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Health Science | AMCA CMAC

What Is the AMCA CMAC Exam and Is It Right for Your Students?

May 19th, 2021 | 7 min. read

Emma Stanton

Emma Stanton

Emma plays a critical role in facilitating communication between valued educators and AES, daily. It's paramount for her to understand the needs and perspective of our teachers to ensure our mutual success, and add value wherever possible.

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The AMCA CMAC exam is an industry certification that measures students’ knowledge and skills needed to become a clinical medical assistant (CMA).

When someone passes the exam, they earn a certification designating that they can work in a healthcare facility as a CMA.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that employment opportunities for medical assistants will grow 29% through 2029.

That means students are flocking towards this career path!

But how can you set your students up for success to become certified?

On this page, you’ll learn the details of what’s on the AMCA CMAC exam and some tips to get your students ready for exam day.

First, let’s start with some background about the AMCA since they provide the exam!


What Is the AMCA?

The American Medical Certification Association (AMCA) is a nationally accredited provider of healthcare certifications.

The AMCA’s mission is to “enhance the allied healthcare industry by providing national certification exams that validate the knowledge and expertise of professionals in this field.”

To accomplish this, the AMCA provides 19 certification options that encompass both clinical and administrative healthcare careers.

Out of those 19 certifications, the CMAC exam is one of the most popular because of the number of career opportunities for clinical medical assistants!

Now that you know a bit about the AMCA, let’s get into the details of the CMAC exam!

How Is the AMCA CMAC Exam Structured?


The AMCA CMAC exam consists of 200 questions across seven topic areas:

  1. Anatomy and Physiology
  2. Phlebotomy
  3. EKG
  4. Safety & Infection Control
  5. Medical Law and Ethics
  6. Medical Office & Patient Care Skills
  7. Healthcare Systems

Each topic area makes up a certain percentage of the exam and involves detailed concepts and skills students must know to be successful.

1. Anatomy and Physiology

The Anatomy and Physiology section includes 24 questions related to two specific areas:

  • Body systems
  • Body positioning

It’s crucial for any medical assistant to understand the basics of anatomy and physiology. If someone isn’t up to speed on these foundational concepts and skills, it will be practically impossible to work in the medical field!

2. Phlebotomy

The Phlebotomy section is made up of 50 questions pertaining to instances when a medical assistant may need to assist with phlebotomy procedures.

This includes skills such as:

  • Patient prep
  • Specimen handling
  • Hematology

Though some healthcare facilities have a dedicated team of phlebotomy technicians, medical assistants need to know these skills in certain cases.

3. EKG

The EKG section includes 22 questions about EKG machines in clinical settings.

Overall students must be able to:

  • Conduct EKG tests
  • Monitor EKG machines
  • Use a 12 lead Holter Monitor

Duties involving EKGs most often fall to EKG technicians, but in some cases a medical assistant may be asked to assist in monitoring the patient during the testing.

4. Safety & Infection Control

The Safety & Infection Control section has 39 questions surrounding daily safety practices a medical assistant is expected to follow.

These include skills such as:

These tasks are common safety precautions a medical assistant will need to follow to maintain a clean and safe environment.

5. Medical Law & Ethics

The Medical Law & Ethics section includes 22 questions related to regulations in the healthcare industry.

Specifically, it focuses on:

  • HIPAA compliance
  • Patient’s Bill of Rights

These regulations are essential to a patient’s privacy and play a critical part in any medical assistant’s work.

6. Medical Office & Patient Care Skills

The Medical Office & Patient Care Skills section has 29 questions that measures students on the most common duties of a clinical medical assistant.

These include:

These are some of the most important tasks that medical assistants complete on a daily basis, so knowing how to do them properly is key!

7. Healthcare Systems

The Healthcare Systems section includes 14 questions that help students understand how different healthcare systems impact quality of patient care.

These are segmented into two specific areas:

  • Staff processes and procedures
  • Job tasks

Understanding the basics of how healthcare systems and teams work will help your students be more aware of their role as part of the big picture.

What Is the AMCA CMAC Certification Process?


On exam day, students have 3 hours and 30 minutes to complete the AMCA CMAC exam.

The testing must take place at an official AMCA testing site, which could include your school.

When a student passes the exam, the AMCA sends an email with the posted score and access to their AMCA transcript.

Students can also choose to receive:

  • A certification ID card
  • A digital badge
  • A framed certificate

These are helpful items for your students to prove to potential employers that they are certified and ready to work as clinical medical assistants!

So now that you know the ins-and-outs of the AMCA CMAC exam, it’s time to decide if it’s right for you and your students!

Should You Implement the AMCA CMAC Exam?


At the end of the day, implementing the AMCA CMAC exam in your medical assisting program depends on two factors:

  1. Are your students eligible to take the exam?
  2. Does the certification align with your course standards?

First, you should find out if your students will be eligible to take the AMCA CMAC exam.

If your program doesn’t meet the requirements, you can move on and find another option.

If your program will meet the requirements, it’s time to compare how well the certification objectives align with your course standards.

Even if the certification will help your students reach their career goals, it’s important you hit your course standards.

After all, if you don’t teach the required material, your students won’t meet the course objectives and pass the class. That’ll set them up for failure on the exam!

Once you’ve compared the exam to your curriculum, there are two outcomes.

If everything aligns, you’re good to go! Start mapping your curriculum with the AMCA CMAC exam!

If there are a lot of gaps between the exam and your course standards, you may want to consider a different certification for your program.

Many medical assisting teachers who follow this route implement the NHA CCMA exam.

Want to learn more?

Click below to see a detailed comparison between the AMCA CMAC and NHA CCMA exam!

Learn the Difference between the NHA CCMA and AMCA CMAC Exams!