Medical assistant certification remains largely voluntary here in the USA. Those presently working, or wishing to work as a medical assistant are not required to be licensed, certified, or registered in most states; however, although so far certification remains largely voluntary it is the employer who sets forth their own specific requirements and job qualifications for a position and OFTEN they want someone who is certified. Where jobs are limited and applicants plentiful they can pick and choose who they want. If you have read the wanted ads in your newspaper or Internet job sites then you should already have realized that just about every job offer for medical assistants reads:
“Must be certified and/or have x-amount of experience.” The importance and impact certification makes on your resume and getting hired should be obvious to you by now. Every medical assistant, whether new or seasoned, should seek every available resource and opportunity to accomplish their goals. You can build yourself an edge through recognized certifications and credentials.
A Very Typical Job Ad: “We are seeking Medical Assistants to work in our downtown Orlando clinics (Pediatrics, OBGYN, Ortho, Internal Medicine, Family Practice positions available). Requirements: Minimum 1 year of MA work experience. Medical Assistant Certificate – MUST BE REGISTERED MEDICAL ASSISTANT (RMA), AAMA, or AMT CERTIFIED. Bilingual preferred, but not required. Please only qualified candidates apply. “
Did you know that there are state-mandated registries and licensing boards for physicians, nurses, and physicians assistants in the USA; e.g. State Medical Boards and the Federation of State Medical Boards (FCVS)which maintains a permanent, lifetime repository of primary-source verified core credentials for physicians and physician assistants. This helps them not have to go through the time and effort of assembling and forwarding their information every time they need to be licensed or credentialed.
But what about medical assistants? Only very few states require certification for their medical assistants and there are no licensing requirements within the state. As far as educational requirements and professional membership affiliations, neither the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA), the National healthcare Association (NHA), or American Medical Technologists (AMT) require a higher academic degree to take their exams to become certified.
AMT doesn’t even require formal vocational training from a medical assistant school as long as an applicant can show that he/she has at least 5 years of direct job experience in the medical assisting field, or received training in the Armed Forces (eg. military medic training). Applicants for AMT certification based on armed forces/Military training received must have completed a 50 week US military laboratory procedures training program and credits for this training must have been earned in an accredited college or university leading to appropriate allied health, medical technologist degree.
There are different kinds of medical assistant certifications ranging from general to specific focus areas within the medical assisting disciplines, such as clinical certified, administrative, clinical and administrative, or even in a therapeutic specialty, s.a. cardiology, dermatology, endocrinology, phlebotomy, x-ray, or ultrasound. Furthermore, many professional malpractice and errors and omissions insurance companies now require that those who provide direct patient care, draw blood, or operate x-ray equipment be properly certified and hold limited licenses to perform these technical tasks; only this way will they provide insurance coverage to them.