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Key Certfications for Medical Assistants

Medical assisting professionals are expected to be among the fastest-growing career groups in the nation during the decade that ends in 2016. According to the Department of Labor, employment will grow by 35 percent through the period, but the best opportunities will go to graduates of formal medical assisting training programs, and for those with certifications.

There are several certifying bodies offering exams and documentation for working medical assistants. You should ask your mentors and instructors at your school about these certifications and which should best suit your career goals. Credentials, which must be renewed every few years, demonstrate to employers that you have attained a verifiable level of professional competency and they could lead to higher wages.

Here are two certifying organizations and the materials explored in their examinations.

American Association of Medical Assistants
The Certifying Board of the American Association of Medical Assistants offers testing that leads to a Certified Medical Assistants (CMAs) designation. The credential must be renewed every five years. To take the test, you must prove graduation status from a school accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).

The AAMA exam consists of sections on:
Medical terminology, Anatomy and physiology, Psychology, Professionalism, Communication, Medicolegal guidelines and requirements, Administrative (data entry, records, billing, etc.), Practice finances, Patient preparation and assisting the physician, Patient history interview, Accounting and banking procedures, Collecting and processing specimens; diagnostic testing, Preparing and administering medications, Treatment area, and Emergencies.

The American Medical Technologists (AMT)
Representing over 41,000 individuals in allied health care, AMT offers registration certifications for medical assistants. To qualify, you must have two years' professional experience and have graduated from a school accredited by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) or the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).

The AAMA exam consists of sections on:
General medical assisting knowledge, Administrative medical assisting, and Clinical medical assisting.

American Association of Medical Assistants
The American Medical Technologists (AMT)
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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