When you’re exploring career options in the healthcare field, consider becoming a certified medical assistant (CMA). Working in medical assisting offers a rewarding career path that gives you the opportunity to help others. When you earn certification as a medical assistant, it can provide even more advantages in terms of your career. Knowing more about what it means to be a CMA and how to become one can help you decide if this might be the ideal career path for you. Keep the following in mind as you go over your career options in healthcare.

What Is a Certified Medical Assistant?

certified medical assistant is a medical assisting professional who has received certification from a nationally recognized entity. CMAs carry out several duties and responsibilities on the job. In some cases, this mostly involves performing administrative tasks in medical settings, such as filling out insurance forms, scheduling appointments, and answering phones.

In other cases, CMAs spend their days performing clinical tasks, such as recording patient history, taking vital signs, and assisting doctors during examinations. Some CMAs might also prepare blood samples for labs, administer medication or injections, or sterilize medical instruments. In many cases, CMAs handle both administrative and clinical tasks to varying degrees.

What Are the Differences Between a Medical Assistant and a CMA?

Medical assistants and CMAs perform many of the same tasks, but CMAs go through formal educational training. Medical assistants might be able to begin working with a high school diploma while receiving medical assisting training on the job. These assistants are not required to complete any college courses in medical assisting. While this allows medical assistants to start working sooner, keep in mind that job opportunities and career advancement options are often limited without certification.

CMAs must complete a training program that meets the accreditation requirements set by the credentialing agency. This involves going through a training program at a college or university, then taking and passing the certification exam. Although these educational requirements mean going through more schooling, CMAs often have access to more job opportunities, as well as opportunities for career advancement that aren’t available to those who do not have certification. Many medical employers are also looking for medical assistants who are certified.

Benefits of Certification

When you’re deciding on a medical career, knowing the medical assistant pros and cons can be helpful. Keep in mind that the benefits of being a medical assistant, especially with certification, outweigh any potential drawbacks. For example, some medical assistants might work long hours under stressful conditions at times. However, this isn’t always the case, and this type of career might provide you with more flexibility in your schedule compared to a traditional office job.

What other potential cons of being a medical assistant are there? It’s important to make sure you complete training from a school that has accreditation to become a CMA. Otherwise, you might not be eligible to take the certification exam. Carefully choosing the school you go to can help you avoid this possible drawback.

Being a CMA comes with notable benefits, such as the potential to have more job opportunities to choose from. More and more medical employers are requiring medical assistants to have certification. When you earn this certificate, you might find a wider range of job opportunities to choose from in terms of medical settings. For example, you might have a better chance of being able to choose between working in a big hospital, a physician’s office, or at a small private practice. 

As a CMA, you can explore options for advancing your career. Some of the clinical paths and specialties that might be available include nursing, chiropractic, pediatrics, and cardiology. You can also explore administrative career advancements, such as medical coding and billing, health services management, and medical and clinical lab technologist.

Steps to Certification

Earning a certificate to become a medical assistant starts with finding the right training program. After you complete your training program, you’ll need to pass your chosen certification exam. Knowing what the eligibility requirements are and how to apply are important to ensure that you’re able to take this exam. 

Why Choose CHCP?

If you are looking to become a certified medical assistant in Texas, consider the College of Health Care Professions (CHCP). At CHCP, we offer a Medical Assistant Program that provides you with the skills and knowledge you’ll need to become a CMA. CHCP is nationally accredited by ABHES and was founded by doctors over 30 years ago. Our Medical Assistant Program helps you learn clinical and administrative skills that are part of working as a CMA. 

CHCP trains you for your medical assistant certification from the necessary credentialing agencies. Upon graduation, you’ll be more than ready to take the Nationally Registered Certified Medical Assistant Exam through the National Association of Health Professionals. This certification cost is included in your tuition. 

The Medical Assistant certificate blended program is offered at all of our campuses and can allow you to complete your training in 36 weeks on-campus. You also have the option to take this program online in 48 weeks. During our program, you’ll also receive training to help prepare you for taking your credentialing exam.

If you’re interested in becoming a certified medical assistant, please contact CHCP for more information on our Medical Assistant Program. This program can help you prepare to earn certification as a medical assistant and build a highly fulfilling career.