After completing your medical assistant training at Austin Career Institute, the next step is to take the Certified Medical Assistant exam to become certified. You have a decision to make at this point, as there are a few different exams you can take. Perhaps you've set a course long ago and know which direction you want to go. Or maybe you're the type who likes to complete the training first so you can follow the career path that most interests you. Whatever the case, it's an important decision that can affect the beginning of your new career in health care. Here are the top medical assistant certifications to consider and what each one requires.
At Austin Career Institute, you can earn your medical assistant certificate and qualify for the National Registration Certified Medical Assistant exam in about 8 months. Employers increasingly prefer certified medical assistants, and the drive to become NAHP certified has never been stronger. Medical assistants are in high demand, and over the next decade, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates M.A. employment will grow by 23 percent.
The Nationally Registered Certified Medical Assistant designation certifies to colleagues, patients, employers, and the public that certified individuals possess the administrative and clinical knowledge and skills required by physicians and medical assistants in healthcare practice settings. To earn your national certificate, you must pass the exam with a score of 70 percent and meet eligibility requirements.
- According to the National Association of Health Professionals (NAHP), the exam takes about two hours and consists of approximately 200 total questions divided into a few different categories:
- Anatomy and Physiology: approximately 11.5%
- Disease: approximately 7.5%
- Medical Terminology: approximately 25%
- Law and Ethics: approximately 3.5%
- Nutrition: approximately 3.5%
- Medical Procedures (including Laboratory): approximately 30%
- Pharmacology: approximately 6%
- Insurance: approximately 6%
- Office Procedures: approximately 7%
Phlebotomy technicians are medical specialists who collect samples from patients. A phlebotomist who draws blood is an important member of a well-functioning medical facility. They are trained to perform venipuncture, micro sampling, sample handling, and processing while maintaining patient safety and confidentiality.
The Nationally Registered Certified Phlebotomy Technician (NRCPT) designation certifies to colleagues, patients, employers, and the public that a certified individual has the medical knowledge and clinical competence to collect blood and laboratory samples in a healthcare setting. To earn your national certification, you must pass the exam with a score of 70 percent and meet eligibility requirements.
The exam has approximately 200 questions and is provided by the National Association for Health Professionals. The phlebotomy technician exam has questions in a variety of relevant categories, including:
- Abbreviations: approximately 10.5%
- Calculations and Math Conversions: approximately 4.5%
- Cell and Body Anatomy: approximately 14%
- Laboratory: approximately 34%
- Medical Terminology: approximately 23%
- Safety Procedures: approximately 6%
- Units of Measurement: approximately 8%
EKG technicians perform electrocardiogram tests that help doctors understand the condition of a patient's heart. The need for EKG techs continues to rise as the U.S. population ages.
The Nationally Registered Certified ECG Technologist (NRCEKG) designation certifies to colleagues, patients, employers, and the public that a certified individual possesses the cardiovascular diagnostic and technical knowledge and skills required by medical ECG professionals. To earn your national credential, you must pass the exam with a score of 70 percent and meet NAHP eligibility.
The NRCEKG technician exam has about 200 questions and takes a couple of hours to complete. Questions are in these categories:
- Cardiac Anatomy and Physiology: approximately 17.5%
- EKG Interpretation: approximately 7.5%
- EKG Operations: approximately 36%
- EKG Terms: approximately 32%
- Law and Ethics: approximately 7%
Administrative health assistants are essential in any healthcare industry setting. They communicate with clients and handle appointment scheduling, medical coding, insurance payments, and more. NAHP members set the standard for exemplary work.
The Nationally Registered Certified Administrative Health Assistant (NRCAHA) designation demonstrates to colleagues, patients, employers, and the public that a certified individual has the administrative knowledge and skills required to become an administrative health professional in a healthcare facility. To earn your national credential, you must pass the exam with a score of 70 percent and meet NAHP requirements.
The NRCAHA exam is divided into approximately 200 questions and takes under two hours to finish. According to the NAHA content outline, the exam covers these topics:
- Bookkeeping Procedures
- Clerical Functions
- First Aid
- Law and Ethics
- Operational Functions
Founded in 1982, the National Association of Health Professionals (NAHP) is the premier accrediting body for healthcare professionals, including:
- Coding Specialists
- Dental Assistants
- Electrocardiogram Technicians
- Medical Assistants
- Medical Administrative Assistants
- Nursing Technicians
- Pharmacy Technicians
- Surgical Technicians
Healthcare leaders head the NAHP certification committee, which ensures that all application and eligibility requirements, exam development and administration, exam scoring, renewal requirements, and all medical assistant certifications programs policies and procedures are directly related to the purpose of the certification programs.
The content of the NAHP exam is derived from career analysis research. The results of these studies provide a comprehensive definition of the tasks currently performed by NAHP-certified professionals in the specific areas of healthcare for which the exam is being developed. The content structure, specifications, and individual exam questions are based on the results of job analysis research and are regularly reviewed and approved by a panel of subject matter experts, the exam development committee, and a psychometric consultant.
If you're just getting going in your new career in the medical field, consider taking your training at Austin Career Institute in downtown Austin. Our campus is only a few blocks from the heart of one of America's most beautiful and growing communities. Austin is well-known for its authentic food, fantastic live music scene, the stunning Colorado River, and the University of Texas main campus.
Your Medical Assistant training tuition could be offset by a grant, federal student aid or other sources of assistance. Courses start every month. Upon acceptance into the program, you can begin your training on the next start date. The 771-hour program takes about 8 months to complete. At the end of the training, you will receive a nationally accredited diploma as a medical assistant and be ready to pick the medical assistant certifications that's best for you!