Although there are no legal regulations regarding certification or licensing requirements for medical assistants in Wisconsin, employers tend to self-regulate this profession by only hiring the most professionally qualified medical assistants.
Even though Wisconsin’s laws do not specify regulations or licensure requirements for the state’s medical assistants, as a prospective professional in this field you will need to make yourself a qualified applicant. Most employers in Wisconsin will require you to have received formal training through an associate’s degree or certificate program, as well as national certification.
To become a competitive candidate for medical assistant jobs in Wisconsin, consider completing the following steps:
|Learn About Medical Assistant Qualifications in Wisconsin|
|Become a Competitive Medical Assistant through Certification|
|Learn About Wisconsin’s Medical Assistant Job Market|
|Maintain Your Medical Assistant Credentials|
Step 1. Learn About Medical Assistant Qualifications in Wisconsin
Colleges, universities, and online medical assistant schools with open enrollment for residents throughout Wisconsin offer prospective medical assistants the chance to earn a valuable education in this field.
As you select an institution of higher learning, it is important to make sure it is accredited by one of the following agencies. This will ensure you are eligible for future medical assistant certifications:
- Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES)
- Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP)
There are more than a dozen programs accredited by these agencies located in Wisconsin.
As you complete your medical assistant program you will take courses that include:
- Medical assistant laboratory procedures
- Medical assistant clinical procedures
- CPR, first aid and emergency procedures
- Psychology for medical assistants
- Speech and interpersonal communication
- Medical terminology and communication
- Medical assistant administrative procedures
- Anatomy and physiology
- Medical law and ethics
- Medical assistant practicum or internship
Step 2. Become a Competitive Medical Assistant through Certification
Once you have completed a foundational education program in medical assisting you will be qualified for many of the most commonly recognized credentials in the field of medical assisting:
- Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) – sponsored by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA)
- Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) – sponsored by American Medical Technologists (AMT)
- Nationally Registered Certified Medical Assistant (NRCMA) – sponsored by the National Association of Health Professionals (NAHP)
- Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) – sponsored by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- Medical Assistant (NCMA) – sponsored by the National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT)
Each medical assistant credential is administered by a different national organization, and each has its own requirements for credentialing:
- To earn a CMA you will need to have graduated from a medical assistant program that is approved by either CAAHEP or ABHES. You will also need to pass the Certified Medical Assistant Exam that is comprised of 200 multiple-choice questions with a 160-minute time limit.
- To earn an RMA credential you will need to choose one of the AMT’s paths to eligibility. One of these is to earn a CMA credential and apply with the AMT for an RMA credential.
- To earn an NRCMA credential you will need first make yourself an eligible candidate. One of the ways of doing this is to graduate from a medical assistant program that is accredited by ABHES or CAAHEP. Once you have done this you can fill out an application form to take the NRCMA Exam.
- To earn a CCMA credential you will need to take the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant Exam offered by the NHA.
- To earn an NCMA credential you must first choose one of the NCCT’s routes to eligibility. One of these is to earn a related credential, such as any listed here. Once you are eligible you can attempt to earn the NCMA credential by passing the NCMA Exam.
Step 3. Learn About Wisconsin’s Medical Assistant Job Market
Once you have earned the appropriate medical assistant education and credentials you will be ready to start exploring the state’s job market. Throughout Wisconsin there are approximately 10,750 medical assistants, employed everywhere that health care or medical services are offered.
Some of the largest regional employers of medical assistants are:
- The Bloomington-Saint Paul-Minneapolis metropolitan area employing 6,630 medical assistants
- The Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis metropolitan area employing 3,140 medical assistants
- The Lake County-Kenosha County metropolitan area employing 1,210 medical assistants
- Madison, employing 1,120 medical assistants
- Green Bay, where 670 medical assistants work
- Appleton, where 460 medical assistants are employed
- Janesville, employing 430 medical assistants
- The Oshkosh-Neenah area employing 350 medical assistants
- Racine, where 340 medical assistants are employed
One effective way of knowing the credentials employers are looking for is to check the most recent job announcements. The following is a sampling of medical assistant employment advertisements taken from across the state:
- Aspirus Clinic in Wausau recently posted an ad seeking a medical assistant who had a medical assistant certification or registration credential, or who was able to obtain one within six months of hire.
- The Grafton Main Clinic in Ozaukee County recently posted a medical assistant job description that required graduation from an accredited medical assistant program or an equivalent experience. The clinic specified a preference for applicants who possessed a medical assistant certification.
- University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics was recently seeking a medical assistant with the following preferred qualifications:
- College education in a medical assistant program
- CMA credential or other type of medical assistant credential
- At least one year of related work experience
- Aurora HealthCare in Green Bay was recently seeking a medical assistant who had at least one year of experience performing the following:
- Giving injections and immunizations
- Obtaining vital signs and EKG
- Administration of medication
- Infection control and aseptic techniques
Step 4. Maintain Your Medical Assistant Credentials
Each employer of medical assistants can determine the continuing education or development requirements that must be met. If you are required to maintain a professional certification you will need to fulfill the requirements for this as determined by that credential’s sponsoring agency. Renewal and maintenance requirements for some of the most common credentials include:
- Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) – to maintain this credential you will need to earn 60 re-certification points, with at least 30 of these being from AAMA-approved continuing education units. You will need to earn these credits before your CMA expires, which occurs 60 months after it is issued.
- Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) – to renew this credential you need to maintain an annual membership with the AMT and earn at least 30 Certification Continuing Program (CCP) points every three years.
- Nationally Registered Certified Medical Assistant (NRCMA) – to maintain an NRCMA you will need to complete at least two Class-A Continuing Education Units (CEUs) each year, except your first year of renewal. You must also maintain a valid CPR certification and a yearly membership with the NAHP.
- Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) – to maintain this credential you need to earn at least 10 Continuing Education (CE) credits every two years.
- Medical Assistant (NCMA) – Maintaining this credential requires the completion of a series of annual Continuing Education (CE) that is NCCT-approved.
You can fulfill many of the maintenance and renewal requirements for most of these credentials by taking relevant college education courses. For this reason and for those related to career advancement, many medical assistants decide to further their academic credentials and earn a bachelor’s degree in the medical sciences field.
As you continue researching how to become a medical assistant in Wisconsin you may find it helpful to look into professional organizations such as the Wisconsin Society of Medical Assistants (WSMA). These associations can provide you with valuable information regarding subjects such as:
- Legislative changes to the field of medical assisting
- Networking and employment opportunities
- Resources relating to continuing education and professional development