How to Become a Registered Medical Assistant (RMA)

In contrast to other three certifications, RMA credential is the most flexible because it certifies both recent MA program graduates as well as MAs who’ve been working professionally in the field.

The RMA examination is very similar to the CMA examination administered by the AAMA. Regardless of what certification you earn both are equally accepted by employers.

Am I eligible for examination?

Graduates of accredited MA programs are eligible to sit for the RMA certification. Before enrolling in a program check with the instructor to see whether it has at least 720 hours of schooling and at least 160 hours of externship.

Keep also in mind, an accredited program is one that has been accredited by an accrediting agency, which in turn is approved by the US Department of Education.

There are many accreditors that oversee quality with medical assisting programs, but the two most widely recognized ones are CAAHEP and ABHES:

  1. CAAHEP is the largest accrediting organization in the health care field.
  2. ABHES is the only agency permitted by the U.S. Department of Education to accredit not only programs but also schools

To get a list of schools that have been accredited by these organizations search our school directory or visit Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs

RMA certification is also open to candidates who have not graduated from a MA training program. If this is applicable to you, then you have to meet one of the following three eligibility requirements:

  1. Graduation from a US Military medical services training program within the past 4 years.
  2. Working experience as medical assistant (with clinical and administrative duties) for 3 (equivalent to 5,616 hours) out of the last 7 years.
  3. Completion of a instructor training course and have at least 5 years of teaching experience in medical assisting.
  4. Completion of an apprenticeship within the last four years related to medical assistance.

AMT requires all applicants to be of good moral character. If you’re convicted of a felony you might be precluded from sitting for the certification examination. You might get a waiver if there are mitigating circumstances to your case. Read further to get more info.

Apply for the RMA Exam

The application fee is $150 and is not refundable. You can pay the fee only with your credit or debit card. It will generally take between 1-2 days for your exam application to be processed.

Hint: Check with your MA training program before you transfer the money. Some schools cover the cost of certification in the tuition you’ve already paid.

Each applicant is required to provide its own list of supporting documents:

  • Provide final transcript from the school you attended.

    Head over to this page where you can apply online.

    If you've completed an Apprenticeship or Workforce Development Program instead, you're required to present documentation of your completion. AMT will then determine whether it meets their criteria.

    1. Copy of your Joint Services Transcript (JST)
    2. Or if discharged DD Form 214
    1. Proof of high school graduation, or GED equivalent
    2. Documented work experience
    3. Valid CPR certificate
    1. Copy of your transcript proving your completion of an MA instructor training course
    2. Documented work experience as a instructor
    1. Documentation that proves your completion of a recognized apprenticeship or an approved workforce development program

If you've ever been convicted of a felony, you'll also need to fill out the waiver form.

Schedule an exam appointment

Once you have your application materials together head over to AMT's website:

  1. to create an account.
  2. Wait for AMT to process your application
  3. Get an email indicating whether or not AMT has approved your exam application.
  4. On AMT's website you'll be given the opportunity to download the so called Authorization to Test letter. It contains all the necessary information related to your testing.
  5. Use it to contact the testing center to schedule an exam.

It should be noted that AMT does not conduct its own examinations; either your school will do that or you'll have to find a testing center location and schedule an exam appointment yourself.

AMT contracts with a well-known educational exam provider called Pearson Vue. Pearson Vue has hundreds of test locations throughout the U.S., Canada and other places around the world. For a full list of locations check the Pearson Vue website.

Following videos might be helpful to get an idea what to expect at a testing center.

Don't get confused by the fact that the above video is geared towards engineers. Expect to go through a similar process.
See also what security checks you might go through at the testing center

When you arrive for your appointment, you'll be required to provide two forms of identification.

  1. A government issued ID such as passport, drivers' license, state-issued identification card, military ID card with your name and signature.
  2. Any additional ID that has a recent photo of you, along with your name and signature.

Make sure to arrive 30 minutes early to take care of all the necessary check-in procedures. If you're more than 15 minutes late for your appointment, they may refuse to admit you, no fee will be refunded, and you'll be required to reschedule.

You have the option to cancel or reschedule your exam appointment online no less than 24 hours prior to taking the test. Check out for more details.

As of late, AMT offers you the opportunity to take your RMA exam from home through online proctoring

Prepare for the exam

The questions on the RMA certification exam are divided into four broad areas which are weighted as follows:

Content AreaEst. percentage of total test

I. Anatomy and Physiology

  1. Body Systems
  2. Disorders and diseases
  3. Wellness and nutrition
  4. Medical Terminology

II. Administrative Medical Assisting

  1. Insurance
  2. Financial Bookkeeping
  3. Clerical
  4. Medical Law and Ethics
  5. Human Relations

III. Clinical Medical Assisting

  1. Asepsis
  2. Sterilization
  3. Instruments
  4. Laboratory Procedures
  5. Minor Surgery

IV. Clinical Patient Interaction

  1. Patient Instruction
  2. Vital signs and Measurements
  3. Physical Examinations
  4. Clinical Pharmacology
  5. Therapeutic Procedures
  6. Laboratory Procedures
  7. Electrocardiography (ECG)
  8. First Aid, CPR, and Emergency Response

Take our RMA practice test, to get a better idea where your strengths and weaknesses lie. Also, visit AMT website for exam review courses if you think you need one.

Take Computer Based Testing (CBT)

All AMT examinations are computer-based. If you prefer to use pen and paper, ask the proctor.

You'll be allotted two hours to complete the computerized RMA test.

While you can take a break, keep in mind, the clock still keeps ticking!

  • The exam consists of 200-230 multiple-choice questions.
  • Each question has four answer choices.
  • Each question has one correct answer.

You may encounter various kinds of questions, including those that ask you to interpret information from case studies or analyze a chart etc.

The results will be handed to you immediately after you finish. If you pass, AMT will mail the physical RMA certificate within 2 weeks and provide a digital version of it on its website.

You didn't pass?

If you didn't pass the exam, don't despair.

  • You're allowed to retake the exam up to three additional times
  • To retest you'll have to wait at least 45 days
  • You'll have to pay a non-refundable retesting fee of $110

Before you can sit for another test, begin the retesting process by logging into the AMT portal and making your payment.

Keep in mind, if you do not pass the exam on your fourth attempt, you'll not be eligible for the RMA credential.

Your RMA certificate has expired?

It's not uncommon for certified or registered MAs to view their certification as a mere tool, a necessary evil toward the greater goal of getting a job, so once employed many MAs let their certification lapse.

Others must see their credential expire because of the need for an extended leave to have children or they've been working at the same facility for so long that they might have forgotten about the importance of continuing education.

Luckily, if you find yourself in a similar situation AMT allows you to regain your certificate and get back on track. However, as a holder of an expired credential, you would fall into another fee category that requires a higher payment. You can take either of two routes:

  1. Recertification by continuing education: Show that you've earned 30 CE credit points and pay a recertification fee of $280. Read below section.
  2. Recertification by retaking the test: Pay a recertification fee of $280 and follow the same steps as outlined above.

How to maintain your credential

In order to keep your hard-earned RMA certification active you'll need to show compliance every three years. You do so by following AMT's Certification Continuation Program (CCP) that requires you to earn a certain amount of credit points (usually 30) during that period.

In general, you get 1 to 10 points depending on the type of qualifying activity. To count toward continuing education an activity must be directly relevant to your field of work. A good guideline is to ensure that it relates to one of the topics covered in the RMA exam content outline:

  • Seminars and conferences: Attend educational events related to your field of work to gain knowledge.
  • Job-related education: Take advantage of any educational opportunities provided by your employer, such as training sessions or workshops.
  • College-level courses: Enroll in healthcare-related courses or those specifically related to your RMA certification.
  • Volunteering: Participate in healthcare-related volunteer work to contribute to the community.
  • Written work
  • AMT's Online CE material
  • etc.

You can even earn a few credit points simply by maintaining employment as a medical assistant. Ensure to document your employment and provide the necessary supporting documents as proof.

Additionally, you must pay an annual renewal fee of $75.

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