FAQs on CMA (AAMA)® Certification and Practice Exam

Here are answers to the most frequently asked questions about the CMA (AAMA)® Certification, practice exam, and pilot program.

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CMA (AAMA)® Certification FAQs

Here are answers to the most frequently asked questions about the CMA (AAMA)® Certification Exam.

For more details, review the CMA (AAMA) Certification Exam Application.

To qualify for the exam, you must be in one of three enrollment categories:

Category 1: Completing students and recent graduates of CAAHEP- or ABHES-accredited medical assisting programs

  • Completing students may take the exam no more than 30 days prior to completing their formal education, including a practicum.
  • Recent graduates are those who apply for the exam within 12 months of graduation.

Category 2: Nonrecent graduates of a CAAHEP- or ABHES-accredited medical assisting program

Nonrecent graduates are those who apply for the exam more than 12 months after graduation.

Category 3: CMA (AAMA) recertificant

You must have previously passed the exam and been awarded the CMA (AAMA) credential.

Category 4—Alternative Pathway: Graduate of a qualified postsecondary medical assisting program or postsecondary medical assisting apprenticeship program that meets certain requirements

The Certifying Board (CB) of the AAMA recognizes that postsecondary (college-level) medical assisting programs other than those accredited by CAAHEP or ABHES may provide the requisite educational depth, breadth, and rigor for their graduates to apply for the CMA (AAMA) Certification Exam. For FAQs, expand the next section entitled “CMA (AAMA) Certification Exam Eligibility Category 4 FAQs.” 

Ineligible Candidate: If you do not meet the exam eligibility requirements, your application will be canceled. The candidate fee, less a $65 administrative fee, will be refunded within four to six weeks after your application has been reviewed.

You may not be eligible if you have not met the eligibility requirements.

The Certifying Board may grant a waiver based upon mitigating circumstances. If you wish to request that the Certifying Board permit you to take the test, you must submit a Request for Waiver Form and written evidence that demonstrates your felony conviction or plea or professional misconduct should not prevent you from taking the CMA (AAMA) Exam.

See the AAMA Code of Conduct and Disciplinary Standards and Procedures for CMAs (AAMA) and Exam Candidates for details.

The exam may be taken throughout the year at a PSI testing center near you. Each candidate is allowed a 90-day period in which to take the exam. Your 90-day testing period will be assigned based on the testing period start date you indicate on your application.

Each candidate is allowed a 90-day period in which to take the exam. Your 90-day testing period will be assigned based on the testing period start date you indicate on your application. The start date should be the earliest date that you wish to sit for the exam.

The AAMA Certification Department reserves the right to assign a testing period start date to a candidate (e.g., if the application is received after the required due date, no start date was given, or if an inappropriate start date was listed).

If submitting the application online, please allow 24 hours after registering to receive the email from PSI with scheduling instructions. If submitting the application by mail, please allow two weeks for processing.

Applicants can schedule their exam as soon as their application is completed and their payment is processed.

(See “Ninety-Day Testing Period” and “Application Timelines” in the CMA (AAMA) Certification Exam Application.)

Note: Applicants who must submit specific documentation must allow extra time for application processing:

  • Candidates requesting a waiver due to having been found guilty of a felony, or pleaded guilty to a felony, or having a professional license, registration, or certification denied, revoked, suspended, or subjected to probationary conditions by a regulatory authority or certification board
  • Disabled persons who require special provisions on exam day
  • Non-recent graduates who do not submit an official transcript with their application

If you are a member of the AAMA or a CAAHEP or ABHES completing student or recent graduate, your fee is $125. All others pay $250. If your credential has expired, you will pay an additional $50 reactivation fee.

All fees are nonrefundable and nontransferable.

Personal checks will not be accepted. Candidate fees must be paid by any of the following methods:

  • Money order
  • Credit card
  • Debit card
  • Cashier's check
  • Certified check
  • Institution check

Applications submitted without proper fee payment will delay scheduling of your exam appointment or may be returned to you.

Membership in the AAMA gives you great benefits that will help you on your career path. Discover these benefits and join today.

The required documentation varies for each category:

Category 1: No documentation is required from you. Your program completion—including a practicum—must be verified by your program director in order for you to receive your official scores.

The AAMA Certifying Board reserves the right to request an official transcript from you at any time.

Category 2: You must furnish your official transcript.

The AAMA Certifying Board reserves the right to request a copy of your diploma, certificate, or degree at any time.

Category 3: You must provide your CMA (AAMA) certificate number.

Category 4Alternative Pathway: At a minimum, the following documentation will be required:

1. Transcript (an unofficial transcript may be submitted for initial review, but if approved, an official transcript will be required).

2. Attestation Form

See the "Eligibility Requirements for the CMA (AAMA)® Exam" webpage for details.

People with disabilities who require special accommodations on exam day must first be completely enrolled for the CMA (AAMA) Certification Exam before submitting a test accommodations request to PSI. Once completely enrolled and a scheduling email is received, candidates must use the PSI special accommodations link to submit the request and all required documentation to PSI. For more information, please review the PSI requirements for exam accommodation requests.

If you are a completing student or graduate, your program director will receive a form that must be completed to verify you fulfilled all formal coursework requirements, including a practicum, and that you did not take the CMA (AAMA) Exam more than 30 days prior to the date you fulfilled all program requirements.

If you are a nonrecent graduate you must submit an official transcript with your application.

Mail your application, candidate fee, and documentation (if necessary) in one envelope to:

AAMA Certification
7999 Eagle Way
Chicago, IL 60678-1079

Use the complete nine-digit ZIP code.

No. We cannot accept faxed applications.

You can access your AAMA ID by signing into the AAMA website and selecting "My Account." Your ID will be found under the "Profile" section.

When will I find out if my application has been accepted?

You will receive an email within 30 days of the date you mailed your application.

If you have met all application requirements, you will receive an email from No-Reply@psiexams.com within 24 hours to schedule your exam. Upon receipt of this email, follow these steps:

  • Review the steps outlined via the “PSI Exam Scheduling” webpage; you can choose between scheduling your exam online or by phone.
  • Complete the outlined steps of the method of your choice.
  • Bring a government issued photo ID with you to your exam appointment.

If your application is incomplete, you will receive an email explaining the deficiencies, which may include the following:

  • Missing/incomplete email or mailing address (you'll be notified by letter)
  • Nonpayment of fees, insufficient fees, or a declined credit/debit card
  • Missing CAAHEP or ABHES accreditation code
  • Missing official transcript (nonrecent graduates)
  • Missing felony waiver (also known as the Request for Waiver Form) documentation (if applicable)

If you do not receive a response within 30 days, check your junk/spam email folder to see if it was diverted there. If you do not find it, please notify the Certification Department by calling 800/228-2262 or by emailing CMAExam@aama-ntl.org. Include the following information:

  1. Your name
  2. Your graduation date
  3. Your accreditation code (supplied by your program director) or your school name, school city, and school state

Consider these tips:

  • Make sure you have provided an email address that will be valid for the next year (school addresses often are closed after graduation).
  • If you need to change your email address, update your profile online or call the AAMA immediately at 800/228-2262.
  • Add CMAExam@aama-ntl.org and No-Reply@psiexams.com to your approved email list.
  • Check your spam or junk email folder for emails from CMAExam@aama-ntl.org and No-Reply@psiexams.com.

Once you have applied for and been approved for testing by the AAMA, you’re ready to schedule your exam with PSI Services.

Please confirm you have received your scheduling email from PSI (No-Reply@psiexam.com) before proceeding any further.

Visit the “PSI Exam Scheduling” webpage for more details on how to schedule your exam appointment. 

For a $65 fee, a candidate may transfer to a new 90-day testing period.

Requests must be submitted in writing to the AAMA Certification Department at least 30 days prior to the end of the original testing period. Only one transfer is allowed.


The computerized exam consists of 200 multiple-choice questions covering topic areas that are listed in the Content Outline for the CMA (AAMA)® Certification Exam.

Before the exam begins, there will be an optional tutorial that shows how to navigate through the exam. The maximum time allowed for the tutorial is five minutes. The time used for the tutorial is not counted as part of the test time and will not affect your score.

Upon completion of the optional five-minute tutorial, the exam will be administered in four 40-minute segments. You will have three optional breaks between each segment totaling 20 minutes. The first break after segment one will be five minutes, the second break after segment two will be ten minutes, and the third break after segment three will be five minutes. Your test time will not be extended if you decline the tutorial or the optional break time. You will have 160 minutes to answer all the exam questions. The maximum time allowed for your exam appointment, not including the tutorial or post-exam survey, is three hours (180 minutes). 

Yes, PSI test centers do offer scratch paper for CMA (AAMA) exam candidates. It is available upon request.

Your score is based on the number of correct responses on the total examination. This score has been standardized and fixed on a scale that is based on a reference group, which comprises certification candidates who are graduates of CAAHEP accredited programs taking the examination under standard conditions for the first time. The scale ranges from 200 to 800.

The Certifying Board of the American Association of Medical Assistants establishes the minimum score required to pass the exam for each examination. A standard-setting exercise/study is conducted on a regular basis to establish the standard level of minimum competency an entry level medical assistant from a CAAHEP- or ABHES-accredited program must meet in order to pass the CMA (AAMA) Certification Exam on the first attempt. The participants in this study are randomly selected from CMAs (AAMA) across the country who represent the profession. This study results in a standard that is translated to a minimum passing score. The minimum passing score (MPS) is 405. Thus, you will need to obtain a score of 405 or more to pass the examination. The AAMA Certifying Board may change this minimum required proficiency level as deemed appropriate.

An official pass/fail notification will be provided to you immediately upon your completion of the exam.

Candidates will be emailed an official report of the score achieved approximately 24 hours after the exam date. You can also sign in to your AAMA account to check “My Certification Information” for updates on your exam status and your scores. (Scores will be posted to your account 24 hours after you take your exam.)

Candidates who pass the exam and have had all program requirements verified will be awarded the CMA (AAMA) credential, which will be confirmed by the issuance of a digital badge.

If you have not received a score report within 24 hours of the exam date, contact the AAMA Certification Department.

(See "Post-Exam Information and Policies" in the CMA (AAMA) Certification Exam Application.)

You will receive a digital badge once AAMA staff have processed your certification status update after you’ve passed the CMA (AAMA) Certification Exam or after you’ve recertified your credential by continuing education. Paper certificates and wallet cards are no longer issued. Individuals can print a wallet card and certificate themselves directly from the BadgeCert website.  Visit the "Digital Badges" webpage for details.

If your official result indicates that you did not pass, you may submit an application and the regular candidate fee at your earliest convenience.

Initial candidates for the CMA (AAMA) Exam are allowed three exam attempts. Candidates recertifying by exam are allowed three attempts. Each attempt will require a new exam application and fee.

While there is no time limit in which to apply for and take the exam, candidates are encouraged to take the exam within 30 days prior to completing their program or as soon as possible thereafter in order to be able to apply the knowledge gained from their program attendance.

Yes. To better ensure continuing competency and knowledge and thus better protect patients, you are required to recertify your credential every 60 months.

Current status is required in order to use the CMA (AAMA) credential.

All newly certified and recertifying CMAs (AAMA) will be current for 60 months from the end of the calendar month of initial certification or most recent recertification.

Review the recertification policies and information on the website.

Yes. Certification status is a matter of public record and may be released. Your CMA (AAMA) Certification status can be verified on the Verify Employee CMA (AAMA) Status page.

The AAMA receives 100 or more requests per day to verify that current or potential medical assistant employees are CMAs (AAMA).

CMA (AAMA) lapel pins and replacement certificates are no longer available for order. Individuals who certify or recertify on or after June 1, 2021, will receive a digital badge and can print a wallet card and certificate themselves directly from the BadgeCert website. Visit the "Digital Badges" webpage for details. If an individual hasn’t recertified since June 1, 2021, and won’t for some time, they have the option to purchase a digital badge using the CMA (AAMA) Digital Badge Order Form.

Yes. The CMA (AAMA) credential is a national certification recognized by employers across the country.

Face masks are optional at PSI test centers. Check PSI’s “COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions” webpage for more information.

The Certifying Board allows retired CMAs (AAMA) to use “CMA (AAMA)–Retired” after their names for ceremonial purposes only (e.g., national, regional, state, or local meetings) for a one-time fee of $50. Fill out the CMA (AAMA)–Retired Registration Form and submit to Certification@aama-ntl.org.

CMA (AAMA)® Certification Exam Eligibility Category 4 FAQs

Here are answers to the most frequently asked questions about the CMA (AAMA)® Certification Exam Eligibility Category 4. .

Program length must be the equivalent of two semesters and include a minimum of 560 academic contact hours. This does not include the practicum/externship. A minimum of a 160-hour practicum/externship, or 1,000 hours of medical assisting experience following program completion, must be completed in addition to the 560 academic hours.

No, it does not. A minimum of a 160-hour practicum/externship, or 1,000 hours of medical assisting experience following program completion, must be completed in addition to the 560 academic hours.

Section 1 and Section 2 are required to be completed in order to be considered for approval. Section 3 only needs to be completed if your medical assisting program did not include an externship component.

Section 1, Attestation for Program Requirements, must be completed and signed by the medical assisting program director, medical assisting faculty, registrar, state department of education, or any other individual who has institutional authority and can verify the program components.

Section 2, Attestation for Application of Knowledge, must be completed and signed by the medical assisting program director, medical assisting faculty, externship coordinator, clinical site lead, or current employer.

Section 3, Attestation for Medical Assisting Experience, is optional and is only required if the medical assisting program did not include an externship component. This section must be signed by the employer(s)—multiple attestation letters may be signed and uploaded to equal 1,000 hours.

It is allowable for your program director to attest to the academic contact hour conversion.

No, the 1,000 hours of medical assisting experience must be completed in an outpatient setting after you have completed your medical assisting program.

No. It cannot be 100% online; however, parts of the program can be online.

The cost to sit for the CMA (AAMA) Certification Exam is $250 for nonmembers and $125 for AAMA members. To become a member, visit the join membership webpage.

Yes, the institution must have been accredited during the time you attended.

At a minimum, you will need to submit a transcript (an official transcript will be required when approved for the exam) and an Attestation Form confirming successful completion of a postsecondary (college-level) medical assisting program that met the above criteria and that included:

  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Infection control
  • Pharmacology
  • Applied mathematics (including dosage calculations and metric conversions)
  • Preparation and successful administration of a total of at least 10 intramuscular, intradermal, and subcutaneous injections in any combination
  • Successful performance of phlebotomy a minimum of 10 times

Please allow 30 days for documentation review to be completed.

No. If your documentation is approved, you will be eligible to sit for the CMA (AAMA) Certification Exam. You must first take and pass your exam to become a CMA (AAMA).

No. Per the requirements of Category 4, candidates must have graduated from a postsecondary (college-level) medical assisting program.

You may be eligible if you are able to have the Attestation Form completed by your program director or medical assisting program faculty during the time you attended your program. A transcript will also be needed.

If you are not eligible for the CMA (AAMA) Certification Exam, you may be eligible for any of the AAMA assessment-based certification programs available via the AAMA e-Learning Center.

CMA (AAMA)® Certification Practice Exam FAQs

Here are answers to the most frequently asked questions about CMA (AAMA)® Certification Practice Exam.

There are 10 practice modules, each containing 20 questions presented in a random order, for a total set of 200 questions. You will be able to go through the set of 200 questions twice.

You will have 90 days from the date of purchase to go through the set of 200 questions twice.

The practice exam will have a timer running to help you pace yourself, since the actual CMA (AAMA) Certification Exam will be timed.

Your session will timeout after 20 minutes of inactivity. However, you will be able to proceed with where you left off in the practice exam.

Refresh the page by hitting the F5 key or the reload page option on your browser.

The CMA (AAMA) Certification Practice Exam costs $30 for members and nonmembers.

Yes, you may purchase the CMA (AAMA) Certification Practice Exam an unlimited number of times.

You may take the Sample CMA (AAMA) Certification Practice Exam an unlimited number of times.

There are five questions in the Sample CMA (AAMA) Certification Practice Exam.

No, the questions on this practice exam will not appear on the actual CMA (AAMA) Certification Exam.

No, performance on the CMA (AAMA) Certification Practice Exam does not ensure a passing score on the CMA (AAMA) Certification Exam.