How to Get AAMA Certified
Whether you’re a recent grad looking to become certified for the first time through the American Association of Medical Assistants or a medical assistant whose certification has lapsed, the process is simple! Before studying, you'll need to apply for the exam and pay a fee. Reviewing appropriate materials will put you on your way to passing the exam and being AAMA certified!
Applying for the Exam
Verify your eligibility before applying.To take the exam, you must be a current student or recent graduate of a CAAHEP or ABHES program, a non-recent grad (who has been out of school for a couple years), or a previously certified MA. Non-recent graduates must show their official transcripts, but current students don't. Someone who is looking for recertification needs their certificate number and certification date..
- All applicants must pay a fee of 5 if they are members of the AAMA or current students.
- Non-members have to pay 0 to apply for the exam.
Complete the application form.There are two ways to do this: either head to the American Association of Medical Assistants’ official website and apply online or download their official handbook. If using the handbook, you will have to mail your application.
- On your application, make sure your name is written as it appears on your government-issued photo ID - you will need this to identify yourself at the test center.
- Make a copy of your application for your records.
- Keep in mind that mailing your application may mean it takes longer to process. If you're crunched for time, applying online could be the better option.
Check your email for updates.The AAMA Certification Department will take up to 30 days to update you on your application status. Once your application is approved, they'll contact you via email.
- You'll receive a scheduling permit that you must print out and bring to the test center.
Schedule your exam in advance.Once you have your scheduling permit, you’re able to pick a date for your test. You will have about a month between applying for the test and your first opportunity to take the test. There is a 90-day window for you to take the exam after the testing period opens.
- If your application is received between the 1st and 14th of any month, the earliest available testing start date is the 15th of the next month.
- If your application is received after the 15th of any month, you will not be able to take the test until the 1st of the month after next.
Studying for and Taking the Exam
Review the exam topics.AAMA provides the CMA (AAMA) Certification/Recertification Examination Content Outline (). This resource lists the subjects included on the exam.
- Categories include Psychology, Communication, Medical Law, and Medical Ethics, among others.
Purchase some textbooks to study.Once you’ve read over the subjects, get some books that cover those topics! You want to have the most relevant information, so make sure your textbooks are current.
- Other publications and websites (such as the AAMA’s official site) will have additional resources to study.
- Besides AAMA's official resources, practice tests can be found on Medical Career Now's website () and MedPreps.com ().
Take AAMA's official practice exam at least once to prepare yourself.The practice test is timed and has 200 questions, similar to the real exam. Taking it gives you an idea of what to expect when you enter the testing center.
- Through the official AAMA website, the CMA (AAMA) Practice Exam costs for members and non-members.
- Remember that your score on the practice test will not necessarily reflect your score on the official exam.
Find a local AAMA chapter or program.If you’re lucky enough to live in an area with an active AAMA chapter, you could benefit from taking a course through them. This also gives you a chance to talk to AAMA members who can give you tips or advice about the test or the profession in general. You might find others taking the exam for the first time who you can form a study group with!
Go to the test center and complete the exam.Be prepared to provide your ID and your scheduling permit when you arrive. Then, you'll have 40 minutes to complete each section of the exam.
- Don’t be late! If you aren’t on time, you might not be able to take the exam.
- Following the exam, you will receive a pass/fail notification at the test center. This doesn't count as your official results though.
View your exam status and scores online.Once you complete the test, visit the AAMA’s My Certification Information section online () to access your scores. Within 8 weeks of the exam date, your official scores will be available.
- If you didn’t pass, you can submit another application and fee whenever you’re ready.
Wait to receive your certification in the mail.After passing the exam and receiving your official score report, your certificate and wallet card will be mailed out to you. These will arrive about 3 weeks after you get your scores.
- Your certification is valid 60 months after your test date.
Know your certification expiration date.You have 60 months to be a certified medical assistant. Once your certification lapses, you no longer have that title. Add 60 months (or 5 years) to the date you became an medical assistant.
- Put the date in your phone or write it down if you have to. 60 months sounds like a long time, and if you aren't thinking about it, the date will be easy to miss.
- Knowing when your certification expires will give you time to prepare for recertification before it lapses, whether through retaking the test or earning credits.
Retake the exam before your certification expires.Though you’ve already passed the exam once, retaking it is a simple way to become recertified. The test is the same for first-time test-takers and for those seeking recertification.
- If you’ve let your certification expire, retaking the test is your only option to get recertified.
Complete continuing education credits.If you haven’t let your AAMA certification expire, you can avoid retaking the exam by accruing “recertification points.” Earning points can be done through AAMA eLearning Center, AAMA self-study courses, the annual AAMA national conference, and other workshops, seminars, and programs sponsored by local chapters.
Video: Certified Medical Assistant Exam Prep (92 Questions with Fully Explained Answers)
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