CCMA vs. CMA: What’s the Difference?

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Considering a fulfilling healthcare career that immerses you in patient care without the extended academic commitment? The role of a medical assistant could be your calling. These professionals are integral to hospitals, clinics, and doctor’s offices.

In the realm of medical assisting, two predominant pathways emerge: CMA and CCMA. Grasping the nuances between them is pivotal as you sculpt your professional trajectory.

What Is a CMA?

The acronym CMA represents a certified medical assistant. These professionals are adept at fundamental medical tasks, from recording patient histories and measuring vital signs to aiding in patient examinations. However, their expertise isn’t confined to the clinical. CMAs are also versed in administrative responsibilities, encompassing patient record maintenance, insurance claim processing, and orchestrating appointments.

To become a certified medical assistant, you must go through an accredited training program. Once complete, you take a certification exam from the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA).

It is important to remember that a CMA’s primary focus is administrative work. While they’re equipped to engage with patients, their typical day might revolve around front-desk tasks, such as welcoming patients or authenticating insurance details.

What Is a CCMA?

So, what does a CCMA do? A certified clinical medical assistant or CCMA has a similar role as a CMA with one critical difference. A CCMA trains for clinical, not administrative, work. They take medical histories, set patients up for exams, measure and record vital signs, and even draw blood.

Unlike their CMA counterparts, CCMAs steer clear of administrative duties like insurance claim processing or appointment scheduling. The term “clinical” emphasizes their hands-on patient care focus, as opposed to paperwork.

Much like CMAs, CCMAs go through an accredited program and take a certification exam to prove their knowledge and skills. The certifying organization is the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).

CMA vs CCMA: What’s the Same

Clearly, these two roles have a lot in common. Both are pillars in healthcare settings, be it in bustling hospitals or intimate private practices. Their clinical competencies are evident, especially when it comes to foundational patient care tasks like recording vital signs.

Both are able to:

  • Record vital signs
  • Do patient education
  • Dress wounds
  • Collect lab specimens, including blood and urine
  • Sterilize equipment
  • Dispose of medical waste
  • Make medical histories
  • Administer physician-prescribed medications and vaccines.

Whether it’s a CMA or CCMA, both might find themselves assisting physicians during medical examinations or procedures. Without a doubt, both roles demand rigorous training and successful completion of a certification examination.

CCMA vs CMA: What’s the Difference

The primary difference between CMA and CCMA lies within their primary focus areas. CCMAs are deeply entrenched in the clinical facets of healthcare. Their day-to-day revolves around direct patient interactions and supporting physicians in their clinical duties.

On the other hand, CMAs are often found orchestrating administrative tasks from behind their desks. While they’re equipped to handle clinical responsibilities, their mainstay is administrative duties, from answering calls to managing paperwork.

In essence, the CMA’s role is multifaceted. They often serve as the initial touchpoint for patients, seamlessly bridging the clinical and administrative realms. Hence, when many think of a medical assistant, they visualize the professionals assisting in medical procedures rather than those meticulously managing front-desk duties.

The journey to certification also diverges for each role. Prospective CCMAs must graduate from an accredited program, engage in an apprenticeship, or accumulate a year’s experience as a medical assistant to qualify for the CCMA exam.

In contrast, CMA aspirants must undergo a background check and must complete a training program endorsed by either the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) or the Commission of Accreditation of Allied Health Education programs to be eligible for the CMA exam.

CCMA vs CMA Which is Better?

The decision between CCMA and CMA ultimately rests on your personal aspirations and what you envision for your role in the healthcare sector. If you’re driven by a passion to be hands-on with patient care, the CCMA pathway might resonate more with your goals. Plus, with the availability of CCMA courses, transitioning into this role has never been more accessible.

Advanced eClinical Training (ACT) offers a clinical medical assistant program that is self-paced, online, and highly affordable. In just eight weeks, you could be on your way to being a healthcare professional. Once you graduate from the CCMA program at ACT, you qualify to sit for the NHA exam and start working.

Completing the CCMA program can also serve as a foundational step, paving the way for further advancements in healthcare, be it nursing, PA roles, or medical school. ACT has other budget-friendly medical certifications, such as patient care and pharmacy technician, that can add to your skill sets and knowledge.

Enroll now to start your journey in healthcare at Advanced eClinical Training.

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