopardize your role. You won’t have this issue as long as you keep up with continuing education and follow a plan to meet the requirements.
If you fall behind with your continuing education it is possible to sit a recertification exam instead. However, you will have to prepare for this. This will require a significant amount of study.
How do I know how many CEUs I need to earn?
You can view your current CEUs by accessing your transcript online if you are a member of the American Association of Medical Assistants (AMMA).
Can I earn CEUs for free?
Some free continuing education programs are available. However, they must be accredited by the relevant organization to count.
Can I earn CEUs online?
Online continuing education is an excellent way to earn CEUs as it offers greater convenience for medical assistants.