What Does it Mean to be a Certified Medical Assistant?

Demand for healthcare professionals is growing. Employment of medical assistants is projected to grow 19 percent by 2029, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Healthcare is a complex industry and employers want educated staff with proven skills. In a competitive job market, being certified could be the difference between just getting a job and getting your dream job. 
 

What Does it Mean to be a Certified Medical Assistant? 

 
Certified medical assistants are vocational school graduates who’ve passed a test demonstrating their skills. Several different organizations offer certification, each has different education requirements. Exams evaluate graduates’ knowledge to ensure they’re qualified to do the job, so your diploma and certification go hand-in-hand. 

Vocational schools emphasize test preparation, giving you the best chance at success. Exams cover topics every well-rounded medical assistant should know, including:

  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Pathophysiology 
  • Pharmacology
  • Medical terminology
  • Electronic health records 
  • Computer applications
  • Coding and insurance practices
  • Laboratory techniques
  • Clinical procedures
  • Patient safety and privacy
  • Healthcare law and ethics

 

What Are the Different Certification Organizations? 

 
Medical assistants are certified by organizations that focus on medical assisting including the National Certified Medical Assistant (NCMA) from the National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT). Once you have graduated from a medical assisting program, you are eligible to take this certification exam to become a certified medical assistant.
 

Why is it Important for Medical Assistants to Be Certified? 

 
Medical assistants can work a lifetime without certification, but credentials are a distinct advantage. The benefits of obtaining a certificate: 

Benefit #1: Builds Your Confidence 

Certification confirms new graduates have what it takes to be successful in the field. Vocational school diploma programs cover the areas an exam evaluates, from office procedures to phlebotomy. If you’re apprehensive about your first medical assisting job, knowing you’ve passed the certification exam is the ideal way to validate your skills before your first job interview. A certified medical assistant feels better prepared to tackle tough questions because they’re confident in their skills. 

Benefit #2: Demonstrates Proven Skills 

Employers are responsible for their team’s job performance. They need knowledgeable staff they can trust. In a competitive job market, new graduates with no experience need a way to demonstrate their competency. Certification shines on a resume. 

Benefit #3: Makes You a More Valuable Employee

Medicare is the nation’s largest insurer. Most other insurance companies follow their guidelines. For safety, the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid insist medical assistants be “properly credentialed,” to enter doctor’s orders into individuals’ health records. Certified medical assistants are more versatile, and therefore, more valuable to employers. 

Benefit #4: Fast-tracks Professional Growth 

Vocational school graduates are well-prepared for entry-level positions. But certification gives managers confidence that new medical assistants can handle broader responsibilities with less intense supervision. Certified applicants may qualify for positions diploma-only candidates will struggle to get. 

General certification is also the foundation for obtaining specialty certificates. If you have a passion for one area of medicine, certification establishes your expertise. Each credential earned empowers job seekers and opens the door to greater opportunity. Certifications are the key to fast-tracking professional growth. 

Benefit #5: Shows Commitment

Healthcare evolves at breathtaking speed. New treatments and technological advances are always on the horizon. A medical assistant can keep pace by taking continuing education courses, but when life gets busy, it’s easy to put learning on the back burner. 

But since all credentialing agencies require education credits for recertification, certified medical assistants are committing in advance to staying on top of the latest developments in their field. It’s the dedication employers are looking for. 
 

Final Thoughts

 
Movements promoting competency-based healthcare hiring are already underway. What does that mean for the next generation of medical assisting graduates? It means that increasingly, employers will demand proof of skills. Getting a diploma is a good first step, but certification underscores an applicant’s ability to work safely and diligently. A diploma may be all you need today, but certification is a good investment for tomorrow. 
 

Want to Learn More?

 
The Medical Assistant Technician Diploma Program is designed to prepare students to obtain entry-level employment as a medical assistant technician. This program offers students the opportunity to learn the necessary knowledge and skills both in the classroom and in a supervised clinical practice. The students learn how to prepare patients for various technical examinations such as EKGs and phlebotomy, as well as how to perform several such procedures.

Ready to move from the classroom to a career? Florida Technical College is here to help. Contact us to learn more about completing the medical assisting program at Florida Technical College.

* These examples are intended to serve only as a general guide of possible employment opportunities. There are many factors that determine the job an individual may obtain, and Florida Technical College cannot guarantee its graduates any particular job. Some positions may require a license or other certifications. We encourage you to research the requirements for the particular position you desire.