Are Medical Assistants Required to be Certified?

Posted by Athena Career Academy on Sep 25, 2020

Medical assistant sitting with an elderly patient in a healthcare facility.

If you’re interested in becoming a medical assistant, you might be asking yourself, “Do I really need to become certified to work as an MA?”

The short answer is no. Medical assistants are not required by law to hold licensure or certification. However, employers generally prefer to hire medical assistants who are certified.

Certification provides numerous benefits including:

Making You a Stronger Candidate for the Job

Certification reflects the quality of your training, making you a much stronger candidate for the job. When it comes to certification, the most widely recognized national certification for medical assistants is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) through the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA).

In order to qualify to take the CMA exam to become certified, applicants must complete a program accredited by one of the two following organizations: The Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) or Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). These two accrediting organizations require your 

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training program to adhere to strict, professional standards and guidelines required for the job. This ensures that graduates of these programs are receiving the proper training and education needed to safely and successfully perform the job.

In addition to receiving quality training, taking the extra step to become certified shows potential employers that you take your career as a medical assistant seriously and are fully committed to the profession. Certification demonstrates a high level of professional competency employers trust and rely on, especially when deciding between job candidates.

Leverage Your Marketable Skills

Having the proper certification on your resume will definitely boost your job prospects after you earn your certification and will help you stand out among the competition. Certification not only demonstrates to employers that you possess the skills and knowledge required to successfully perform the job, but it can also have a significant impact on your professional life as many studies suggest that individuals who are certified in their field often receive better promotion opportunities in the long run. For example, certification may lead medical assistants to supervisory or teaching positions in the future.

Ability to Earn Higher Pay Than Non-Certified Medical Assistants

Certified medical assistants typically earn higher wages than non-certified medical assistants. This is likely due to employers and institutions understanding and acknowledging the differences in training, knowledge, and skill set in those individuals who obtained certification and rewarding them accordingly with higher pay and benefits for their efforts. Another contributing factor is supply and demand. There are more non-certified medical assistants than certified, making those with certification stand out in a positive way, including receiving a higher salary than non-certified medical assistants.

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Most Healthcare Facilities Want You to be Certified

Certification offers employees an assurance of your training, making the majority of healthcare facilities eager to hire certified medical assistants over non certified assistants-even in states where certification isn’t required. One of these reasons is reducing their liability risks. Healthcare providers can reduce their risk of a successful malpractice lawsuit by only hiring certified medical assistants. Furthermore, the use of certified medical assistants can help employers meet certain laws and regulations, making certified medical assistants a better and safer choice for employers.

Interested in Becoming a Certified Medical Assistant?

In addition to the reasons listed above, there are numerous benefits to becoming a certified medical assistant. If you’re ready to take the next step towards a rewarding and fulfilling healthcare career, contact Athena Career Academy today.

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Topics: Clinical Medical Assistant, Medical Assistant, Medical Assistant Program Toledo, OH., MA Program