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A number of people feel at a loss in identifying the actual differences and similarities between the CMA (AAMA) and RMA certifications and about the way it works. Basically, the CMA (AAMA) corresponds to a medical assistant who has been licensed by the Certifying Board of the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). Then again, a Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) credential is offered by a different organizations, known as, the American Medical Technologists (AMT).

The CMA (AAMA) & Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) are both optional, nationalized certifications for the medical assistant career. With exceptions in one or two states, both CMA and RMA credentials are voluntary. Given that neither the central (federal) government nor the majority of other states in U.S. requires either registered or certified so as to get into the medical assistant profession. Both CMA and RMA certifications are nationalized. So both the RMA and CMA(AAMA) certification exams are offered all over the USA.

Following will help you to understand the common things and major differences between CMA and RMA. Also, you get to clarify the common misunderstandings that generally occur between both the CMA and RMA credentials and their duties.

Job responsibilities are same

Regarding the job responsibilities, both CMA’s and RMA’s will do similar duties. Both are accountable for performing both clinical and organizational duties in a doctor’s office or in a hospital. For example, both the title holders are expected to do vital medical duties such as, recording the health history of the patient, recording the vital signs of the patients and administrative duties such as, executing and maintaining the insurance forms and bills, bookkeeping etc.

Essential requirements for CMA or RMA are similar

So as to become an RMA or a CMA, one should have graduated from an accredited Medical Assistant Training school. The school should have been credited either by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP ) or by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). On the other hand, a graduation from an attributed training program or school benefits the students by yielding the following advantages:

1. Evidence of finishing a training program that meets the acknowledged standards on a national scale.
2. Acknowledgment of their learning by other certified Co-workers.
3. Eligibility for specialized permits, for example, permit for the AAMA certification or for the AMT registration.

All medical assistant training programs will offer a diploma, certificates or an associate degree to the candidates at the end of the successful completion of the course. The type of credential and course duration will be at variance in length. After getting the diploma from the training school, one must pass either the CMA or RMA certification examination to get hold any of these titles. Moreover, it is important that the candidate has good morals and ethics in order to apply for the certification examination.

General examination topics for CMA certification:

  • Clinical & administrative Procedures
  • Anatomy & Physiology
  • Medical terms and expressions
  • Medicolegal rules and regulations
  • Lab Procedures

General examination topics for RMA certification:

  • Anatomy & Physiology
  • Medical terms and expressions
  • Medical Law and Ethics
  • Finance and Insurance
  • Clinical, Medical Assisting topics
RMA vs CMA: Major differences

Basically, both registered and certified medical assistants are ranked by the same token. Both these title holders would have gained the identical education and both are qualified to become either as a Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) or as a Registered Medical Assistant (RMA). One of the major difference between RMA & CMA is that they have attended and passed 2 different examinations to advance their medical qualifications.

1. In essence, the CMA denotes Certified Medical Assistant. This title is honored by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). This CMA certification should be renewed once in every 5 years in order to keep the credentials and qualifications at par with the newfangled skills, knowledge and innovations in the medical assistant job.

2. On the other hand, the RMA denotes Registered Medical Assistant. This particular official recognition is honored by a non-profit organization known as, the American Medical Technologists (AMT ). Actually,  the American Medical Technologists are endorsed by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA).

3. The greater part of employers all over America are familiar with both RMA and CMA credentials. The key disparity is, the RMA credential will register you as a medical assistant whereas the CMA credential will certify you for the medical assistantship. However, both RMA’s and CMA’s will do the same job, which is for the most part to help out the physician’s in the medical offices.

4. A few states in USA may require a candidate to be a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) so as to develop into a CMA. Nevertheless, certifications in medical assisting will not make a candidate into a professional nurse.

5. There is a wide-ranging propensity for some training schools and a few states to look upon the CMA credential as the ‘gold standard’ for the medical assistant career. Also,  in exceptional cases, specific medical organizations and institutions in selected states of America (particularly in southern California) are very familiar with the CMA credential only. On the other hand, in actual practice, this may not be the case. This is because both RMA’s and CMA’s will carry out identical duties by and large.

Income: According to the statistics offered by a website  called ‘payscale.com’, in the year 2009, the standard yearly income of a RMA who has 1 to 4 years of  job experience is calculated to be $26,900. On the other hand, the standard yearly income of a CMA with identical job experience is calculated to be $29,943.

Demand: Based on the most ‘up to date’ information from the ‘Bureau of Labor Statistics’, there are about 417000 medical assistants (both CMA and RMA) employed starting from the year 2006. This numerical figure is anticipated to amplify by thirty five percent, that is to say, the number of both CMA and RMA may increase up to 565,000 by the year  2016.