As healthcare changes at a rapid pace, the role of medical administrative assistants has become increasingly important. These professionals play a critical role in ensuring the smooth operation of healthcare facilities by handling administrative tasks such as scheduling appointments, maintaining patient records, and communicating with various stakeholders.
To excel as a medical administrative assistant, it is important to have the right skills and knowledge, and one way to demonstrate this is by obtaining certifications. Certifications not only validate your skills and knowledge but also enhance your professional credibility and increase your employability.
On this page, we will explore the various certifications available for medical administrative assistants. We will discuss the benefits of obtaining these certifications, the eligibility criteria, and preparing for the exam. We will also explain the different types of certifications and what you should know about them. Whether you are just starting your career as a medical administrative assistant or are a seasoned professional looking to enhance your skills, this page will provide valuable information to help you achieve your career goals. If you’re interested in a medical career that doesn’t involve providing patient care but rather focuses on administrative tasks and patient communication this may be the perfect career path for you.
Alternatively, if you’re interested in providing patient care then learn more about clinical medical assistant certification. Page updated on: 06/23/2023
Definition of Medical Administrative Assistant
Before we dive in and explore certifications for medical administrative assistants, what is a medical administrative assistant?
A certified medical administrative assistant (CMAA) is a professional who handles clerical duties in a healthcare environment. Their responsibilities may include managing patient records, scheduling appointments, billing and insurance claims processing, maintaining medical inventory, and providing administrative support to medical staff.
Medical administrative assistants work in a variety of healthcare settings, including hospitals, clinics, physician offices, and other healthcare facilities. They must have an understanding of medical terminology, clinical procedures, and office skills to be effective in their role.
In recent years, certification for medical administrative assistants has become increasingly important as healthcare facilities seek to hire qualified professionals with specialized knowledge and skills. Certification provides recognition of the individual’s competency in the field, and can enhance their career opportunities and earning potential.
Do Medical Administrative Assistants Need Certification?
Medical administrative assistants roles are a bit different than clinical medical assistants working in the same healthcare setting. Their responsibilities range from managing patient appointments, medical records, and administrative tasks but they exclude assisting with clinical procedures. However, many people wonder if getting certified is necessary to become a medical administrative assistant. The short answer is no, certification is not required to become a medical administrative assistant, but it is highly recommended.
Certification is a way to demonstrate one’s competence and knowledge in the field to employers, colleagues, and patients. By obtaining a certification in medical administrative assisting, individuals can showcase their commitment to the field, improve job prospects, and potentially earn a higher salary.
Furthermore, the healthcare industry is constantly evolving, and staying up-to-date on the latest regulations, laws, and practices is essential. Certification programs ensure that individuals are knowledgeable and competent in their field and equipped with the necessary skills to adapt to changing healthcare environments.
While it may be possible to land a job as a medical administrative assistant without certification, it’s important to remember that certification can set individuals apart from others in the field and increase their chances of being hired. It may also increase opportunities for advancement in the field and provide greater job security.
Certification programs help demonstrate proficiency in the field and show potential employers that the candidate has completed a rigorous training program. Some common certifications for Medical Administrative Assistants include Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA), Certified Electronic Health Records Specialist (CEHRS), and Certified Billing and Coding Specialist (CBCS). These certifications can increase the chances of a Medical Administrative Assistant landing a job, as well as increase their salary potential. So, pursuing a certification program can be a great investment for Medical Administrative Assistants looking to advance their careers.
Overview of Certifications for Medical Administrative Assistants
Medical administrative assistants play a vital role in the healthcare industry, handling administrative duties such as managing medical records, scheduling appointments, handling insurance claims, and more. As the healthcare industry continues to grow and evolve, the demand for skilled and certified medical administrative assistants is also increasing.
For individuals interested in pursuing a career in medical administrative assisting, obtaining certification can be a way to demonstrate their knowledge and competence in the field. There are several types of certifications available for medical administrative assistants, each with its own specific requirements and benefits. There are national certification exams for most of the medical administrative assistant certifications below.
- Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) exam offered by the National Healthcare Association (NHA)
- National Certified Medical Office Assistant (NCMOA) exam offered by the National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT)
- Registered Medical Administrative Assistant Certification (RMAA) offered by the American Medical Technologists (AMT)
- Certified Electronic Health Record Specialist (CEHRS) exam offered by the National Healthcareer Association
- Certified Professional Coder – Physician Office (CPC-P) exam offered by the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC).
- Certified Medical Coding Specialist (CMCS) exam offered by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA).
One popular certification option is the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) offered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA). To obtain this certification, individuals must have a high school diploma or equivalent, complete a medical assistant training program or have one year of work experience in medical administrative assisting, and pass the certification exam. The CMAA certification covers topics such as medical terminology, healthcare regulations and laws, patient communication, and more.
Another popular certification is the NCMOA which we will discuss more on below. There are also certifications available for specialized areas of medical administrative assisting, such as insurance and coding. The Certified Insurance Claims Specialist (CICS) certification offered by the National Association of Claims Assistance Professionals (NACAP) is designed for individuals working in the insurance industry. This certification covers topics such as medical coding, billing, claims processing, and more. The Certified Professional Biller (CPB) certification offered by the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) is specifically for individuals who handle medical billing.
Once certified, medical administrative assistants can expect to see an increase in job opportunities and potential salary. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for medical administrative assistants is $39,810 as of May 2020. However, those with certification and specialized skills may be able to earn higher salaries.
Obtaining certification as a medical administrative assistant can be a valuable investment for individuals interested in pursuing a career in the healthcare industry. With various certification options available, individuals can choose the path that best suits their career goals and interests, while also improving their job prospects and earning potential.
Benefits of Certification
Obtaining certification as a medical administrative assistant can provide numerous benefits for individuals looking to advance their careers in the healthcare field. One of the most significant benefits of certification is increased job opportunities. Employers are often more likely to hire candidates with certifications as they demonstrate a higher degree of competency and dedication to the profession.
Higher Earning Potential
Certification can also lead to higher earning potential. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for medical administrative assistants is $39,810. However, those with certifications and specialized skills may be able to earn higher salaries. In fact, research has shown that certified medical assistants earn an average of 12% more than their non-certified counterparts. Learn more about medical assistant salaries.
Professional Development Opportunities
In addition to increased job opportunities and earning potential, certification can also provide valuable professional development opportunities. Many certification programs offer continuing education courses and resources to ensure that certified individuals stay up-to-date on the latest industry practices and technologies.
Certification can also boost confidence and credibility in the workplace. Certified medical administrative assistants are seen as responsible professionals who are committed to their field of expertise and dedicated to providing quality patient care. This can lead to increased respect and recognition among colleagues, patients, and employers.
Certification benefits include professional development, increased job opportunities, improved credibility, higher wages, and more professional development opportunities. Furthermore, certification can help medical administrative assistants stand out in a crowded job market and demonstrate a commitment to their profession.
Overall, obtaining certification as a medical administrative assistant is a valuable investment in one’s career and can provide numerous benefits and opportunities for growth.
Requirements for Certification
To become a certified medical administrative assistant, individuals must meet certain requirements. These requirements may vary depending on the certification program, but some common requirements include:
1. High School Diploma or Equivalent: Most certification programs require individuals to have obtained a high school diploma or equivalent, such as a GED.2. Completion of a Medical Administrative Assistant Program: Many certification programs also require individuals to have completed a formal training program in medical administrative assisting. These programs can typically be completed in less than a year and cover topics such as medical terminology, healthcare industry regulations and policies, patient care, medical records, and administrative tasks.
3. Clinical Experience: Some certification programs may also require individuals to have clinical experience in a healthcare setting. This experience can be obtained through internships, externships, or on-the-job training.
4. Passing a Certification Exam: Once individuals have met the necessary education and experience requirements, they must pass a certification exam. The exam may cover topics such as medical terminology, healthcare laws and ethics, medical office procedures, and patient care.
It’s important to note that there are several different types of certifications available for medical administrative assistants, each with its own set of requirements. Some of the most common certifications include Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA), Certified Electronic Health Records Specialist (CEHRS), and Certified Medical Billing and Coding Specialist (CMBCS).
By obtaining certification as a medical administrative assistant, individuals can demonstrate their commitment to their profession and enhance their job opportunities and earning potential. With the healthcare industry continuing to grow, there is a high demand for skilled and certified medical administrative assistants in various healthcare settings, including hospitals, clinics, and private practices.
Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA)
One of the most commonly recognized certifications in the field of medical administrative assisting is the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) designation. This certification is offered through the National Healthcareer Association (NHA) and requires individuals to meet certain education and experience requirements before taking the certification exam.
To be eligible for the CMAA certification, individuals must have a high school diploma or equivalent, as well as complete a formal training program in medical administrative assisting. This program should cover topics such as medical terminology, healthcare industry regulations and policies, patient care, medical records, and administrative tasks. In addition, the NHA recommends individuals to have at least one year of experience working in a healthcare setting before pursuing this certification.
To earn the CMAA certification, candidates must pass the CMAA certification exam which covers a wide range of topics related to medical administrative assisting, including office technology and computer applications, communication, customer service, medical law and ethics, medical terminology, office management, patient scheduling, and insurance billing and medical records management. The exam format consists of 110 multiple-choice questions and candidates have up to two hours to complete it.
Once certified, individuals can expect to have a higher earning potential compared to non-certified medical administrative assistants. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for medical secretaries, which includes medical administrative assistants, was $36,580 in May 2019. However, those who hold a certification, such as the CMAA, may earn more than their non-certified colleagues.
In terms of job opportunities, medical administrative assistants with a CMAA certification are in high demand in various healthcare settings, including hospitals, outpatient clinics, medical offices, and other healthcare facilities. They are responsible for a wide range of administrative tasks, such as scheduling appointments, managing patient records, processing insurance claims, and providing exceptional customer service to patients.
Overall, earning a CMAA certification can lead to a fulfilling and lucrative career in the healthcare industry. By meeting the necessary education and experience requirements and passing the certification exam, individuals can not only enhance their skills and knowledge in medical administrative assisting but also open doors to new and exciting job opportunities.
National Certified Medical Office Assistant (NCMOA)
The National Certified Medical Office Assistant (NCMOA) certification is a valuable asset for individuals seeking to establish themselves as medical administrative assistants. As one of the most recognized certifications for medical administrative assistant positions, NCMOA validates an individual’s knowledge and skills in medical office procedures, medical terminology, medical billing and coding, electronic health records, and patient communication. This certification can be earned by completing an accredited medical administrative assistant program and passing the certification exam. In addition to enhancing an individual’s skills and knowledge, obtaining NCMOA certification can also lead to an increase in salary and job opportunities. With a growing demand for medical administrative assistants, NCMOA has become a popular certification for those looking to establish themselves in the field.
If you are looking to become a certified medical administrative assistant, the National Certified Medical Office Assistant (NCMOA) certification may be a great option. This certification is offered by the National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT) and is designed for individuals who want to work in a medical office or healthcare setting.
To be eligible for the NCMOA certification, individuals must have completed a high school diploma or equivalent, as well as a formal training program or have at least two years of relevant work experience. The certification exam covers topics such as medical terminology, office management and procedures, customer service, and medical ethics and laws.
Once certified, NCMOA professionals can expect to have higher earning potential compared to non-certified medical administrative assistants. According to the NCCT, individuals who hold an NCMOA certification may earn an average of $16.70 per hour. NCMOA professionals are in demand in various healthcare settings, including hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare facilities.
Overall, the NCMOA certification is a great opportunity to increase your skills and knowledge of medical administrative assisting and boost your career prospects in the healthcare industry.
CMAA Exam Prep Materials and Resources
Certifications for medical administrative assistants are becoming increasingly important for professionals looking to advance their careers in the healthcare industry. One such certification is the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) credential, which is offered by the National Healthcare Association (NHA). In order to obtain the CMAA certification, candidates must pass an exam that covers a wide range of topics, including medical terminology, insurance billing and coding, and healthcare laws and regulations.
If you’re planning on becoming a certified medical administrative assistant (CMAA), you’ll need to pass the CMAA certification exam. This exam tests your knowledge of administrative tasks, patient care, and medical documents, among other topics.
Fortunately, there are many resources available to help you prepare for the CMAA exam. Here are some exam prep materials and resources to consider:
1. Study guides: Many publishers offer study guides that cover the content tested on the CMAA exam. These guides can be purchased online or in bookstores.2. Online courses: There are many online courses available that can prepare you for the CMAA exam. These courses typically include video lectures, quizzes, and practice exams.
3. Practice exams: Speaking of practice exams, there are many available both online and in print. The National Healthcareer Association website offers an official CMAA practice exam for a fee.
4. Professional organizations: Consider joining a professional organization for medical administrative assistants. These organizations often offer resources, networking opportunities, and continuing education courses.
5. Vocational schools: If you’re planning on attending a vocational school for medical administrative assistant training, many schools provide exam prep materials as part of their curriculum.
It’s important to note that the requirements for completing certification and the cost of exam prep materials vary depending on the certification program you choose. However, investing time and resources into studying and preparing for the CMAA exam can pay off in increased job opportunities and potentially higher salaries. It is also worth noting that there is often financial assistance available for students who qualify.
Fortunately, there are many resources available to help candidates prepare for the CMAA exam, including study guides, practice tests, and online courses. These materials can be found through various sources, including the NHA website, as well as third-party providers. By investing time and effort into preparing for the CMAA exam, medical administrative assistants can increase their chances of passing the exam and enhancing their career opportunities, as well as potentially increasing their salary and opening themselves up to a wider range of medical administrative assistant jobs.
What Do Medical Administrative Assistants Do?
As a medical administrative assistant, you will be responsible for a wide range of tasks. Your primary role is to help healthcare facilities and organizations run smoothly. You will also be the bridge between the medical providers, the patients, and the insurance companies. You will be responsible for managing patient records, scheduling appointments, filing paperwork, and processing insurance requests.
Here are some common places where medical administrative assistants work:
- Medical Practices
- Healthcare Offices
- Private and Public Medical Centers
- Emergency Department
- Administrative Office
Medical administrative assistants are typically the first point of contact for patients when they enter a medical facility and also sort of a medical office manager. Patients will check in with you, and you will be responsible for verifying patient insurance information and collecting any necessary co-pays or fees. You will also be responsible for setting up appointments and scheduling procedures.
In addition to patient-facing responsibilities, medical administrative assistants also provide support to medical professionals. You will be responsible for managing patient records and ensuring that all necessary patient information is up-to-date and accurate. You may also be responsible for managing physician schedules, ordering supplies and equipment, and communicating with other healthcare providers.
Here are some common tasks and responsibilities that medical administrative assistants do:
- Practice Correspondence
- Impatient Coding
- Managing Patient Portals
- Handling Office Administrative Tasks
- Serving as office staff
- Managing Records
- Producing Operation Reports
- Completing Organizational Tasks and other Office Tasks
- Managing Patient Flow
- Greeting Patients
- Understanding Insurance Terms
- Comfortable with medical coding processes
Medical administrative assistants (MAAs) are responsible for managing medical paperwork, scheduling appointments, verifying insurance coverage, and providing other administrative support to medical personnel. As such, they need to possess certain traits that make them an effective asset to any healthcare practice or facility.
Here are some important traits of medical administrative assistants:
- Strong organizational skills
- Great Interpersonal Skills
- Pay close attention to detail
- Effective Communication
- Strong interest and understanding of healthcare and medical practices
Overall, the role of a medical administrative assistant is critical in ensuring the smooth operation of a healthcare facility. You will play a significant role in ensuring that patients receive high-quality care while supporting medical professionals in their daily tasks.
Medical administrative assistants are essential members of the healthcare team who perform administrative tasks in medical settings. They are responsible for managing patient records, scheduling appointments, coordinating with insurance providers, and handling other office-related duties. In order to become a medical administrative assistant, it is highly recommended to obtain certifications for medical administrative assistants, which will demonstrate your expertise in the field and increase your chances of finding employment. There are several programs available to earn these certifications for medical administrative assistants, which provide training in medical terminology, office procedures and software, and medical billing and coding. Upon completion of medical administrative assistant programs, graduates can expect to earn a competitive medical administrative assistant salary and may secure medical administrative assistant jobs in clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, and other healthcare facilities. Pursuing a career as a medical administrative assistant requires attention to detail, organizational skills, and the ability to work well in a team.