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What Is Medical Assistant (NCMA) Certification?


If you become a medical assistant you could wear a lot of hats for a healthcare organization. Some MAs work in a laboratory recording test results, while others perform administrative tasks. Some deal directly with patients, while others code medical records. Because there are so many potential jobs for a medical assistant to perform, MAs have a variety of certifications available to them.

Medical Assistant (NCMA) Certification

Not all employers require medical assistants to be certified, but being properly credentialed gives medical assistants an edge with potential employers. At Ameritech, students prepare for the Medical Assistant (NCMA) Certification, administered by the National Center for Competency Testing. The exam covers both clinical and administrative topics such as pharmacology, medical procedures, and law and ethics.

Ameritech students receive national certification prior to medical assistant externship. This allows our students to start actively performing clinical and administrative tasks during their externship, as opposed to just watching others. First-hand experience and certifications can distinguish medical students in their job search, and give them more options and opportunities in a growing, competitive marketplace.

The NCMA certification is only the most broad-reaching of MA credentials that Ameritech prepares students for, though. Our MA students are also prepared to take the following specialty certification exams:

Immunizations through the Utah State Department of Health

Vaccines are one of the most important medical advancements of all time. Diseases like polio, measles, and smallpox are (mostly) the subject of history books rather than medical journals thanks to vaccinations.

In our neck of the woods, the Utah State Department of Health runs an immunization training for medical assistants to teach best practices and essential skills to ensure this essential pillar of public health is deployed properly.

Related resource: What Type of Medical Assisting is Right For You?

Phlebotomy Certification

Medical professionals can learn a lot from a patient’s blood. Phlebotomy training means you’ll learn how to break someone’s skin, get into their veins, and remove their blood without actually hurting them. Becoming a phlebotomist takes patience, precision, and empathy for and attention to the people from whom you’re drawing blood. It also requires certification.

The three main avenues for phlebotomy certification are through American Medical Technologists, the American Society of Clinical Pathology, and the National Healthcareer Association.

EKG Certification

An electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG) monitors electrical signals in the heart and is a vital tool for detecting cardiovascular problems. Heart disease remains the leading cause of death in the U.S., so early detection and proper treatment could save thousands, if not millions of lives. Like phlebotomy certification, EKG certification is through the National Healthcareer Association.

Related resource: Why Should I Become a Medical Assistant?

HIPAA

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 is about much more than just moving insurance around. It’s the main law that governs healthcare privacy in the U.S., and lays out a framework for how to store, handle, and transmit private patient information. The University of Utah offers training in HIPAA compliance which can benefit any medical assistant who works with or helps safeguard sensitive information on a daily basis.

Related resource: 7 Reasons Men Should Become Medical Assistants

Clinical Laboratories Improvement Amendments (CLIA)

The Clinical Laboratories Improvement Amendments of 1988 govern how laboratories handle human specimens for clinical lab testing. While the amendments don’t cover clinical trials or research, they do govern how human samples and specimens have to be handled and cared for in the vast majority of hospital settings. At Ameritech, we prepare our students in the right ways to store and handle human samples that hold important patient information.

Medical assisting is a large field, but it can also be a competitive one. Certifications communicate to future employers that you’ve done the work to gain a specific set of in-demand skills. Certifications let you stand out from the crowd, distinguish yourself, and help you become the kind of medical assistant that you want to be.

To learn more about our medical assistant, nursing, or other healthcare programs, visit our program page and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.