A Guide To NHA CCMA Exam


Significance Of A Certified Medical Assistant In A Healthcare Facility

With the advancement of the healthcare sector, the medical assistant’s responsibilities have increased. MedassistEDU experts say that there has been a shift in the medical assistant duties. At present medical assistants are performing similar duties as registered nurses while assisting a physician. 

Medical assistants do not typically need credentials for employment. However, with the rapid advancement into these job roles, medical assistants who perform phlebotomy, X-rays, etc., prefer to get certified to advance their careers. It is beneficial for the professional reputation of the candidates.

Once the applicants have qualified for the comprehensive examination, they earn the accredited national certification. It attests to the standard qualifications and skill-set of medical assistants. 

Employers also prefer having a certified medical assistant for several reasons. As per the AAMA report, managed care organizations advise employers to employ nationally certified medical assistants for the CCMA job roles. 

Also, as of 2012, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services ruled that only credentialed medical assistants can enter the laboratory, radiology, and medical orders into their computerized system. Having certified medical assistants also adds to the employer’s brand value.


Different categories of medical assistant certifications-

Medical assistant certifications can be of the following type- 

  1. a) Distance learning– In distance learning, the candidates learn their syllabus online over a period at the comfort of their home. The syllabus includes specific modules for training in a particular area that prepare candidates for the national certification exams like CMA, CCMA, etc.
  2. b) Hands-on Training– This training includes working with trained or experienced staff to learn different procedures and work ethics under practical settings. The applicant must take the exam at the facility only.  

Hands-on training gives the practical experience of learning in the classroom while engaging with peers. Online certification training provides professional content and in-class training where candidates can study at their comfort. 

With online certification, the applicant saves time and resources and can access the classroom from remote areas. Irrespective of the learning mode, an externship is mandatory for the CCMA applicants to learn the job responsibilities of a clinical setup.


Core Values Of CCMA Examination

The core values and principles of CCMA examination are-

  1. Professional Standards- The applicant will learn to maintain the professional standards of working in a hospital setting beside the expert physicians. CCMA requires a medical assistant to be compassionate and helpful towards society while maintaining a calm demeanor.
  2. Confidentiality- Medical profession comes with a lot of personal data that should be kept confidential. A medical assistant must ensure that the patient’s history and data remain safe. They must maintain privacy by following the HIPAA compliance guidelines.
  3. Integrity- A medical assistant, must practice their profession with integrity, honesty, and accountability while abiding by the rules and regulations. A medical assistant should focus on the patient’s welfare under all conditions. Under no circumstances should they be involved in fraudulent or deceptive activities.
  4. Gain Job Skills- A Medical assistant must be qualified and up to date with the new advancements in the healthcare profession. Medical assistants need to evolve and learn continuously to thrive in their careers and ensuring that healthcare runs smoothly.
  5. Improve The Health of Community- Medical assistants must be familiar with their role in responsibilities towards the community and work towards the betterment of public health. 


What Is CCMA Certification Examination?

A CCMA exam is for a medical assistant certification approved by NHA (National Healthcareer Association). A medical assistant becomes a Certified Clinical Medical Assistant recognized at the national level after passing the CCMA examination. A CCMA certification provides you with the necessary skills to work as a clinical medical assistant in the healthcare sector. 

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It is a good choice for medical assistants who have relevant work experience but do not wish to enroll in a medical assistant school for an associate degree. With a CCMA certification, you also enter the workforce quickly. 

As per BLS, employment opportunities will increase by 24% by the end of 2024 in the healthcare sector. A CCMA certification offers an edge against the competition. A CCMA salary is often higher than the non-certified medical assistants, and they have better career opportunities to grow.


Structure Of NHA CCMA Examination?

NHA CCMA examination has questions from the seven domains to test the skills and knowledge of a medical assistant. 

These seven domains are-

  • Foundational Knowledge and Basic Science (10%)
  • Anatomy and Physiology (8%)
  • Clinical Patient Care (54%)
  • Patient Care Coordination and Education (5%)
  • Administrative Assisting (13%)
  • Communication and Customer Service (5%)
  • Medical Law and Ethics (5%)


CCMA Exam Eligibility Criteria

A candidate must fulfill the CCMA exam requirements before applying for the CCMA examination. The minimum eligibility criteria for medical assistant examination is-

  • Must possess a high school diploma or the equivalent
  • Must have successfully completed a training program or one year of work experience as a medical assistant

The candidate meeting the eligibility criteria will have to pay a fee of $155. For this, the medical assistants will have to make an account on the NHA website to upload the documents to confirm eligibility. 

Within one to two weeks, the applicant will get a response confirming the receiving of the certification application. Once approved, the applicant will receive the following email to confirm the local PSI centre to schedule the exam.


Duration Of NHA CCMA Exam

The CCMA exam lasts for 3 hours and consists of 150 scoring questions and 30 pre-test questions. A minimum NHA CCMA passing score 390/500 is required to pass the exam and get the certificate.


How To Study For NHA CCMA Exam?

CCMA Examination tests the foundational knowledge and concept clarity of a medical assistant. Past results have suggested that applicants can qualify for the exam in one attempt provided they are confident about the concepts and updated with the skill sets. 

A medical assistant should focus on the following steps to prepare for the exam-

1. Know your syllabus– Careful evaluation of the syllabus and marks distribution for every topic can help a medical assistant figure out their preparation plan. It also helps to stay focused on the relevant areas and prevent time wastage on irrelevant sections.

2. Identify your weak points– Identify the topics you are not confident about. Making a list of these topics and revising the concepts improve the grasp of the subject. The subject experts and teachers can help identify the problematic areas and provide solutions. This expert evaluation will boost the candidate’s minimum NHA CCMA passing score.

3. Discipline– Make a feasible study schedule after knowing your limits and start abiding by it. Consistent preparation and effective time management are essential to prepare for the CCMA examination.

4. Preparation strategy– Time management and planning is a vital skill for medical assistants. Distribution of syllabus and sectional division of preparation time is the best way to prepare for the exam. It helps strengthen the weak areas and prevents last-minute cramming for the applicant.

5. Take practice tests– The medical assistants can take CCMA practice tests to identify the weaker areas that need attention. NHA offers full-length practice tests to the applicants, giving them an idea about what to expect in the exam hall. Applicants can also go through NHA CCMA exam questions 2020 to get equipped with the exam pattern. 

6. Learn about MCQ strategy– Multiple choice questions eliminate the wrong options and arrive at the right one. For this, the candidates can take guidance from mentors and teachers. 

7. Pay attention to yourself– The CCMA exam is a crucial milestone in the career of a certified clinical medical assistant. An applicant must take sound sleep and hydrate themselves to relieve the undue stress before the examination.

8. Take guidance- The medical assistant training school teachers are experienced and can guide the aspiring certified medical assistants. The aspiring certified medical assistants can reach out to the candidates who have taken the exam previously to discuss what to expect in the exam and prepare accordingly. 


Difference Between CMA and CCMA Examination

Medical assistants are often most confused about CMA and CCMA certification. This CCMA vs CMA table below displays the difference between these certifications.


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1.CMA is responsible for clinical and medical administrative tasks and needs to perform all duties as a medical assistant.CCMA certified clinical medical assistant is responsible for performing tasks necessary to work in an ambulatory healthcare setting.
2.The AMA CMA exam has 180 questions with 20 pre-test questions.NHA CCMA exam has 150 score questions and 30 test questions.
The three divisions for examination are-
General topics-
Medical law and ethicsAdministrative topics-
Medical receptionPatient records
Billing and coding
Anatomy and physiologyInfection control
Patient preparation
Specimen collection and testing
Emergency care and first aid
The seven domains for the examination are-
Foundational Knowledge and Basic ScienceAnatomy and Physiology
Clinical Patient Care
Patient Care Coordination and Education
Administrative Assisting
Communication and Customer Service
Medical Law and Ethics


Steps To Become A Certified Clinical Medical Assistant

5 steps to become a certified medical assistant-

  • Apply for the exam- Candidates can create a free NHA account and submit the documents in the portal stating their eligibility for the exam.
  • Select a date- Candidates can submit their examination fee and choose an exam date online or in person.
  • Prepare for the exam- Refer through the standardized study material, make a preparation strategy and take multiple mock tests to prepare for the examination day.
  • Attempt the exam- Applicants can choose to take the exam at a local PSI testing centre, their school, or a live remote proctoring centre of their choice.
  • Collect your results- Applicants can get their results two days after the exam from the official NHA website on their account page.
  • Apply for CCMA jobs- The clinical certified medical assistants can start applying for CCMA jobs once they have received the credentials. CCMA salary and perks are found to be higher than the non-certified clinical medical assistants.


How Many Times You Can Take CCMA Examination?

A medical assistant can take two more attempts to successfully pass the CCMA examination with a minimum waiting period of 30 days. This is applicable after failing on the first attempt. 

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After the third failed attempt, the candidates will have to wait one year to attempt the exam again. For this, the candidate can register again and pay the full examination fee for the additional attempts.


How To Renew The CCMA Certification?

Medical assistants can renew their NHA certifications every two years for a small fee of $169. Post payment and fulfilling the renewal guidelines, the expiration date on the certificate is revised. Here is how a medical assistant can renew the CCMA certification.

  1. Complete ten continuing education credits.
  2. Login to your NHA account and click on the certification renewal option.
  3. Pay the fee and extend the certification expiration date by two years.


The purpose of certification renewal is to ensure that medical assistants keep themselves updated with the change in the healthcare sector while simultaneously expanding their skill-set. 

A nationally accredited certification also assures the employers that medical assistant is qualified and met the current professional standard required to work in the healthcare industry. 


Benefits of being NHA CCMA certified

  • Unlimited access to continuing education content with no additional fees
  • Reduced fees for NHA certified professionals with multiple credentials
  • Active/Current certification holders are searchable by their credential/can be verified by employers
  • Occasional discounts on NHA renewal fees
  • Free professional development tools and resources
  • Support team available by phone, email, chat, and social media
  • Ability to add your certification to your LinkedIn page
  • Opportunities to participate in national healthcare industry studies and task forces

Medical assistants have several job responsibilities, and having an accredited certifications helps the candidates enjoy better opportunities. Having nationally accepted credentials is beneficial for the employers as well as the medical assistants as well.

Aspiring medical assistants can enroll in accredited medical assistant training schools to pursue their diploma, certification, or an associate degree.