NHA CMAA Certification Test: What You Need to Know About the Latest Version Blog Feature
Sarah Layton

By: Sarah Layton on October 6th, 2015

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NHA CMAA Certification Test: What You Need to Know About the Latest Version

NHA CMAA | Health Science | National Healthcareer Association (NHA)

With healthcare always changing, the course standards and industry certification exams change as well. While these changes help to set students up for their careers, they can cause confusion and frustration for teachers.

So, with the new NHA CMAA test out there, what do you need to know to prepare your students for the CMAA?

We've taken a look at the newest NHA CMAA certification test plan to give you the details. We've also asked a health science instructor how she prepares her students even when changes come around!

Let's get started with what you need to know about the changes.

What Are the NHA CMAA Exam Changes?



When comparing the 2010 test plan to the most recent version, there are two types of changes.

First, the overall focus of the exam has changed. The 2010 version put a lot of emphasis on office work. The new exam is much more focused on healthcare aspects of office work that medical administrative assistants will need to know.

In addition, the number of items under each topic was changed to better align with what's most important for students to learn.

For example, the prior version scored 10 items on scheduling and the new test plan has 19.

Another example is the new Compliance section, which scores 16 items with a focus on HIPPA and OSHA guidelines. 

Overall, we've heard that many health science teachers like these changes because they make the exam more relevant to real-world situations a CMAA will encounter.

But what does the test actually cover? Here are some of the main topics from the new test plan:

  1. Patient scheduling
  2. Facility scheduling
  3. Appointment scheduling
  4. Test scheduling
  5. Demographic confirmation
  6. Insurance confirmation
  7. Patient insurance comprehension
  8. Form preparation
  9. Form completion
  10. Chart preparation
  11. Medical record organization
  12. Financial operations
  13. Mail organization
  14. HIPAA adherence
  15. OSHA adherence
  16. Center for Medicare / Medicaid Services adherence
  17. Patients' Bill of Rights adherence
  18. Office opening and closing
  19. Telephone etiquette
  20. Computer skills
  21. Medical terminology
  22. Abbreviation, acronym, and code knowledge

So how do teachers deal with the new test?

Certification Review: One Teacher's Experience


We had the opportunity to talk to health science teacher, Angela Mates, about her experience with the CMAA certification preparation process. Angela Mates is a nursing academy teacher at South Fort Myers High School in Lee County Schools, Florida.

AES: How will you know what to teach students, to prepare them for the CMAA certification test?

Mates: NHA has a Test Plan on their website that outlines what categories of information are on the certification exam.

AES: How is that different than what you did in the past?

Mates: This is only the second year that I will be teaching the material. I honestly didn’t put too much time and effort into it last year – because I knew it was changing.

AES: What kind of feedback do you get from NHA after students take the test?

Mates: I have never received feedback from NHA after students take a test. I can look up individual results – and it will tell me how they scored into the different content areas.

AES: Have you heard any tips from teachers who have had students take the new exams?

Mates: I haven’t heard from anyone that has already had their students take the new exam--as it was just rolled out in July.

After comparing test plans with Mates, it seems the best solution to prepping students for the new CMAA exam is to tweak your curriculum accordingly. 

That's easier said than done — but the results will speak for themselves!

Preparing Students for the CMAA Exam


Administrators and teachers have the same goal here — they want to make sure students are being well prepared for NHA CMAA certification exams. Experienced teachers know that an effective certification program is much more than a practice test and a seat for the exam.

Students enroll into certification programs with a wide range of understanding and experience. Some may already have relevant work experience and just need that piece of paper to move up in their job. Others are looking for their first healthcare job and need help with the fundamentals.

The instructor’s job is to assess the needs of the students and provide instruction and material to give each student the best chance to succeed. Blended learning is an important tool for a diverse student population.

Teachers with a large toolbox of resources will be able to show students their personal path to certification.

For many students, that will include foundation instructional material, lecture, hands on practice activities, exam study guides, practice tests, and an actual seat to take the exam.

How HealthCenter21 Preps Students for CMAA


HealthCenter21 rounds out prep materials and provides in-depth understanding of tested material rather than just ability to check the right boxes.

It also provides an extensive library of resources that can be used for students interested in completing the CMAA certification.

The library takes a mix-and-match approach where instructors pick and choose the learning modules that students need. We cover most of the topics required for the medical assistant certification.

Want to learn more? Read our NHA CMAA Certification Success Guide!

Download the National Health Science Assessment Guide


About Sarah Layton

Sarah is a contributing author to the AES blog. She is committed to helping instructors and students succeed both in and out of the classroom.