Online Path To Medical Office Assistant Certification

how to get medical office assistant certification from home

Medical office assistants are the backbone of any healthcare facility, keeping things organized, efficient, and running smoothly. They are responsible for a variety of administrative tasks, from scheduling appointments and maintaining medical records to billing and coding. With the growing demand for healthcare services, the need for qualified medical office assistants is higher than ever, and certification can be a powerful way to enhance your career prospects and set yourself apart from other candidates.

Obtaining a medical office assistant certification from the comfort of your home is a convenient and flexible option. Online programs offer self-paced learning, allowing you to balance your studies with other commitments. To get started, you'll need to meet certain eligibility criteria, which typically include a high school diploma or its equivalent, and in some cases, relevant work experience.

The certification process will equip you with a broad range of skills, ensuring you are well-prepared for the diverse responsibilities of a medical office assistant. From patient scheduling and medical billing to understanding healthcare compliance and electronic health records, you'll develop a comprehensive skill set that is highly valued by employers.

So, whether you're just starting out or looking to advance your career, pursuing a medical office assistant certification from home is an excellent strategic move. It showcases your commitment to excellence and enhances your employability, opening doors to new and exciting opportunities in the healthcare industry.

Characteristics Values
Certification Name Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA)
Certification Provider National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
Eligibility Requirements High school diploma or equivalent; completion of a medical administrative assistant training program within the last 5 years; 1 year of supervised work experience in the field within the last 3 years; membership with the NHA
Exam Requirements Passing score on the CMAA Certification Exam
Certification Maintenance Adherence to the NHA's Continuing Education (CE) requirements
Job Roles Medical administrative assistant, medical office assistant, medical secretary, health unit coordinator, medical receptionist, medical office manager
Salary Range $25,390–$51,890

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Online courses and study materials

There are several online courses and study materials available to help you prepare for a career as a medical office assistant and obtain your certification. Here are some options:

  • Ashworth College's Medical Office Assistant Program: This is an online, self-paced program that can be completed in as little as four months. The curriculum includes courses such as Medical and Body Systems Terminology, Introduction to Medical Assisting, Administrative Medical Assisting, and Clinical Medical Assisting. The program also includes preparation for the National Healthcareer Association Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) exam.
  • BCIT's Medical Office Assistant Associate Certificate: This program is designed to provide applied and relevant knowledge about healthcare and the office setting to prepare you for work in the field. The curriculum covers topics such as medical billing practices, electronic medical records, anatomy and terminology, and transcription skills. The program includes an 80-hour practicum to provide hands-on training and real-world exposure.
  • Charter College's Certificate in Medical Office Administrative Assistant: This program can be completed in as little as 10 months and is available in an online format. It covers topics such as medical records management, billing, coding, reimbursement, medical insurance processing, and regulatory issues in health information. The program prepares you for an entry-level position as a medical office administrative assistant.
  • National Healthcareer Association (NHA): The NHA offers the CMAA certification for individuals seeking a career in healthcare administration. The certification validates expertise in medical office procedures, patient registration, scheduling, medical records management, and basic billing and coding practices. To be eligible for the CMAA, you must meet specific requirements, including a high school diploma or equivalent, completion of a medical administrative assistant training program, and work experience in the field.
  • National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT): The NCCT offers the National Certified Medical Assistant (NCMA) certification, which validates expertise and competence in medical assisting, including patient care, phlebotomy, and administrative duties. To be eligible for the NCMA, you must have completed an approved medical assistant program, have a high school diploma or equivalent, and have work experience as a medical assistant.

These are just a few examples of the online courses and study materials available to help you prepare for a career as a medical office assistant and obtain your certification. It's important to research and compare different programs to find the one that best fits your needs and goals.

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Medical terminology and anatomy

Medical terminology is the language used by medical professionals to describe the body, its functions, and any disorders, procedures, or treatments. It is made up of words that often have a root or essential meaning, as well as prefixes and suffixes that indicate things like direction, quantity, location, status, or condition. For example, the word "endocarditis" means inflammation inside the heart, with "card" indicating the heart, "endo" meaning "inner", and "itis" indicating inflammation.

There are many benefits to learning medical terminology. It will help you communicate effectively with doctors, nurses, patients, and their families. It will also ensure there is no room for doubt when discussing a patient's status. Even if you work in a non-clinical role, understanding medical terminology can enhance your job and make you a more valuable asset to your employer.

Online courses in medical terminology are available from Coursera, Des Moines University, and Ashworth College. Coursera's courses include Medical Terminology I, II, and III, which provide a comprehensive introduction to the basic concepts and language of medical terminology, covering more complex concepts and clinical applications in the second and third courses. The course from Des Moines University is free and made up of 15 modules that cover medical words and meanings. It does not offer a certificate of completion, but a certificate of attendance is available for a fee. Finally, Ashworth College offers a course in Medical and Body Systems Terminology as part of its online, self-paced Medical Office Assistant Program. This course will help prepare you to take the National Healthcareer Association Certified Medical Administrative Assistant exam.

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Administrative skills

Technical Skills

  • Electronic Medical Records: Proficiency in using electronic systems to update and maintain patient records, ensuring accuracy and confidentiality.
  • CPT Coding: Ability to use Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes for billing and insurance purposes, inputting codes into patient records.
  • ICD-9 Coding: Understanding of ICD-9 coding for medical billing and insurance, assigning the correct codes to procedures and diagnoses.
  • Computer Software: Competence in operating computers and office equipment, including word processing, spreadsheets, and specialised healthcare software.

Clerical Skills

  • Scheduling: Efficiently organising and coordinating patient appointments, including rescheduling and confirming appointments.
  • Customer Service: Providing excellent service to patients, including greeting, checking in, and assisting with initial paperwork.
  • Communication: Clear and effective communication with healthcare professionals, patients, and third-party payers.
  • Filing and Organisation: Maintaining accurate and up-to-date paper and digital filing systems for patient records and other practice-specific information.
  • Data Entry: Entering patient information, lab results, and other data into the appropriate systems accurately and efficiently.
  • Triage: Assessing and prioritising patient calls, determining the urgency of their needs, and scheduling appointments accordingly.
  • Insurance Verification: Checking patient insurance coverage, obtaining authorisations, and facilitating insurance-related administrative tasks.
  • Phone Systems: Handling multiple phone lines, transferring calls, and using phones for scheduling, message-taking, and patient communication.
  • Financial Management: Handling billing, payments, and insurance-related financial tasks while maintaining compliance with regulations.

Interpersonal Skills

  • Interpersonal Communication: Strong communication skills for interacting with patients, physicians, nurses, and techs in a clear, friendly, and professional manner.
  • Composure: Remaining calm and composed, especially in emergency situations or high-pressure environments, to provide a steadying presence for patients.
  • Multitasking: Ability to manage multiple tasks and priorities simultaneously, such as greeting patients, answering phones, and handling requests from doctors.
  • Teamwork: Collaborating effectively with the office team and providers to ensure patients are helped and tasks are completed efficiently.
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Clinical skills

  • Taking vitals: Vital signs include a patient's heart rate, blood pressure, respiratory rate, and temperature. You will need to know what normal vital signs are and when to report them to the doctor.
  • Performing CPR: Basic life support skills are important in case of an emergency. Most employers will require you to complete a CPR class before beginning work.
  • Removing sutures: Removing stitches is a simple procedure, but it can cause pain or infection if done incorrectly. You will need to know how to remove the sutures and inform the doctor of anything that looks bad around the wound site.
  • Applying dressings: Some wounds or scrapes will require more than a standard plaster. Special training may be needed to apply certain dressings. Wounds must be kept clean and free of infection.
  • Drawing blood: Blood tests can look for infections, cancers, kidney problems, diabetes, and many other issues. Medical assistants need to know how to draw blood safely and efficiently.
  • Collecting urine or stool samples: Although not the most glamorous part of the job, collecting urine and stool samples gives the physician valuable information about how to best care for their patient.
  • Performing EKGs: EKGs are recordings of heart rhythms and can show things like heart attacks or heart inflammation. Performing an EKG requires special training.
  • Administering medications: You may be responsible for giving injections (although this varies by state).
  • Starting IVs: Again, this is state-dependent, but you may be required to start IVs.
  • Preparing examination rooms: This includes sterilizing and setting up instruments.

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Certification exams

There are several certification exams for medical office assistants. Here are some of the most common ones:

  • Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA): Offered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA), this certification validates your expertise in medical office procedures, patient registration, scheduling, medical records management, and basic billing and coding practices. To be eligible for the exam, you need a high school diploma or its equivalent, completion of a medical administrative assistant training program within the last 5 years, and one year of supervised work experience in the field within the last 3 years.
  • Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA): Also offered by the NHA, this certification is for medical assistants who wish to demonstrate their expertise in clinical patient care. It validates your ability to perform tasks such as taking patient histories, assisting with procedures, performing basic laboratory tests, and administering medications. Eligibility requirements include a high school diploma or its equivalent, completion of a medical assistant training program within the past 5 years, or equivalent work experience as a medical assistant for at least 1 year within the last 3 years.
  • Registered Medical Assistant (RMA): Offered by the American Medical Technologists (AMT), this certification ensures proficiency in administrative and clinical tasks, patient communication, and medical law and ethics. Candidates must pass a rigorous exam and meet specific educational and work experience requirements. Eligibility includes completion of an accredited medical assistant program with a minimum of 720 hours of instruction, including a clinical externship, or work experience as a medical assistant for a minimum of 5 out of the last 7 years.
  • Certified Medical Assistant (CMA): Conferred by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA), this certification validates expertise in clinical and administrative tasks. Candidates must pass a comprehensive exam and meet educational and experiential prerequisites. Eligibility includes completion of a medical assisting program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES).
  • National Certified Medical Assistant (NCMA): Offered by the National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT), this certification validates expertise and competence in medical assisting, including patient care, phlebotomy, and administrative duties. Candidates must pass a rigorous exam covering medical procedures, pharmacology, medical office management, and ethics. Eligibility includes completion of an approved medical assistant program within the past 5 years, a high school diploma or its equivalent, and a minimum of 2 years of full-time work experience as a medical assistant within the past 5 years.

These are just a few examples of the certifications available for medical office assistants. Each certification has its own eligibility requirements, exam format, and focus, so it's important to research the ones that align with your career goals and meet industry standards.

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Frequently asked questions

A Medical Office Assistant certification showcases your proficiency and dedication to the healthcare administration field. It assures employers that you are committed to providing high-quality administrative support and enhances your employability and career advancement opportunities.

Examples include the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA), Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA), Registered Medical Assistant (RMA), and Certified Medical Office Manager (CMOM).

The requirements vary depending on the specific certification. However, common requirements include a high school diploma or its equivalent, completion of a medical administrative assistant training program, and relevant work experience in the medical administrative field.

Developing a comprehensive study plan, utilizing available resources such as textbooks and practice exams, and applying your knowledge practically through simulations or volunteering are all effective strategies to prepare for the certification exam.

Yes, there are online programs, such as the one offered by Charter College, that provide the necessary knowledge and skills to obtain a Medical Office Assistant certification. These programs offer flexibility and can be completed alongside other commitments.

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