Which Medical Assistant Certification is Better?
Suzy Ashmore shared the following with us:
Re: RMA vs CMA (AAMA) - One better than the other?
"WOW!!! I am appalled at the amount of misinformation still being posted. i.e.: "RMA goes to college and the
CMA does not", and "CMA is only recognized state wide, RMA is a national certificate", and on and on. If you
people really want to know the facts, you need to contact representatives of the state societies in the state in
which you live. Both, American Medical Technologists (AMT) and AAMA have chapters in all 50 states,
including the Caribbean. I guess this controversy will never end."
What is the Difference Between RMA and CMA?
The American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) provides its membership the CMA designation (with
capital letters), this widely recognized credential is copyrighted. This means that any other organization that
wishes to "certify" medical assistants CANNOT use CMA with capital letters. The AAMA is the only organization
that can use the term "certified Medical Assistant, CMA", however all others can say their medical assistants
are certified. Look closely here, the only difference is the capitalization of the first letter.
A medical assistant is a medical assistant, regardless of the type of "credential" they hold, but there are slight
differences in the organizations (AAMA, AMT, ARMA, NRMA, AAMP, NHA, NCCA) themselves. To certify
through AAMA, you MUST have received your MA training through formal post-secondary vocational instruction,
i.e. from a trade or vocational training institution, community college, or university. Other certifying professional
membership organizations might allow you to sit for their exam if you have on the job training (OJT). These
organizations I mentioned above are accepted nationwide. There may be some states that require a state
certificate that may not be accepted in another state, but their certifications are good ANY WHERE! To say,
one credential is better than another is really not appropriate. It truly depends on the medical assistant's own
preference, and of course, the employer's who hires them.
RMA Applies for CMA Position
If you have earned the RMA, NRMA, CCMA or any other valid
credential and you wish to apply for a job that calls only for CMA in
their job advertisement, I suggest you contact your membership
association, e.g. The AMT to obtain a letter that will inform
employers that your credential is just as valid as that of the CMA.
If medical assistants themselves are confused over the
designation, how can you expect a doctor or an office manager to
know the difference between the medical assistant certifications?