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More Info on Medical Assistant Programs
Choosing a medical assisting program comes with many options. Depending on whether or not you plan to become certified as a CMA or registered as an RMA you will need to make sure you choose the appropriately accredited medical assisting program.
The CAAHEP is responsible for accrediting medical assisting programs required to become a certified medical assistant or CMA in all 50 states. CAAHEP accreditation is also accepted by the U.S. Department of Education, meaning that graduates of accredited medical assistant programs can qualify for Title IV financial aid.
The CAAHEP’s medical assisting program accreditation process is broken into three stages: initial accreditation, reaccreditation, and program evaluation.
Accredited medical assisting programs include many different medical assisting specialties such as medical office administration, medical billing and coding, clinical medical assisting and phlebotomy technician. Currently, there are many medical assisting programs across the U.S. that are certified or accredited by the CAAHEP.
What is a Certified Medical Assistant or CMA?
Certified medical assistants, or CMAs, are allied healthcare workers who help with the administrative side of patient care. Duties include taking vital signs, recording intake information, and providing education to patients about their condition.
They are often tasked with the delivery of medication, monitoring treatments, and explaining upcoming tests and procedures to patients. Some CMAs also assist in surgery, transcribing reports, and handling records.
A certified medical assistant is a trained technician who has completed an accredited training program. Attaining this designation means that the CMA has acquired the knowledge, skills, and competencies to provide professional patient-centered care.
CMAs do not diagnose or treat patients, but they are generally the first healthcare team members a patient interacts with.
CMAs are essential to the smooth running of a healthcare facility, and their duties vary by employer. They may perform administrative tasks such as filing and making phone calls, as well as providing clinical support such as drawing blood, suturing wounds, and administering oxygen. Some CMAs also select and prepare equipment for procedures.
CMAs also assist doctors and nurses with procedures like taking x-rays and administering medications.
CMAs also may perform tasks such as preparing patients for procedures, recording results, and following up with patients.
Most medical assistants work full time in the following settings:
- Community health centers
- Outpatient care centers
- General and specialty hospitals
- Physician offices
- Ambulatory surgical centers
- Nursing homes and assisted living facilities
What are the Education Requirements for a Certified Medical Assistant (CMA)?
Most states require the completion of an accredited medical assistant training or certificate program (or a certified medical assistant program). The length of the program, and the training it offers, varies by provider and state.
There are many different paths to becoming a CMA. Physicians or other allied healthcare workers can become CMA’s through formal education or by attending a training program.
How do you Become a Certified Medical Assistant?
Becoming a Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) is a great way to serve the medical field. In order to become a CMA, you will need to obtain a high school diploma or GED and then apply to a medical assisting program. Next, you must complete the program and take the certification exam.
Part of your education will be hands-on clinical training that prepares you for your job after training. This is often called an externship or internship.