Medical Assistant Certificate
Description and Outcomes
The objective of the Medical Assistant Certificate program is to prepare medical assistants who are competent in the cognitive (knowledge), psychomotor (skills), and affective (behavior) learning domains to enter the profession. This program concentrates on helping you acquire knowledge and develop skills in performing clinical and administrative procedures in a medical office or ambulatory care setting.
Prior to or upon graduation from the program, you may be eligible to take the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) examination given by the American Association of Medical Assistants, the Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) examination given by the American Medical Technologists, the National Certified Medical Assistant (NCMA) examination given by the National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT), the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) examination given by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA), and the Clinical Medical Assistant Certification (CMAC) examination given by the American Medical Certification Association (AMCA). A choice of one of these national credentialing exams is included as part of your program and expected to be completed during MA295 Medical Assisting Externship and Evaluation. Prospective and current students must review Purdue Global’s State Licensure and Certifications site to view program and state-specific licensure information. Refer to the Certification, State Board, and National Board Exams section for additional program disclosure information.
Workplace duties may include taking medical histories, scheduling appointments, answering telephones, collecting specimens, performing basic laboratory tests, venipuncture, electrocardiograms, and preparing and administering medications. You may also explain treatment procedures to patients and assist the physician during examinations.
The program blends online coursework with on-ground experiences. You will need to complete clinical experiences at an approved clinical site for MA280 Clinical Competencies III. You must also complete a supervised externship (160 hours) in a medical office or ambulatory care setting to complete the course of study. Refer to the General Policies section for criminal background check information and the Progression Requirements section for additional requirements.
The Medical Assistant Certificate program consists of a minimum of 58 quarter credit hours. Upon successful completion of this program, you will be awarded a certificate.
- Clinical: Demonstrate the core competencies of medical assisting clinical practice.
- Administrative: Perform clerical and administrative functions required of a medical assistant.
- Standards, Laws, and Ethics: Practice professional, ethical, and legal standards in health care settings.
- Professionalism: Exhibit professional behavior as defined by the health care industry.
For program availability, please refer to the U.S. State and Other Approvals section and Program Availability Information.
- Prior to beginning the first clinical experience, you must provide documentation of completion of an approved health care provider CPR training course. Approved courses include: American Heart Association (Basic Life Support for the Healthcare Provider), American Red Cross (BLS for Healthcare Providers), and ProCPR (Healthcare BLS).
- Prior to the first clinical experience, you are required to submit a health clearance form signed by a MD, DO, nurse practitioner, or physician’s assistant. You will also be required to provide evidence of two MMR vaccines or a positive blood titer; tetanus vaccination within the last 10 years; varicella vaccination, a positive titer, or documentation of disease; negative tuberculin test within the last year; three Hepatitis B vaccines, a positive titer, or a written waiver opting out of vaccination; and completion of a COVID vaccine or an approved medical or religious exemption. If you fail to submit the required immunizations and health clearance, you will be removed from the course prior to the start of the term.
- You will be withdrawn from the program if you are unable to successfully complete the following courses on the second attempt:
Course List Code Title Credits MA280 Clinical Competencies III 1 MA295 Medical Assisting Externship and Evaluation 5
- If you are a medical assisting student and drop, are dismissed, or take a leave of absence longer than 6 months after beginning and prior to completing clinical coursework (MA250 Professionalism in Health Care, MA265 Clinical Competencies I, MA275 Clinical Competencies II, MA280 Clinical Competencies III, and MA295 Medical Assisting Externship and Evaluation), you will be required to retake one or more of these courses to ensure currency of skills.
Certification, State Board, and National Board Exams
Certain state certification and licensure boards have specific educational requirements for programs to lead to a license or certification that is a precondition for employment in a recognized occupation. Prospective and current students must review Purdue Global’s State Licensure and Certifications site to view program and state-specific licensure information.
Unless otherwise specified, Purdue Global's programs are not designed to meet any specific state’s licensure or certification requirements. Licensure-track programs may limit enrollment to students in certain states; please see Purdue Global’s Program Availability Information to determine enrollment eligibility.
You are responsible for understanding the requirements of optional certification exams. Such requirements may change during the course of your program. You are not automatically certified in any way upon program completion. Although certain programs are designed to prepare you to take various optional certification exams, Purdue Global cannot guarantee you will be eligible to take these exams or become certified. Your eligibility may depend on your work experience, completion of education and/or degree requirements, not having a criminal record, and meeting other certification requirements.
The Medical Assisting Certificate program is designed to prepare you with clinical and administrative skills to provide outstanding patient care. The program is structured to provide appropriate academic preparation in pursuing national certification as a medical assistant. Prior to or upon graduation from the program, you may be eligible to take the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) examination given by the American Association of Medical Assistants, the Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) examination given by the American Medical Technologists, the National Certified Medical Assistant (NCMA) exam given by the National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT), the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) exam given by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA), and the Clinical Medical Assistant Certification (CMAC) examination given by the American Medical Certification Association (AMCA). A choice of one of these national credentialing exams is included as part of your program and expected to be completed during MA295 Medical Assisting Externship and Evaluation. Prospective and current students must review Purdue Global’s State Licensure and Certifications site to view program and state-specific licensure information.
The state of Washington requires all medical assistants to be certified or registered. Eligibility for certification requires graduation from a postsecondary school or college accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency approved by the U.S. Department of Education, which includes a minimum of 720 clock hours of training in medical assisting skills, including a clinical externship of no less than 160 hours.
In addition, graduates must successfully pass, within 5 years before submitting an initial application for certification, a certification examination issued by the AAMA, AMT, NHA, AMCA, or NCCT. Students who have completed all requirements except for passage of the examination may obtain interim certification, which will allow them to provide the Medical Assistant—Certified's full scope of practice. This interim certification expires when the graduate obtains the Medical Assistant—Certified credential or after 1 year and cannot be renewed.
For more information, please visit https://www.doh.wa.gov/LicensesPermitsandCertificates/ProfessionsNewReneworUpdate/MedicalAssistant.
Nebraska Medication Aide Registry for Medical Assistants
Medical assistants in the state of Nebraska are required to be credentialed as a medication aide in order to administer medications in Nebraska facilities. Applications and additional information are accessible through the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services at dhhs.ne.gov/licensure/Pages/Medication-Aide-Requirements.aspx.
North Dakota Medication Aide Registry for Medical Assistants
Medical assistants in North Dakota must obtain the Medication Assistant III registration in order to administer medications via subcutaneous, intramuscular, or intradermal routes.
Unlicensed assistive persons may obtain initial Medication Assistant III registration by submitting a Medication Assistant III Initial Application with the appropriate fee and completing a criminal history record check. Along with the application, you must submit the following:
Evidence of successful completion of a board-recognized medical assistant program and one of these four options:
- Certification from the American Association of Medical Assistants
- Certification from the National Health Career Association
- Certification from the National Center for Competency Testing or its successor organization awarding the certified medical credential
- Registration from the American Medical Technologists or its successor organization awarding the registered medical assistant credential
South Dakota Students
Medical assistants in South Dakota are under the joint regulatory control of the South Dakota Board of Medical Examiners and the South Dakota Board of Nursing. They must register with the South Dakota Board of Medical Examiners in order to practice.
Requirements for registration include:
- Proof of graduation from a medical assistant program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP), or one that holds other appropriate accreditation;
- Proof of good moral character;
- Proof the applicant has graduated from high school or passed a standard equivalency test;
- Documentation showing the applicant is at least 18 years of age; and
- Proof of having passed a national certifying exam approved by the boards.
For more information, please visit www.nursinglicensure.org/south-dakota-medical-assistant/.