Colorado Medical Assistant Requirements and Approved CMA Program

Medical Assistants perform administrative and clinical tasks to maintain an efficient operation in the offices of physicians, chiropractors and other health professionals. Their duties vary according to the type of office and the area of specialty. In private practices, medical assistants function as generalists providing both administrative and clinical support. In clinics and some larger health care facilities, they might perform specialized tasks.

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With a projected 16 percent employment growth rate, medical assisting is one of the fastest growing occupations. Getting into this rewarding and stable profession is as simple as completing an accredited medical assistant program and the requirements for national certification. Career opportunities for medical assistants are available in a variety of settings, including private physician practices, surgical hospitals, outpatient care centers, nursing care facilities, and others. There is a most urgent need for medical assistants in Colorado.

If you’re in search of a profession to enter the health care sector or already employed in the industry, medical assistant is the perfect way to expand your possibilities. You should have a sincere desire to work with patients directly to help prevent diseases and promote health.  Meeting the physical and mental requirements is also critical to your success as a medical assistant.

What Does a Medical Assistant Do?

Medical assisting is one of the fastest growing segments of healthcare. Performing the duties of a medical assistant goes beyond the technical skills you’ll acquire in a medical assistant program. You need to have excellent communication and organization skills. You’ll need loads of compassion for those who are ill.

Medical assistants are mostly employed in private practices, clinics, and ambulatory care. There is much diversity in their duties covering both the administrative and clinical tasks in these facilities. Their role includes but is not limited to blood draws, administering injections, checking vitals, EKGs, collecting laboratory samples, and assisting the practitioner with other tasks. Here’s an outline of what you can expect in your role.

Greet Patients

In a smaller practice, a medical assistant may function as a receptionist to answer the phone and greet arriving patients. While greeting patients may seem such as small task, it often determines the rest of the patients’ experience during the visit. Getting this first step right is critical to a positive patient expectation and experience. Empathy and compassion for ailing patients and communicating any updates during the wait-time all speak volumes to overall service offered.

Record Vital Signs

A patient’s depiction of his or her complaint is the first point of interest for the attending practitioner. The vital signs, taken by the medical assistant, provide the next piece of the puzzle to make a diagnosis and determine treatment. The work of the MA is critical here; the vitals must be collected and recording accurately. In the recording, the MA must put the patient at ease to maintain the integrity of the results. Stress and anxiety could lead the false results, and then to an incorrect diagnosis and treatment.

Update Patient Records  

Medical assistants are responsible for preparing, maintaining, and updating medical records of the patients. A medical record is a history of the someone’s health. Most healthcare facilities today use electronic health records, which is a computerized collection of the patient’s health records. A health record contains information such as immunization, allergies to medicines, medical test results, medical problems, age, gender, ethnicity, height, weight, medicines, and more. Medical assistants must be proficient with computers and understand some medical terminology to update records in a way ensure continuity after the task of updating is handed to someone else.

Prep Patients for Examinations

Preparing a patient for a treatment or exam starts with the mental. The medical assistant’s task is to ensure that the patient is relaxed and comfortable to make the physician’s task easier. Some tasks begin well before the appointment where the MA will let the patient know what to expect and send any paperwork ahead of time and include some details about the appointment itself. This type of preparation will give the patient time to reflect to reduce anxiety. The physical preparation involves the creation of a warm and welcoming environment in the treatment room. Warm lighting and soothing colors, a pleasant attitude and comfortable seating will remove the sterility associated with medical offices.

Assisting with Medical Procedures

Building on the above point, a medical assistant will aid the physician not only with what he or she does, but also what is said during the procedure. Educating the patient before the treatment and providing realistic and positive information through will reduce anxiety that stems from the unknown. As the MA supplies the physician with the tools and equipment needed throughout the treatment, the physician will be in a better position to meet the patient’s needs and answer any questions. The focus will be on the patient and not on the surrounding activities. The MA’s support helps the physician to attend to more patients within a specific period to ensure the smooth flow of scheduled appointments.

Prepare and Administer Injections

In the state of Colorado, medical assistants can administer injections if a physician or nurse practitioner should delegate the task. The administration of injections refers to vaccinations and allergy tests and not to IV procedures. If the medical assistant is not comfortable giving injections, there are positions that do not require it. These include chiropractor settings, ENT offices, and OBgyn.

Perform Administrative Duties

The administrative duties that a medical assistant perform include scheduling appointment, accepting additional visits if time permits, calling or messaging reminders to patients, checking patient records, updating records as needed, reviewing medical histories, billing and coding, management of insurance claims, filling out patient forms, maintaining inventory of supplies, and ordering new stock as needed. In larger facilities, medical assistants may work with an expanded team of professional to meet deadlines and improve efficiency.

Certified Versus Uncertified Medical Assistants

More than ever before, employers are hiring medical assistants who have completed the necessary training to acquire certification as a medical assistant. The most common credential, the CMA, is awarded by the American Association of Medical Assistants. Certification is not required by the state of Colorado, but having it will improve your opportunities for employment by top health care facilities. The AAMA goes all out for their CMAs, declaring them to have the administrative and clinical competencies to improve the productivity of any type of medical practice.

If you’re considering medical assisting for the long haul, certification is the way to go. It will give you a leg up on the competition in your search for gainful employment. Certification requires that you complete an accredited medical assistant program before taking the medical assistant exam administered by the certifying organization. Passing the exam and obtaining the credential proves beyond reasonable doubt that you can more than capable of functioning safely and effectively in the role.

Certification as a medical assistant is also beneficial if you plan to practice for a short period on the way to another career. Your role will place you in contact with diverse medical professionals. Certification and a commitment to excellence will smooth the path to success in practice if you’re confident in your abilities – because others will be confident in you if you’re confident in yourself.

See the list of certifying organizations below to determine what is the best option for you.

Nationally Approved Certifying Organizations

American Association of Medical Assistants
20 N. Wacker Drive, #1575
Chicago, IL 60606-2963
(312) 424-3100

American Medical Certification Association
310 Passaic Avenue, Suite 204B
Fairfield, NJ 07004
(888) 960-2622

American Medical Technologists
10700 W. Higgins Road, Suite 150
Rosemont, IL 60018
(847) 823-5169

Multiskilled Medical Certification Institute, Inc.
P.O. Box 17
7007 College Boulevard
Overland Park, KS 66211
(888) 625-8408 or (913) 754-3287 

How to Become a Medical Assistant in Colorado

Complete accredited training

Medical assistant programs prepare adults for a rewarding career in a short amount of time. Colorado is home to numerous accredited certificate programs that you can complete in just 8 to 12 months. You’ll learn important office and clinical skills to provide valuable support to employers from your first day on the job. Certificate programs are offered at community colleges across the state and most are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accredited Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES).

Colorado is also home to several associate degree in medical assistant program. These programs deliver all the training from the diploma program with additional courses in general education and management to prepare adults for the long haul in the medical assisting field. The AS degree covers approximately 62 credit hours over a period of 19 to 24 months. Areas of study include intro to medical terminology, disease process and treatment, medical office administration, pharmacology for medical assistants, medical assistant lab, medical assisting clinical skills, medical assistant internship, and preparation for the national exam.

There’s good news if you plan to complete a medical assistant program in Colorado. The Care Forward Colorado grant program covers tuition, fees, and course materials for Colorado residents completing short-term healthcare training. Residents are also eligible for “earn while you learn” opportunities through apprenticeships. To qualify for the Care Forward grant, you must fill out a free FAFSA and COSI Back to Work Grant Application.

An accredited program will cover all or most of the points on the checklist below.

Duration of the medical assistant program: The short-term medical assistant certificate programs in Colorado last 8 to 12 months and are eligible for full funding through the Care Forward grant – as funds are available. The certificate program covers the knowledge and skills required for entry-level employment in the field. Longer-term associate degree programs are available as an alternative to the certificate program.

Employer-centered curriculum: The program should include the skills needed to begin working in a front and back office of a medical practice. Technical skills must include blood draws, administering injections, performing lab tests, taking medical histories, measuring vital signs, and wound care. Administrative skills must cover medical billing and coding, medical terminology, medical office administration, financial management, and preparation for national certification.

Experienced instructors: The delivery of the content is critical to your understanding and success. Personalized training with a low instructor to student ratio and the facilitating of interactive learning to engage students will support learning. Faculty should be readily available to address your concerns and provide additional guidance if you need it.

Flexible formats: You don’t need to halt the rest of your life to train for a new career. The program should be structured to accommodate your need for learning by offering classes that fit with the rest of your schedule. Whether online, hybrid, or traditional on-campus classes, you should find a schedule that meets your needs.

Hands-on experience: Some programs commence clinical experiences from the onset so you can gain hands-on experience as you learn the theory and core skills in the classroom.

Financially viable: Colorado residents have a unique opportunity to train for a career in healthcare at zero cost through the Care Forward grant. It will cover tuition, fees, books, and materials when you enroll in the certificate medical assistant program. The grant may not be available for the AS in medical assistant program.

Fringe benefits: Get value for your money by enrolling in medical assistant program that will not only prepare you for certification as a medical assistant but also for additional certifications such as First Aid, phlebotomy, home health aide, and others.

Obtain Medical Assistant Certification

Certified Medical Assistant (CMA)

The Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) credential is a product of the American Association of Medical Assistants awarded to candidates who complete accredited training, pass the certification exam, and meet all other requirements for certification.

The CMA certification exam consists of 200 multiple-choice questions that will test your knowledge of pharmacology, safety and infection control, legal and ethical issues, communication, and much more.

The exam assesses three principal categories:

Clinical Competency (59%)

  • Clinical Workflow: Patient Intake and Discharge
  • Safety and Infection Control
  • Procedures/Examinations
  • Pharmacology

General (21%)

  • Legal and Ethical Issues
  • Communication

Administrative (20%)

  • Billing, Coding, and Insurance
  • Schedule Appointments and Health Information Management

Eligibility Requirements

You can sit for the exam if you meet one of the criteria outlined below:

  1. Must be completing or a recent graduate of a CAAHEP or ABHES accredited medical assistant program. If you’re enrolled in a medical assistant program, you can take the exam no more than 30 days prior to completing the program and practicum. If you’ve graduated from a program, you must take the exam within 12 months of your graduation date.
  2. Must be a nonrecent graduate of a CAAHEP or ABHES accredited medical assistant program. You’re considered a nonrecent graduate, if you apply for the exam more than 12 months after graduation.
  3. Must be a CMA (AAMA) recertificant. Use this option if you previously passed the CMA Certification Exam and want to recertify the CMA credential.

Application Steps

  1. Verify that you are eligible to take the exam
  2. Review the exam policies and information
  3. Gather your documentation for your eligibility category
  4. Determine the start date for 90-day testing period – this will determine when you apply for the exam.
  5. Submit your application, pay the application fee of $125 for AAMA members or $250 nonmembers
  6. Make name, email, and postal address corrections in a timely basis
  7. Schedule your exam appointment after your application and payment are processed
  8. Complete the exam and receive a pass/fail notification
  9. Watch for your official score reports – within three weeks after your exam
  10. Watch for your certificate or digital badge via email

Registered Medical Assistant (RMA)

The American Medical Technologists (AMT) awards the Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) credential to persons who meet the eligibility criteria and pass the RMA exam. The RMA credential is also accepted by healthcare employers across the nation. RMAs have the abilities, knowledge, and commitment to quality care.

Following are some other requirements for RMA certification:

Through formal education-

  • Must have graduated, within the past 4 years, or scheduled to graduate from an accredited MA program or program that is housed within an accredited institution.
  • Must have completed 720 hours of instruction that includes at least 160 hours of externship

Other training –

  • Must have completed a medical assisting work-study/training program within the last 4 years such as:
    • An apprenticeship program registered with the US Department of Labor (DOL)
    • A federally recognized State Apprenticeship Agency (SAA)
    • Workforce Development/Employer program

Work Experience

  • Must be employed as a medical assistant for a minimum of 3 years within the past 7 years – 3 years of full-time employment at 36 hours per week is the equivalent of 5,616 hours. Provide documents of both administrative and clinical duties on the employment letter
  • Experience must include both clinical and administrative duties
  • Must have a valid CPR card (copy of front and back). CPR training must include both theoretical and in-person demonstration of CPR proficiency.


  • Must be a recent graduate, or scheduled to graduate from a formal medical services training program of the United States Armed Forces – Must have graduated within the last 4 years.


  • Must have worked as a medical assistant educator for a minimum of five years, and have previously completed a course in a healthcare related discipline.

The application fee for the RMA exam is $135. You must schedule your exam online after you receive approval from the RMA.

The official certification will be supplied within 7 to 14 days after you pass the exam.

Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA)

The National Healthcareer Association (NHA) is another nationally recognized certifying organization for medical assistants. Candidates who successfully meet all the requirements will receive the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) credential. Candidates for certification may fulfill the requirements for certification via work experience or practical training.

To take the CCMA credentialing exam, you must:

  • Possess a high school diploma/GED equivalent AND
  • Have completed a medical assistant training program (within the last 5 years) OR
  • Have one year of supervised medical assisting experience, in the last 3 years

The exam is administered either at your school, a PSI testing center near you, or through live remote proctoring at the location of your choice.

For online CCMA exams, NHA will officially post your certification results to your account page within two days of scoring your test.

Colorado Medical Assistants FAQs

Are medical assistants required to be licensed or certified by the State of Colorado?

Medical assistants are not required to be licensed or certified in Colorado.

What duties are medical assistants allowed to perform?

Physicians may delegate directly or through intermediary personnel, such as nurse practitioners, physician assistants, registered nurses, and other individuals, the following tasks:

  • Measuring vital signs
  • Performing electrocardiography
  • Venipuncture/phlebotomy
  • Administering intramuscular, intradermal and subcutaneous injections

Medical assistants may not perform tasks which constitute the practice of medicine, or which state law permits only certain health care professionals to perform, or which require the exercise of independent professional judgment or the making of clinical assessments, evaluations, or interpretations.

Contact the Colorado Society of Medical Assistants

Address: 4617 E 115th Cir, Thornton, CO, United States, Colorado

Phone: 303-862-5095


CAAHEP & ABHES Accredited Medical Assisting Programs Colorado

Aurora, CO Medical Assistant programs:
Pickens Technical College
500 Airport BLVD
Aurora, CO 80011
303-344-4910 ext.27797

Colorado Springs, CO Medical Assistant programs:
Pikes Peaks State College
5675 S. Academy Blvd.
Colorado Springs, CO 80906

IntelliTec College
2315 East Pikes Peak Avenue
Colorado Springs, CO 80909
(719) 632-7626

PIMA Medical Institute
5725 Mark Dabling Boulevard, Suite 150
Colorado Springs, CO 80919
(719) 482-7462

Denver, CO Medical Assistant programs:
National Institute for Medical Assistant Advancement
1525 Raleigh Street, Suite 260
Denver, CO 80204
(720) 710-9050

Community College of Denver
Cherry Creek Building
1111 W. Colfax Avenue
Denver, CO 80204

Emily Griffith College
1860 Lincoln Street, 6th Floor
Denver, CO 80203

Fort Collins, CO Medical Assistant programs:
IBMC College
3842 S Mason Street
Fort Collins, CO 80525
(970) 223-2669

Glenwood Springs, CO Medical Assistant programs:
Colorado Mountain College
802 Grand Ave,
Glenwood Springs, CO 81601

Grand Junction, CO Medical Assistant programs:
Western Colorado Community College
2508 Blichmann Avenue
Grand Junction, CO 81505

Lakewood, CO Medical Assistant programs:
Red Rocks Community College
13300 W 6th Ave,
Lakewood, CO 80228

Littleton, CO Medical Assistant programs:
Arapahoe Community College
5900 S. Santa Fe Drive
Littleton, CO 80120

Longmont, CO Medical Assistant programs:
Front Range Community College
2190 Miller Drive
Longmont, CO 80501

Pueblo, CO Medical Assistant programs:
Pueblo Community College
900 W. Orman Ave.
Pueblo, CO 81004