The NAHP NRCMA exam is an industry certification that measures students’ proficiency in the administrative and clinical skills needed to become a medical assistant.
When students pass the exam, they earn a certification designating that they can work in a healthcare facility as a medical assistant.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that medical assisting employment will grow 29% through 2029, which is leading students to seek this certification!
So how can you help your students pass the NAHP NRCMA exam and become certified?
On this page, you’ll learn the details of what’s on the NAHP NRCMA exam and some tips to get your students ready for exam day.
First, let’s discuss the NAHP since they provide the exam!
The National Association for Health Professionals (NAHP) is a well-known provider of healthcare certifications.
The NAHP’s mission is “to promote and provide quality certification programs that validate knowledge in the healthcare arena for the enhancement of patient care and professional practice.”
To accomplish this, the NAHP provides certifications for nine healthcare professions, the most popular of which is the Nationally Registered Certified Medical Assistant (NRCMA) exam.
Now that you have some background on the NAHP, let’s get into the details of the NRCMA exam!
The NAHP NRCMA exam consists of 180 scored questions and 20 questions used to gather data.
These questions are segmented into three overarching sections:
Each section includes subsections that contain concepts and skills students need to know. The exam has questions from every section and subsection, although the number of questions about each topic area may vary.
The Fundamental Medical Assisting section includes 114 questions across five subsections related to the foundational knowledge any healthcare professional must know.
Anatomy & Physiology (11.5%)
Medical Terminology (25%)
Law & Ethics (3.5%)
This section ensures your students understand the basic concepts and skills that a medical assistant uses. It sets a strong foundation for your students when moving onto the more advanced information.
Without learning this foundational information, they won’t be able to succeed in the healthcare field!
The Clinical Medical Assisting section has 60 questions across two subsections that get into the detailed clinical skills students need to perform:
Medical Procedures including Laboratory (30%)
The daily tasks of a medical assistant can vary depending on the healthcare facility.
That’s why it’s important for a medical assistant to understand standard clinical procedures as well as those that relate to lab work and pharmacology!
The Administrative Medical Assisting section includes 26 questions across two subsections that help students learn the more administrative side of a medical assistant’s work:
Office Procedures (7%)
These skills may not require someone to interact with patients in the traditional sense, but they’re an important part of a medical assistant’s duties.
On test day, students take the NAHP NRCMA certification exam at an approved NAHP testing center.
At the testing center, the exam is administered in one of two ways:
For a computer-based exam, students have two hours to complete the assessment. Their results are automatically calculated and shared instantly so every student knows whether they’ve passed right away.
For a paper-based exam, students have two and a half hours to complete the test. The scores are tabulated and mailed out approximately four weeks later.
Either way, the official certifications and wallet cards are delivered within six weeks, noting that the receiver is a “Nationally Recognized Certified Medical Assistant!”
So now that you know the ins-and-outs of the NAHP NRCMA exam, there’s one last question to answer -- how do you prepare your students?
When it comes to preparing students for the NAHP NRCMA exam, many teachers run for test prep materials.
The NAHP’s review book and practice exams can be a great way to help students prep before exam day, but they don’t help you teach the material!
In addition, teaching to the test can harm your student’s long-term retention of information and accidentally lead you to skip important concepts that the exam doesn’t cover!
That’s why it’s smart to take a two-step approach when preparing students for the NAHP NRCMA exam:
This approach will help you teach the knowledge and skills your students need for success both on the exam and in their future careers!
Start by teaching the foundational concepts and skills your students need to know to work in the medical assisting field.
That means drawing from your own healthcare experience to discuss important information that may not even be on the exam!
It’s smart to also incorporate topics like customer service, communication, and professionalism to help your students put their best foot forward when entering the workforce.
Once you’re nearing the end of the semester, it’s time to break out the test prep materials.
That’s the perfect time to administer practice exams to measure how ready your students are for test day.
To make this process work, you need to seamlessly tie both pieces together in your classroom.
Some teachers do this by building their own medical assisting curriculum by creating lessons, activities, and assessments from scratch.
That’s a great way to provide a tailor-made curriculum for your students, but it takes a lot of time to complete!
That’s why medical assisting instructors have implemented a digital curriculum system to do the heavy lifting when it comes to preparing students for the NAHP NRCMA exam!
Medical assisting instructors across the US have implemented the HealthCenter21 digital curriculum system as a primary instructional resource to teach key concepts and skills on the NAHP NRCMA exam.
HealthCenter21 is designed to make your life easier while setting your students up for success both on the exam and in their careers.
It’s here to take your students from zero to certified by providing up-to-date lessons, engaging activities, scenario-based learning, and automatically-graded assessments.
Want to learn more?
Click below to learn what HealthCenter21 is and how teachers use it!