How to Run a Strong
CMAA Certification Program
Are you trying to prepare your students for the CMAA Certification exam? It can be a daunting task for any health science instructor, but learning how you can help your students succeed is the first step. To help your students succeed, you need to have the strongest CMAA Program possible.
Before getting to the certification, it’s important to understand why the Medical Administrative Assistant certification is so popular and how a CMAA program works.
Why is the CMAA Certification popular?
Certified Medical Administrative Assistant programs are gaining popularity in the secondary school system… but why? The NHA CMAA certification offers students a foot in the door to the healthcare field and prepares them for a career as a healthcare professional.
As a stand-alone career, Medical AdministrativeAssistants provide patients, families, and physicians with courteous customer service, whether the visit is a checkup or due to illness and injury. The skills learned by a CMAA transfer easily to other careers, such as:
- Medical Office Manager
- Billing and Coding Specialist
- Medical Transcriptionist
Another reason this certification is popular in high schools is the ease of incorporation. CMAA programs can fit into a curriculum without the added stress of obtaining clinical externships to the students, but still provides them with valuable career training.
How does the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant program work?
Students are usually introduced to the healthcare field in middle school or junior high in a career exploration course. Students who find the healthcare pathway interesting will then take a health science course in high school.
Most health science programs have one or two years of foundational courses where students learn basic skills that are required of all healthcare workers. These skills typically include:
- Anatomy & Physiology
- Legal and Ethical Issues
- HIPAA and OSHA Requirements
- Vital Signs
- Medical Terminology
- Medical Math
These skills give students a good foundation for future specialties in the healthcare cluster, one of which is the Medical Administrative Assistant.
How to prepare your students for success on the CMAA test:
Step 1 – Understand the CMAA Certification process
Eligibility for Certification: Students need to be 18 years old to be officially certified, but the National HealthCare Association allows students under 18 to sit for the test and become provisionally certified. The provisional certifications can be converted to full certifications after the student graduates and turns 18.
Practice CMAA Testing: The best situation for students occurs when practice tests are provided by the school. During practice, students have 5 attempts at the test. Teachers can get feedback after each attempt to help guide students toward successful results on the CMAA Certification exam.
The CMAA Certification Exam: Once students are ready, they can take the official certification test for Medical Administrative Assistant. The format of the exam is the same as the practice tests (100 questions), but the actual questions on the exam will be different.
Step 2 – Keep up with CMAA test changes
Did you know that the CMAA certification exam was changed in July 2015? It was updated to reflect current trends and legal issues in the healthcare field.
Most notable was an increased emphasis on scheduling and Compliance items focused on HIPAA and OSHA guidelines.
What this means for instructors is that your curriculum should shift to reflect these changes. Maybe you should spend more time teaching a strong work ethic based in customer service and a regard for patient privacy.
Step 3 – Follow these Best Practices
As a health science instructor, you can best prepare your students for the CMAA exam and their future careers by following these best practices:
- Review the CMAA test plan
- Align your core curriculum with the tests
- Provide opportunities for students to take online assessments
- Use a curriculum that goes beyond the healthcare core to help students master concepts specific to CMAA
- Schedule practice assessments early in the year so there is time to close knowledge gaps
- Use study guides and practice tests along with normal curriculum
- Take one last practice exam close to the official exam time
A CMAA Study Guide… Is that all?
Preparing students for CMAA certification may be the goal of your course, but if you think you can get away with just a CMAA study guide… think again!
Though the goal of your program may be to provide students with success in passing the Medical Administrative Assistant certification exam, there is much more your students need for success in their careers. Don’t lose focus on these essential skills that will further your students’ careers in the medical field:
- Clear communication and proper etiquette
- Time management and responsibility
- Creativity and flexibility
- Leadership and teamwork
- The ability to work under pressure
The reward for students isn’t just passing the exam. A successful Medical Administrative Assistant must meet the challenges of working with the public in a setting that is not always pleasant.
Being able to calm worrying parents, fit patients into an overloaded schedule, and making sure everyone can do their job without violating privacy laws can be stressful. By having a well-rounded curriculum, you help your students master the additional skills they need to manage patients, co-workers, and time with confidence and grace. You’ll know you have succeeded when your students demonstrate the following traits:
- Analytical skills
- Attention to detail
- Interpersonal skills
- Technical skills
By providing a balance of health science knowledge and practical skills, your students will be well prepared for success on the CMAA exam and in their future jobs as Certified Medical Administrative Assistants.
Want to know more about CMAA Certification? This post may be what you’re looking for… CMAA Certification: Looking to Improve Student Performance?