A CCMA Certification or certified clinical medical assistant (CCMA) is a versatile healthcare professional who is engaged in a variety of tasks in a medical office. Certified medical assistants can be found in a number of healthcare settings including nursing homes, medical centers, laboratories and hospitals. These professionals are involved in the clinical and administrative aspects of a hospital or practice. Clinical medical assistants help doctors and nurses by preparing examination rooms, taking and monitoring patient vital signs, interviewing patients for medical histories, preparing patients for X-rays and assisting in medical procedures such as the administration of electrocardiograms. Clinical medical assistants are allowed to perform more advanced duties such as drawing blood, administering injections and medications, administering IVs, properly disposing of biohazards, dressing wounds and removing stitches while under the direct supervision of a physician or registered nurse.
Certified clinical medical assistants are also expected to help keep the clinic running. They are also responsible for updating patient records, handling medical records, scheduling patient appointments, interviewing patients for insurance information, and keeping track of medical equipment and supplies. With more clinics turning to electronic health records, clinical medical assistants are also expected to have a strong understanding of how computers and technology work. Clinical medical assistants will also help schedule lab work and hospital admissions for patients. In smaller practices, clinical medical assistants may be more involved in the business side of the clinic and will be expected to help with bookkeeping, preparing invoices and filing insurance claims.
To become a certified clinical medical assistant, individuals must first complete a certificate program or a two-year associate’s degree. These classroom education programs will teach aspiring assistants basic clinical procedures they will be responsible for and the administrative tasks given to medical assistants such as protecting patient confidentiality and complying with HIPAA. Prospective clinical medical assistants should also have strong communication and interpersonal skills for patient interactions. Many of these certification programs also include a clinical internship or externship to help acclimate their students to their future work environments. After completing the course, individuals must pass a certification exam given by any of the following organizations: American Association of Medical Assistants, American Medical Technologists, National Center for Competency Testing and the National Healthcareer Association. Individuals must also make sure to maintain their certification every five years by engaging in continuing education or by taking the re-certification exam.
CCMAs can expect to earn on average $29,000 a year. With experience, certified medical assistants can earn up to $40,000 a year. The career prospects of certified medical assistants is strong. The United States Bureau of Labor has projected the field to grow by 29 percent by 2022. The growing demand for certified medical assistants is fueled by an aging population and a rapid expansion of the preventive medical field. With the clinical experience provided by working as a certified medical assistant, many CCMAs choose to continue their educations to become registered nurses. Working as a CCMA can also help individuals gain the experience needed to become clinical office managers or healthcare administrators.