All You Should Know About the RMA Exam


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With the job market for medical assistants expected to grow 14% from 2022 to 2032, the Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) exam is a crucial step for individuals aspiring to become certified medical assistants. It serves as a testament to their knowledge, skills, and proficiency in the medical field.

Let’s dive into everything you need to know about the RMA exam, from its importance and eligibility criteria to exam preparation tips and career prospects.

What Is RMA Exam

The RMA exam is administered by the American Medical Technologists (AMT) organization and is designed to assess the competency of medical assistants across various essential domains, including administrative tasks, clinical procedures, and patient care.

Importance of RMA Certification

  • Obtaining RMA certification not only validates your expertise but also enhances your credibility and marketability in the healthcare industry.
  • RMA-certified professionals often enjoy higher salary expectations and increased marketability in the competitive healthcare industry.
  • This certification opens doors to exciting career opportunities and professional growth in the healthcare field.
  • By pursuing RMA certification, you position yourself for success and advancement in the dynamic world of healthcare.

It demonstrates your commitment to maintaining high standards of professionalism and quality patient care.

Eligibility Criteria for the RMA Exam

To be eligible to sit for the RMA exam, candidates must meet certain educational and experiential requirements. Typically, this includes completion of a recognized medical assisting program or relevant work experience in the field.

To be eligible to sit for the Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) exam, candidates must meet the following criteria:

Eligibility CriteriaRequirements
Education RequirementCompletion of accredited medical assisting program (CAAHEP or ABHES)
Work Experience5 years full-time (or equivalent part-time) within the past 7 years
ExternshipMay be eligible if completed externship, subject to AMT conditions
Certification from Accredited ProgramsAutomatically eligible if applied within 3 years of completion
High School Diploma or EquivalentRequired for all candidates

Candidates need to verify their eligibility status with the American Medical Technologists (AMT) organization and ensure that they meet all requirements before registering for the RMA exam.

Registration Process

The registration process for the RMA exam involves submitting an application form along with the requisite fees. Once the application is approved, candidates are provided with information regarding exam scheduling and preparation materials.

1. Complete Application FormFill out the RMA exam application form available on the American Medical Technologists (AMT) website.
2. Submit Required DocumentsGather and submit necessary documents, such as transcripts or proof of work experience, as applicable.
3. Pay Exam FeePay the exam fee, which typically ranges from $100 to $150, depending on membership status and other factors.
4. Receive ConfirmationUpon successful submission of the application and payment of fees, you will receive confirmation of your exam registration.
5. Schedule Exam DateOnce registration is confirmed, you can schedule their exam date and location through the AMT website or designated testing centers.
6. Prepare for the ExamUtilize study materials and resources to prepare thoroughly for the RMA exam, ensuring readiness on exam day.

Exam Structure and Format

The RMA exam consists of multiple-choice questions that cover a wide range of topics, including medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, pharmacology, and administrative procedures. It is divided into several sections, each focusing on specific areas of medical assisting.

Number of Questions: The RMA exam typically consists of approximately 210 multiple-choice questions.

Exam Sections:

1. Anatomy and Physiology (44 questions): 

Focusing on the basic concepts of human anatomy and physiology, this section covers:

  • Organ systems
  • Major bones and muscles
  • Common medical conditions 

It tests the candidate’s understanding of the human body and its functions, which is essential knowledge for medical assistants

2. Administrative Procedures (56 questions): 

This section covers tasks related to managing a medical office, including: 

  • Insurance
  • Financial bookkeeping
  • Clerical duties
  • Medical law and ethics
  • Human relations 

With this, the candidate’s knowledge of administrative responsibilities and their ability to handle these tasks efficiently are analyzed.

3. Clinical Procedures (39 questions):  

The clinical procedures section assesses the candidate’s knowledge and skills in performing clinical tasks. This includes Knowledge of:

  • Aseptic techniques
  • Sterilization procedures
  • Medical instruments
  • Laboratory procedures
  • Minor surgical assisting 

This section evaluates the practical skills required of medical assistants in a healthcare setting.

4. Clinical Patient Interaction (71 questions): 

The clinical patent interaction section evaluates the candidate’s understanding of the language used in healthcare settings. It covers:

  • Patient education
  • Vital signs measurement
  • Physical examinations
  • Pharmacology
  • Therapeutic modalities
  • Laboratory procedures
  • Electrocardiography
  • Emergency response

This part assesses the candidate’s familiarity with medical terms and their ability to communicate effectively within the healthcare team.

Time Limit: Candidates are given a set amount of time to complete the exam. The duration may vary but generally ranges from 2.5 to 3 hours.

Question Format: Each question is presented in a multiple-choice format, with four answer options provided. Candidates must select the most appropriate answer from the choices provided.

Exam Administration: The RMA exam is administered in a proctored setting, either at designated testing centers or through online proctoring services. Candidates are required to present valid identification and adhere to exam regulations and guidelines throughout the testing process.

Strategies for Exam Day
1. Arrive at the Testing Center Early
2. Carefully Read and Comprehend Each Question
3. Implement Effective Time Management Strategies
4. Utilize Relaxation Techniques to Manage Stress
5. Balance Intuition with Logical Reasoning

Preparation Tips for the RMA Exam

Effective preparation is key to success in the RMA exam. Candidates are advised to:

  • Create a well-structured study schedule covering all exam topics and adhere to it consistently.
  • Invest in reliable study resources such as textbooks, study guides, and online courses recommended by the AMT for accurate and up-to-date information.
  • Actively engage with the study material through practice questions, group discussions, and real-life applications.
  • Regularly take practice tests to familiarize yourself with the exam format and analyze your performance.
  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle with sufficient sleep, exercise, and stress-reduction techniques.

Career Opportunities with RMA Certification

RMA certification qualifies individuals for a wide range of employment opportunities in various healthcare settings, including hospitals, clinics, physician offices, and long-term care facilities. It serves as a valuable credential for advancing your career in the medical field.

Some of the best career opportunities available to individuals with RMA certification include:

1. Medical Assistant: RMA-certified individuals can work as medical assistants in hospitals, clinics, physician offices, and other healthcare facilities.

Responsibilities: Medical assistants assist healthcare providers with patient care, perform administrative tasks, and ensure smooth operations in medical settings.

2. Phlebotomist: RMA-certified professionals may specialize in phlebotomy, where they are responsible for drawing blood from patients for medical testing, blood donations, or transfusions.

Responsibilities: Phlebotomists play a crucial role in ensuring accurate laboratory test results.

3. EKG Technician: RMA-certified individuals can pursue careers as EKG (electrocardiogram) technicians, where they perform diagnostic tests to measure and record the electrical activity of patients’ hearts.

Responsibilities: EKG technicians work closely with physicians to help diagnose heart conditions and monitor cardiac health.

4. Medical Office Manager: With RMA certification and relevant experience, individuals can advance to roles as medical office managers or administrative supervisors.

Responsibilities: Medical office managers oversee the day-to-day operations of medical practices, manage staff, handle finances, and ensure compliance with healthcare regulations.

5. Clinical Research Coordinator: RMA-certified professionals may choose to work as clinical research coordinators, where they play a vital role in conducting medical research studies.

Responsibilities: Clinical research coordinators coordinate participant recruitment, collect and analyze data, and ensure compliance with research protocols and regulations.

Renewal and Maintenance of RMA Certification

RMA certification signifies a commitment to excellence in medical assisting. To keep it active you’ll need to:

  • Stay Updated: Regularly participate in approved continuing education (CE) programs. This informs you about the latest advancements, best practices, and evolving regulations in healthcare.
  • Renew on Time: RMA certification requires renewal every 3 years (check your certifying body for specifics). Renewal often involves:
    • Completing the required CE credits (usually 20-30 per renewal period).
    • Paying a renewal fee.
    • Passing a recertification exam (in some cases).

Remember: Check your certifying body’s website for current renewal requirements and deadlines. They may offer online tools to track CE credits and manage the process. 

Maintaining RMA certification requires fulfilling continuing education requirements and periodically renewing your certification. This ensures that certified medical assistants stay up-to-date with the latest advancements and best practices in the field.

Prepare, Perform, and Prevail

The RMA exam is a pivotal step towards achieving certification as a medical assistant. By understanding the exam structure, preparing effectively, and demonstrating proficiency in key areas, candidates can position themselves for success in their healthcare careers.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What is the most recognized medical assistant certification?

The Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) certification from the American Medical Technologists (AMT) and the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) certification from the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) are the two most widely recognized and respected certifications in the healthcare industry.

2. What is the passing score for the RMA exam? 

A scaled score of 70 or higher is generally considered passing for the RMA exam.

3. How much does it cost to take the RMA exam? 

The cost of the RMA exam depends on your AMT membership status. As of 2024, AMT members pay $135, while non-members pay $145. Additional fees may apply for rescheduling or retaking the exam.

4. Can I retake the RMA exam if I fail?

Yes, candidates are allowed to retake the RMA exam if they fail. However, there may be limitations on the number of attempts permitted.

5. How long does RMA certification last?

RMA certification typically lasts for a specific period, usually two years, from the date it is initially awarded.