How to Build a Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) Curriculum

The Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) exam is one of the most popular certifications from the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).

With the influx of students interested in this career path, you need to build a great CMAA curriculum to help them succeed on the exam and in their careers!

There are four key steps to build your perfect medical administrative assistant curriculum:

  1. Know the details of the exam
  2. Review your standards
  3. Connect with local healthcare providers
  4. Choose your instructional materials

We’ll start with the most important step first -- know the ins-and-outs of the NHA CMAA exam!

1. Know the Details of the NHA CMAA Exam

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Before you can create a curriculum that aligns to the NHA CMAA exam, you need to know what’s on it!

In total, the CMAA exam has 110 scored questions and 20 pretest questions the NHA uses to gather data.

These questions fall into seven topic areas, which the NHA calls “domains:”

  1. Scheduling
  2. Patient Intake
  3. Office Logistics
  4. Compliance
  5. Patient Education
  6. General Office Policies
  7. Basic Medical Terminology

Each domain includes multiple subtopics that further define the knowledge and skills students need to know to pass the CMAA exam.

After reviewing the CMAA exam details don’t jump into building your curriculum just yet. There’s another item you’ll need to reference when it comes to creating your course!

2. Review Your Course Standards

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You know you want to prepare your students for the CMAA exam, but your curriculum probably has other requirements as well.

These requirements can come in the form of state, district, or school standards.

Some states, like Florida and Georgia, have state-wide health science curriculum standards. That means every health science program across the state has the same course standards.

In other states, health science courses may vary from district to district.

Either way, you should ask your CTE administrator about the specifics of your medical administrative assistant course standards.

If you need to meet those requirements, your curriculum should help you hit every piece!

But NHA and state standards are only two sources of information to build a CMAA exam. What about the healthcare providers who work as CMAAs every day?

3. Connect with Local Healthcare Providers

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While obtaining the CMAA certification is the end goal of your course, it’s not the end goal for your students!

Once they’ve got the certification, the next step is to work as medical administrative assistants.

This is why it’s crucial for you to network with local healthcare providers. They’re the ones who will employ your students!

When you speak with these professionals, you can ask them if there are any skills new CMAAs seem to be lacking and work that into your curriculum.

It’s possible that your local practices need CMAAs to take up a few extra tasks from time to time that aren’t typically in their role description.

Whether you hear two items or 20, the input from professionals in the industry will help you truly get your students ready for their future careers!

Once you’re armed with the information from your local healthcare providers, it’s time for step four.

4. Choose Your Instructional Materials

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The last step is to find the resources to help you teach the material!

The four most important resources are:

  • Test prep materials
  • Textbooks
  • Free online resources
  • Digital curriculum

Depending on your preferences and the learning style of your students, you could find one of these options works better than others.

CMAA Test Prep Materials

Test prep materials are excellent tools to review and reinforce content that’s on the NHA CMAA exam.

The NHA even provides CMAA study guides and practice tests that are specifically geared towards the certification.

However, these resources aren’t very helpful when it comes to actually teaching the information to your students.

That’s why most teachers use them alongside one of the other types of instructional materials.

Medical Administrative Assistant Textbooks

Textbooks are the most common resource for health science instructors, and most teachers are familiar with using a textbook to build a curriculum.

Unfortunately for teachers focused on CMAA certifications, there aren’t many textbooks out there specific to medical administrative assistants. In fact, most medical assisting textbooks are geared towards clinical medical assisting (CCMA).

Some of the options combine the two careers, such as Pearson’s Comprehensive Medical Assisting: Administrative and Clinical Competencies. But you’ll be hard-pressed to find a textbook specific to medical administrative assisting.

Because of this, many teachers have looked for materials that are more geared towards the CMAA profession, leading them to try free online resources.

Free Online Teaching Resources

There are a ton of high school health science resources you can find on the Internet.

However, there’s only a handful of good ones when it comes to medical administrative assisting.

CTE Online is one of the most commonly used free online resources when it comes to teaching CMAA classes.

They have a ton of materials and ideas included in what they call the “Medical Assistant Model (Advanced Healthcare Administrative Services) - CTE Online Model.”

What’s great about this free resource is that each lesson is provided by a real health science instructor or industry professional.

That means the creators know the subject matter first-hand, something that doesn’t often happen with free resources you find online!

Still, any free resource does have a big downside -- it won’t always reflect the most up to date information. That’s crucial when preparing students for the CMAA certification.

That’s why some teachers end up using the final type of instructional material!

Digital Curriculum for Medical Administrative Assisting

A digital curriculum system provides a good base of information just like a traditional textbook.

It also includes ready-to-use lesson plans, classroom activities, teacher presentations, hands-on skills sheets, and more.

But on top of all that, teachers like to use digital curriculum because it’s automatically updated as the CMAA exam or course standards change.

That means once you’ve chosen a digital curriculum, you can stick with the same instructional resource as long as you’re teaching your course!

That’s why so many CMAA teachers have opted to use the HealthCenter21 digital curriculum system to build their curriculum.

Make Your Medical Administrative Assistant Curriculum with HealthCenter21

HealthCenter21 is a full-fledged digital curriculum specifically designed to help you teach lessons and prepare your students to become CMAAs.

This is possible because HealthCenter21 includes both foundational health science content and lessons specific to medical administrative assistants.

That means you’ll be able to cover the concepts on the exam, your course requirements, and even the needs of local employers!

Best of all, HealthCenter21 is mapped to the NHA CMAA test plan, so you can see exactly how it aligns to the test!

Want to learn more?

Click below to download the NHA CMAA certification success guide!

Download the National Health Science Assessment Guide