On July 27, 2007, the Certifying Board of the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) determined that the title of the certification will be changed to “Certified Medical Assistant (AAMA).” The abbreviation of the certification will be “CMA (AAMA).”

These changes will become effective officially January 1, 2008. As of that date, all medical assistants holding current certification should use the designations stated above.

CMAs certifying or recertifying after January 1, 2008, will receive a certificate and wallet card with the new certification or recertification.  Newly certified CMAs will receive a pin with the new certification. All current CMAs may continue to use their current CMA pin or may purchase the newly designed CMA (AAMA) pin.

Medical assisting continues to be projected by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics as one of the fastest growing professions.  An increasing number of employers are preferring to hire, or even insisting on hiring, medical assistants holding the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) credential of the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). The change in the certification and abbreviation will make it immediately clear to employers and potential employers whether a medical assistant is a CMA (AAMA).

This change will further differentiate the Certified Medical Assistant (AAMA) from all other medical assisting certifications. In addition, it will give the American Association of Medical Assistants even greater leverage against attempts to blur the distinction between the CMA (AAMA) and other medical assisting certifications.

Other professional organizations have taken similar measures to distinguish their certifications. Note the following language from the website of the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP):


The [American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)] Board of Registry (BOR) established the use of the initials “MT”…after the registrant’s name in 1931.  Later they added the parenthetic initials “(ASCP)” as other organizations attempted to grant the same designation, thus establishing the ASCP BOR’s certification as its own. The BOR certification was soon recognized as the “gold standard” within the industry.


AAMA’s attainment of accreditation by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) in 2006 and this change in the title and abbreviation have further solidified the status of the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) (AAMA) as the premier medical assisting certification.

Any questions about this issue may be directed to Executive Director Donald A. Balasa, JD, MBA, at dbalasa@aama-ntl.org or Certification Director Anna L. Johnson, CAE, at ajohnson@aama-ntl.org.