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What is a Registered Medical Assistant?

Career News October 11, 2013

Medical assistant registration through the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) is necessary for one to become a Certified Medical Assistant (CMA). CMAs perform tasks that are both administrative and clinical, and have become integral to the functioning of a variety of ambulatory settings that include physicians’ offices, clinics and group practices.

As health care facilities increasingly attempt to cut costs and improve efficiency, multi-skilled personnel such as CMAs are more in demand than ever.

CMAs possess the following skills:


•Recognize and respect cultural diversity
•Utilize and apply medical technology appropriately
•Serve as “communication liaison” between physicians and the patient

Legal Concepts:

•Maintain medical records
•Comply with established risk management and safety procedures
•Identify and respond to issues of confidentiality


•Function as health care advocate
•Educate others in office policies and protocol
•Collaborate with the community to improve emergency preparedness

Operational Functions:

•Inventory supplies and equipment
•Perform routine maintenance of equipment both clinical and administrative
•Apply methods of quality control

Understanding of Clinical Principles:

•Perform sterilization
•Comply with quality assurance practices
•Identify the roles and responsibilities of coworkers

Following Diagnostic Procedures:

•Collect and process specimens
•Perform CLIA-waived tests
•Utilize knowledge of principles of radiology

Patient Care:

•Perform initial-response screening following protocols approved by supervising physician
•Obtain vital signs
•Prepare and maintain examination and treatment areas
•Maintain medication and immunization records
•Recognize and respond to emergencies

Administrative Procedures:

•Schedule, coordinate and monitor appointments
•Schedule impatient/outpatient admissions and procedures
•Create, organize and maintain patient medical records

Financial Duties:

•Perform procedural and diagnostic coding for reimbursement
•Perform billing and collection procedures
•Maintain the financial records of the practice

How to Become a Certified Medical Assistant?

There are two ways to become a CMA. The first is for people, who are about to graduate from a medical assisting program, that are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES).

Such candidates must take the Certification Exam no more than 30 days prior to completing their formal education. The second way is to take the exam within 12 months following graduation of a program accredited by CAAHEP or ABHES.
Once an individual has passed this exam, he or she must re-certify every 60 months in order to demonstrate their understanding of recent advancements in medicine.

What is the Outlook for Certified Medical Assistant?

The outlook for anyone involved in healthcare and social assistance is remarkably salubrious. For numerous factors, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics believes there will be a jump in the number of individuals working in this sector of the economy.

By 2020, the BLS estimates that 13.5% of the labor force will be working in this sector. This is up from 8.7% in 2000 and 11.5% in 2010.

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