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How to Become a Medical Assistant in Indiana

Employers look to hire the most qualified candidates to fill medical assistant jobs in Indiana. To make yourself a competitive applicant you may choose to follow these steps:

Complete a Medical Assisting Education Program
Consider Pursuing a Medical Assistant Credential
Maintain and Improve Your Professional Qualifications

According to Indiana’s state law, medical assistants are by definition non-licensed individuals who are permitted to perform specific duties within a defined framework. These duties must be performed under the supervision and direction of a physician. Medical assistants in Indiana must also report the results of any patient examination to their supervising physician.

As per Indiana law, medical assistants specifically cannot:

  • Make a diagnosis
  • Prescribe treatment
  • Administer medication, except with a direct order from a supervising physician
  • Practice independently of a supervising physician

These professionals tend to be concentrated in the state’s major population centers, including:

  • 4,280 in the greater Cincinnati metropolitan area
  • 3,760 in the greater Indianapolis metropolitan area
  • 2,660 in the Jefferson County-Louisville metropolitan area
  • 1,570 in the Gary metropolitan area
  • 1,270 in Fort Wayne
  • 880 in the Evansville area
  • 680 in the South Bend-Mishawaka area
  • 530 in Lafayette

 


 

Step 1. Complete a Medical Assisting Education Program

Earning an education in medical assisting is the starting point to many of the most common medical assisting certifications and credentials.

When choosing among the variety of medical assistant schools in Indiana, keep in mind that to earn a Certified Medical Assisting (CMA) credential later – one of the most widely regarded credentials in the field – you need to graduate from a school that is accredited by one of the following institutions:

  • Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP)
  • Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES)

Whichever medical assistant training program you choose, you can expect to study a curriculum that includes:

  • Computers and medical office software programs
  • Business mathematics and medical calculations
  • Medical insurance billing and coding
  • Medical assistant laboratory procedures
  • Medical assistant clinical procedures
  • Administration of a medical office
  • Medical law and ethics
  • Pharmacology
  • Pathophysiology
  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Medical assistant internship or practicum

 


 

Step 2. Consider Pursuing a Medical Assistant Credential

Physicians and other health care professionals can each specify their own minimum conditions when it comes to hiring medical assistants. In addition to the minimum qualifications, these health care providers will also often specify preferred qualifications. In Indiana some of the most common minimum and preferred qualifications for medical assistants include the following:

  • Previous work experience in a medical office
  • Graduation from a technical or community college with a medical assistant degree
  • Completion of a medical assistant certification or training program, including one that results in the following credentials:
    • Certified Medical Assistant (CMA)
    • Registered Medical Assistant (RMA)
    • Medical Assistant (NCMA)
    • Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA)
    • Nationally Registered Certified Medical Assistant (NRCMA)

Certified Medical Assistant (CMA)

Nationally the CMA credential is one of the most recognized, and the same holds true within Indiana. Sponsored by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA), you can obtain the CMA once you have graduated from a medical assistant school that is accredited by either ABHES or CAAHEP and have passed the Certified Medical Assistant Exam.

The exam is made up of 200 multiple-choice questions and you will have 160 minutes to complete these. You can apply online to take the exam at Prometric testing centers located across the state. Exam questions are taken from three main categories:

  • General subjects
    • Professionalism, psychology, and communication
    • Medical law, ethics, and regulatory guidelines
    • Quality assurance, risk management, and safety
    • Medical terminology

  • Administrative subjects
    • Medical reception and appointment scheduling
    • Medical business practices and practice finances
    • Establishing a patient’s medical record

  • Clinical subjects
    • Anatomy and physiology
    • Documentation of care, patient intake, and diagnostic testing
    • Assisting licensed professionals with patient preparation
    • Nutrition and pharmacology
    • Processing and collecting specimens
    • Emergency management, first aid and infection control

Additional Medical Assistant Credentials

There are also several other medical assistant credentials in addition to the CMA that may be either required or preferred by employers of medical assistants:

  • Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) – American Medical Technologists (AMT) is the sponsor of the RMA credential. There are several paths to become eligible for the RMA, and one of these is to complete an accredited medical assistant education program. Once you have done this you will be eligible to take the RMA Exam, passage of which will earn you the RMA credential.
  • Medical Assistant (NCMA) – The National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT) is the sponsor of the NCMA. There are also several routes to eligibility for this credential, one of which is through an accredited medical assistant education program. Once you have met the eligibility requirements you will need to pass the NCMA Exam to earn this credential.
  • Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) – The National Healthcareer Association (NHA) sponsors the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA). To earn this you will need to pass CCMA Exam.
  • Nationally Registered Certified Medical Assistant (NRCMA) – The National Association of Health Professionals (NAHP) is the sponsor of the NRCMA. You can become eligible for this credential by graduating from a medical assistant education program that is accredited by CAAHEP or ABHES and by passing the NRCMA Exam. You can register for this exam by filling out an application form with the NAHP.

 


 

Step 3. Maintain and Improve Your Professional Qualifications

Your employer will determine any requirements you must fulfill to maintain your tenure, which can include maintenance of a professional credential. The agencies sponsoring the different medical assisting credentials each have their own maintenance requirements:

  • To maintain a CMA credential you will need to either earn 60 re-certification points or retake the CMA Exam. The initial CMA credential is valid for 60 months. If you decide to renew through re-certification points, you will need to earn these as follows:

    • At least 30 points from AAMA-approved continuing education units
    • At least 10 points relating to administrative duties
    • At least 10 points relating to clinical duties
    • At least 10 points relating to general duties

  • To maintain and RMA credential you will need to earn 30 Certification Continuing Program (CCP) points every three years and maintain an annual membership with AMT.
  • To maintain an NCMA credential you must undergo a series of annual Continuing Education (CE) that is approved by the NCCT.
  • To maintain a CCMA credential you will need to complete at least 10 Continuing Education (CE) credits every two years.
  • To maintain the NRCMA credential you must complete at least two Class A Continuing Education Units (CEUs) each year while also maintaining a valid CPR certification and a yearly membership with the NAHP.

While researching how to become a medical assistant in Indiana, you can also find helpful resources with some of the state’s professional organizations, such as the Indiana Society of Medical Assistants (ISMA). Professional associations offer resources such as employment opportunities, upcoming education and development events, as well as information about the latest legislation pertaining to the field of medical assisting.

As you evaluate what it takes to become a competitive candidate for medical assistant careers in Indiana, it can be helpful to consider some of the most recent job announcements seeking professionals in this field from across the state:

  • Eskenazi Health in Indianapolis recently posted a medical assistant job description seeking the following candidate for hire:
    • Candidates that are graduates of a medical assistant training program and Basic Life Support (BLS) certification
    • Candidates that have training in tuberculosis would be preferred

  • Indiana University Health in Muncie was recently seeking a medical assistant who:
    • Is a graduate of a medical assistant program
    • Has at least a high school diploma
    • Is preferred to have a CMA credential

  • DeKalb Health in Auburn was recently seeking a medical assistant, with a preference for candidates who held an AAMA (CMA) certification.

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