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Carrington College Blog

Medical Assistant Certification

August 16, 2022

Concept of a medical assistantA medical assistant (MA) is an important member of a healthcare team.1 An MA may be the first person on the medical team to initiate patient interaction. They may perform a flexible mix of patient-related duties, from preparing and administering injections to conducting EKGs and assisting physicians during examinations, according to the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA).2

As an MA, you may want to consider earning your Certified Clinical Medical Assistant credential (CCMA), which is offered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA). This credential fulfill employer requirements and help enhance your knowledge and skills in the MA field.1

More information follows about the CCMA credential, the possible benefits you can gain, and taking the CCMA exam.

How the CCMA credential Might Help Your Career

Being professional on the job and employing good critical thinking skills are important to employers of medical assistants, according to the NHA.1 CCMA credentials may help to improve your skills and increase your knowledge base through continuing education requirements. 

Having a CCMA credential may help you both gain and retain employment in the field of healthcare. According to 2020 industry outlook, eighty-nine percent of employers say that they require or encourage certification for their medical assistants.1

NHA certification may include these benefits:4

  • Documents completion of training
  • Provides official confirmation that you have certain qualifications and expertise
  • Demonstrates that you gained the core knowledge expected by employers
  • Demonstrates that you earned a credential appreciated and understood by employers

CCMA Exam Eligibility

To become a certified clinical medical assistant, you’ll need to take the CCMA exam with NHA. To be eligible, you must:

  1. Have a high school diploma or a high school equivalency, such as a GED
  2. Have completed a medical assistant training/education program within the last five years


  1. Have a high school diploma or a high school equivalency diploma, such as a GED
  2. Have one year of experience working under supervision in the medical assisting field within the last three years

You can refer to the NHA Candidate Handbook for more information. 

Steps to Become a Certified Clinical Medical Assistant1

There are five steps to gaining NHA CCMA status:

  1. Apply – Create a free NHA online account and submit your test application.
  2. Pick a test date and location – Choose whether to take the exam online or in person. During this step, you’ll pay the exam fee.
  3. Prepare for the test – The NHA website has a practice test and interactive study materials. Some test prep materials are available at a cost and others may be free of charge.
  4. Take the test – You’ll take the test at the testing location you specified in Step 2. 
  5. Receive exam results – If you took the exam online, your test results will be posted to your NHA account page within two days after it is scored.

When Your School or Employer Sponsors Your Exam

When signing up for your NHA online account, specify your organization, noting whether it’s a school, training facility, or your employer. This will allow you access to pre-purchased materials or tests that may be available to you, as well as any available discounts. Specifying your organization also allows NHA to share your test results with your sponsoring agency.

Preparing for the CCMA Exam

NHA offers study materials3 you can purchase, including a study guide and a practice test to help prepare you for taking the exam. There is also a free CCMA Test Plan that details key concepts that may be in the exam. 

Taking the CCMA Exam

You’ll take the exam either at your school, a PSI testing center near you or through live remote proctoring at the location of your choice. 

Renewing CCMA Certification

You will need to renew your CCMA certification through NHA every two years before the expiration date. Each time you renew, you will need to have completed 10 continuing education (CE) credits within the previous two years and pay the renewal fee. 

If you let your current CCMA certification expire, you can reinstate it within one year. You will need to earn an additional 15 continuing education credits to reinstate your credentials, as well as pay the renewal fee. If your certification has expired for over a year, you must retake the certification exam.

Continuing Education Requirements for CCMA

NHA offers free, continuously updated, continuing education courses for current CCMA credentialed members. This can help you meet the 10 hours of CE needed for renewal and help you to stay updated on new protocols and practices. Two hours of CE is equivalent to one NHA CE credit.3

Free NHA CE courses are available online at NHA. The site currently offers more than 85 CE modules in the NHA library, NHA notes. You can also apply CE credits you earned from an organization outside of NHA toward your renewal.5  



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