What Is The Most Beneficial Medical Assistant Certification?

American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA)
American Medical Technologists (AMT)
National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT)
MA certification since 1963 1972 1989 1989
Other allied health credentials No Yes Yes Yes
Orientation Not-for-profit Not-for-profit For-profit For-profit
Recognition Nationwide Nationwide Nationwide Nationwide
Eligibility criteria Graduate of CAAHEP/ABHES accredited MA programs
  1. Graduate of CAAHEP /ABHES accredited MA programs or
  2. Min 720 clock hours of training and min 160 clock hours externship or
  3. A formal medical services training program of the US Armed Forces or
  4. Min 5 years of work experience within the last 5 years or
  5. Holder of another MA Credential
High School / GED, at least 18 years old

  1. Graduate has to complete a MA program[2] or
  2. Must have worked for min 1 year within the last year
High School / GED

  1. Graduate has to complete an approved program[3] or
  2. A working MA with min. 2 years of experience within the last 10 years
Not eligible Guilty of a felony Guilty of a felony
  • Guilty of a felony
  • Had any registration or license revoked, suspended or subject to any disciplinary action by a state health or regulatory board
Guilty of a felony
Application fee $125/$250[4] $95 CCMA: $149
CMAA: $105
Student Fee: $90[5]
Regular Fee: $135
Exam lifetime attempts[6] 3 4 limitless 3
Examination format Computer-based Computer or paper based Computer or paper based Computer or paper based
Test type Multiple-Choice Multiple-Choice Multiple-Choice Multiple-Choice
Test duration 160min 180min n/a n/a
Recertification by examination[7] Yes No No No
Recertification by continuing education Yes Yes Yes Yes
Certification period 5 years 3 years 2 years 5 years
Required CE points/hours per year 12 10 5 14
Annual recertification payment No $50 $80 $77
Internal CE points[8] Yes Yes Yes Yes
External CE points Yes Yes No No
Online recertification Yes Yes Yes Yes
CPR certification requirement Yes No No No
Membership Yes Yes No No
Membership fee $25-$107[9] All AMT certification holders No No
Discounts Yes Yes No No
Career assistance (job placement) No Yes No No
Legal advice Yes No No No
  1. NHA is the only organization that splits up the medical assistant certification in two different categories: Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA).
  2. The medical assistant program has to be partnered with NHA.
  3. If your school program isn’t approved by NCCT, have your program official call NCCT to submit the appropriate documentation for consideration.
  4. For AAMA-members and recent graduates (within the last 12 months) of an accredited MA program $125, for non-members $250.
  5. Applicants qualify for student fee if currently in school or graduated within the last 6 months.
  6. If not passed within the allowed amount of attempts the examinee is no more eligible for the credential.
  7. Unlike AAMA, which additionally offers the option for recertification through examination, other three certification bodies provide only a reinstatement option.
  8. Possibility to earn CE points either through internal continuing education programs offered by the corresponding certification body or from other/external sources.
  9. The level of membership fees is based on place of residence and status.