Have you been recently certified as a medical assistant, or looking to get your certification for the first time? Then it’s important to know how long your certification will last before you’re required to re-certify, so you can plan accordingly for the future. Today, we’ll talk about the basics of recertification, why it’s required, and what you can do to make sure the process is painless and simple.
How Often Do I Need to Re-Certify?
To maintain certification with the American Medical Technologists certification agency, then you’ll need to pay annual fees to the AMT and offer proof of continued education and/or work in the field. Depending on what certification you’re maintaining, the number of ‘points’ you’ll need to earn over the standard three-year recertification period will vary; a basic Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) will only require 30 points, for example, but a Medical Technologist or Medical Laboratory Technician would require 45.
How Do You Earn Certification Points?
These certification points are earned through qualifying activities recognized by AMT’s Certification Continuation Program. Activities which contribute to your ongoing development in your area of certification will offer different point values. Here are some ways you can earn points towards your recertification:
- Professional Education Courses
- Relevant Academic Courses
- Full-Time Employment in the Field
- Participation in Professional Organizations
- Authoring Relevant Content
- Instruction in the Field
Each of these potentially offers points towards your renewed certification, pending confirmation by AMT that the activity is relevant. Some sources of points are capped annually, while others allow as many points earned as you can accumulate.
This is the basic continuing certification process, which may be audited after three years if you haven’t kept up with your records. If you’re maintaining AMT membership fees and complying with CCP, then you won’t actually have a distinct three-year period for certification; you’ll simply remain in good standing with AMT on a continuous basis.
When Is Re-Certifying Required?
Unsatisfactory audits, falling out of compliance, or lack of proper documentation may result in the need for recertification after three years. This can be achieved by either proving compliance with CCP or retaking the appropriate AMT certification exam and paying necessary fees.
If requirements for certification have changed, you’ll be required to meet the new standards if fully re-certifying, and you may need to pay additional examination fees. So you’ll want to keep up with CCP to avoid any issues with your certification.
Should You Always Re-Certify?
Medical knowledge and technology changes often—that means people working in the medical field can’t simply be educated once and move on. The best practices for a medical assistant may someday be found ineffective, and if you’re not continuing your education and maintaining appropriate certification, you may end up doing more harm than good for those relying on you for care.
For this reason, most positions which initially require certification will expect you to maintain that certification and keep your skills relevant. Losing certification will often mean losing your job until you re-certify, so keep up with it.
Best Practices: Remain in Good Standing
From a personal, pragmatic standpoint, maintaining certification is a good idea even if you’re moving into a career track which doesn’t strictly require AMT accreditation. Not only does it keep your career options flexible, as you’ll be able to move back into positions requiring certification, it will be a positive for career advancement opportunities within or across organizations even when those certifications aren’t strictly necessary.
The CCP also encourages career growth in directions you may not consider on your own; authoring works in the medical assistant field or offering instruction as a medical assistant can be a valuable tool in career growth, networking, and helping you understand how you want to advance. A career in the healthcare field is a great choice, and becoming a medical assistant through Athena Career Academy can set you up for a lifetime of success. Contact us today for more information or to schedule a campus tour.