Which Is Better? CMA or RMA – Difference Between CMA and RMA

If you have decided to or thought about getting your certification for medical assistant, then you may have noticed that you can get your certification to be a CMA (Certified Medical Assistant) or a RMA (Registered Medical Assistant). You are probably wondering what the difference between CMA and RMA is. Is one better than the other and which certification should you get?

Since there is no national standard for certification of medical assistant nor is there any government mandated licensing for medical assistant, many of the professional medical assistant organizations have their own certification. A Certified Medical Assistant designation is awarded by the American Association of Medical Assistant (AAMA), while a Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) certification can be given by any of the other medical assistant certification agency such as the AMT (American Medical Technologists), ARMA (American Registry of Medical Assistant), or the NHA (National Healthcare Association). The two medical assistant organizations that you will hear about a lot are the AMTA and the AMT. Each of these organizations has different requirements for medical assistants to take their exam and get their certifications.

Certified Medical Assistant

First off, let’s start with the AMTA Certified Medical Assistant certification. To be able to sit for the CMA exams, you must have completed formal training at medical assistant school or program that is accredited by the CAAHEP (Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs) or ABHES (Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools). In addition to medical assistant training, you must also complete an unpaid externship.

The fee for taking the exam is $125 for graduating or recent graduates or $250 for non-recent graduates.

You can take the test 30 days before you graduate from medical assistant school or within 12 months of graduating from medical assistant school.

Registered Medical Assistant

While the AMTA only accepts applicants from those who have completed a medical assistant program at an accredited school, the AMT also allows you to take the exam if you 1) graduated from a medical training program in the military, 2) if you have at least 5 years of experience working as a medical assistant or 3) if you have passed a certification program from another medical assistant certification organization.

The fee for the RMA exam is $95.

So, Which is Better – CMA or RMA?

Honestly, since there are no national or state standards for medical assistant certification, it all depends on each employer. Some employers may prefer a medical assistant that is CMA certified while other employers might want a RMA certified medical assistant. And some employers might not even know the difference!

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