Connecticut Medical Assistant Requirements and Approved CMA Programs

Healthcare is one of the fastest-growing industries in the United States offering great employment opportunities for those who are just starting out or looking for a career change. The good news is that you don’t need to invest years of time and money to get into healthcare. Medical assisting is one of many professions within the sector that requires a fraction of the schooling needed to become a doctor or nurse, but still with an abundance of opportunities and excellent pay. It is one of the fastest-growing professions, with a projected growth rate of 16 percent according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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Medical assisting may be a great fit for you if you want a job that is challenging and flexible. It will give you the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others. Medical assistants work primarily in physician offices, providing both administrative and clinical support. They schedule appointments, manage medical records, measure vitals, update patient charts, collect specimens, and maintain medical equipment. Medical assistants work with patients and their families, physicians, nurses, and other health care professionals. They are vital members of the health care team, especially as it relates to the physician/patient relationship and the maintenance of the workflow in the practice.

Like every profession, it’s important to choose a career path in harmony with your skills, abilities, and life goals. Medical assisting may be a lifelong career choice or a stepping stone to greater roles in healthcare.

Benefits of Becoming a Medical Assistant

The American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) defines a medical assistant as someone who works alongside doctors, usually in a clinical or office setting. There is a significant difference between a medical assistant and other health care professionals. For instance, a certified nursing assistant is trained to provide basic patient care and their duties lean more on the clinical side of care. A nurse is a licensed professional trained to manage patients under the direction of a physician. The medical assistant is an unlicensed professional that works under the guidance of a physician and performs duties that do not constitute the practice of medicine. The physician must determine the tasks that can be delegated to the medical assistant – based on the MA’s abilities and training.

Some of the tasks that a medical assistant perform include recording patient medical information, answering the phone, scheduling appointments, following up with labs to collect results, preparing samples for lab testing, escorting patients to the exam room, and updating patient charts.

Medical assistants keep medical practices operating at peak efficiency. Like other healthcare professionals, they get great satisfaction in improving the lives of the patients they serve. Some of the benefits of becoming a medical assistant are outlined below.


Diversity is a broad topic for medical assistants. Medical assistants are exposed to a diverse patient population that they will serve from day to day. They may also have numerous options of places to work. From hospitals to physician offices, and clinics, medical assistant jobs are as diverse as they come, and the responsibilities vary from one practice setting to the next. Medical assistants may also cross state lines and carry their knowledge and skills with them since there are no state-specific laws for most states.

An Opportunity to Make a Difference

Even with the training offered by a short-term certificate program, medical assistants have the honor or working hand-in-hand with physicians, nurses, physicians’ assistants, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, and other health care professionals to restore patient health. The vital support services they supply help to make a difference in the lives of patients, their families, and health care professionals.

Advancement Opportunities

A diligent medical assistant may be promoted to the position of office management, practice manager, or billing clerk – on the administrative end. Those who prefer the clinical aspect of the job can continue training to build on their existing skills and qualify for other positions in healthcare including EKG technician, phlebotomy technician, registered nurse, licensed practical nurse, surgical technologist, home health aide, or certified nursing assistant.

No Extensive Training Required

While some careers in healthcare require at least two to four years of college, medical assistants can prepare for practice within less than one year of educational training. Most certificate programs in Connecticut prepare students for certification and generalist practice in just 8 months. The medical assistant program gets out to work while others are plugging away at never-ending prerequisites and general education courses to obtain a degree.

The Opportunity To Specialize

Like many other health professionals, medical assistants may become specialized in a specific area of healthcare. This way, their services are not restricted to general practical alone but other professionals such as optometrists, orthopaedic doctors, and pediatricians may also benefit from their unique service.

Great Hours

Many healthcare professionals work shifts that may be scheduled on the weekend, overnight, and holidays. Not so for medical assistants who typically work in physician offices, which are traditionally open Monday through Friday during business hours. Medical assisting a great option if you must balance work with other commitments. Some facilities may have extended

Certified Versus Uncertified Medical Assistants

Depending on where you plan to work as a medical assistant, national certification may be required. Certification is not required at the state level, but since most employers expect it, you should consider pursuing it to bolster your resume and attract potential employers.

Certification is an indicator of your ability to perform your duties as a medical assistant. Its true that formal training acquired through an accredited medical assistant program counts for something, but certification is the gold standard that speaks clearly to employers. The certification offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) is the most widely recognized certification. The AAMA has societies established in almost every state to offer support at the state level. Securing the CMA credential from the AAMA starts with the completion of an accredited program followed by the passage of a certifying exam and a satisfactory background check. Other certifying organizations accept medical assistant experience in lieu of formal education.

Apart from the initial certification, you may be required to maintain your certification through the completion of continuing education units. The continuing education requirements are designed to keep you abreast of changes within the field and encourage a commitment to personal and professional development.

Certified medical assistants have the best opportunities, higher pay rates, and wider scope of practice than those who are not certified.

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 Connecticut

Complete accredited training

Most employers require a post-secondary certificate from a college or vocational institute as a prerequisite to employment. Medical assistant programs are shorter than nursing and other health care programs that require a four-year commitment, so you can begin working within a year or less. There is no additional training required outside the program – the theory and externship are completed as a part of the program.

Medical assistant programs provide the knowledge and experience needed to succeed in the health care industry. It is essential that you choose a program accredited by one of the two primary accrediting agencies – ABHES (Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools) or CAAHEP (Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs). These programs cover both the clinical and administrative skills needed for the efficient operation of a medical practice.

A medical assistant program covers topics such as medical terminology, pharmacology, insurance and billing, anatomy and physiology, vital sign measurements, patient records, phlebotomy, and EKG. You will learn the basics of medical assisting and be ready to enter the workforce as a medical assistant in a number of health care settings. Upon completion of the medical assistant program, you will be prepared to apply for national certification through any one of the recognized certifying organizations such as the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA).

If you’re ready to take the next step towards becoming a medical assistant, consider the following points before you choose a medical assistant program.

Duration of the medical assistant program: As an allied health program, medical assistant programs should be short-term covering the skills needed to qualify for entry-level employment. Diploma and certificate programs require less than one year’s commitment. There are associate degree options that include general education courses which extend the training to two years.

Employer-centered curriculum: The medical assistant program should feature a well-rounded curriculum that provides students with the tools needed to succeed as a medical assistant in various health care settings. It might also cover different areas of medicine to give students the opportunity to explore the various specialties to find an area they could be passionate about.

Experienced instructors: A great medical assistant program includes instructors who are dedicated to your success. They will provide an environment to foster learning. They are knowledgeable with years of meaningful experience in the workforce that they will pass on to students.

Flexible formats: Programs are available with day or night classes to accommodate students’ busy schedules. If you prefer a non-traditional, you can enroll in any one of the hybrid program options that include online delivery of the theoretical content and on-site practical workshops to develop your skills.

Hands-on experience: All medical assistant programs, especially accredited ones, should include an externship for students to apply the theoretical concepts after completion of the necessary coursework. Lab sessions in the school’s lab prepare students for the application of those skills in a real-world environment. The clinical externships are conducted in a medical facility and smooth the transition from the classroom to the workplace.

Financially viable: Enroll in the program that suits your budget. Those offered by trade schools are often more affordable than college offerings. If you goal is to accumulate transferable credits, a state college will be a cheaper alternative to a private college and you can further reduce the cost by applying for financial aid.

Fringe benefits: Any program offering that gives you a leg up on the competition is a plus when selecting a medical assistant program. Studies in phlebotomy, EKG, electronic health records, and CPR certification are always valued by potential employers. Career services, job placement, and networking opportunities are some valuable resources to get you started after you graduate.

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 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.

Connecticut Medical Assistants FAQs

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

Medical assistants are not required to be licensed or certified by the State of Connecticut. There are no special privileges for nationally certified medical assistants under Connecticut law. The Connecticut Department of Public Health maintains a current list of medical assistants certified by the AAMA and NHA.

What duties are medical assistants allowed to perform?

The physician or registered nurse may delegate a reasonable scope of practice to medical assistants according to the Connecticut Department of Public Health.  A physician, nurse, or other health care professional must supervise the medical assistant in the performance of the delegated tasks. Tasks must be delegated in line with the training and experience in the medical assistant. Following are some of te duties that may be performed by a medical assistant:

  • Data collection to be used by licensed professionals
  • Health maintenance education not related to a specific diagnosis
  • Other tasks that does not require judgment or adaptation of a teaching plan
  • Handling of equipment in preparation for procedures, or follow-up to procedures
  • Equipment maintenance
  • Measurement of vital signs
  • Performing wound care
  • Performing dressing changes

Examples of specifically prohibited activities are radiography and medication administration by any route (including oxygen, immunizations, and tuberculin testing).  Also, the professional judgment piece of any regulated profession, e.g., assessment, diagnosing, planning, and evaluation of clients or their care, can never be delegated to medical assistants.

Contact the Connecticut Society of Medical Assistants

CAAHEP & ABHES Accredited Medical Assisting Programs Connecticut

Bridgeport, CT Medical Assistant programs:
Porter & Chester Institute
56 Boston Ave,
Bridgeport, CT 06610
(475) 273-2400

Danielson, CT Medical Assistant programs:
Quinebaug Valley Community College
742 Upper Maple Street
Danielson, CT 06239

East Hartford, CT Medical Assistant programs:
Goodwin University
One Riverside Drive
East Hartford, CT 06118

East Windsor, CT Medical Assistant programs:
Lincoln Institute
97 Newberry Road
East Windsor, CT 06088
(800) 243-4242

Farmington, CT Medical Assistant programs:
Tunxis Community College
271 Scott Swamp Road
Farmington, CT 06032

Hartford, CT Medical Assistant programs:
Capital Community College
950 Main Street
Hartford CT 06103
(860) 906-5000

Norwalk, CT Medical Assistant programs:
Norwalk Community College
188 Richards Ave.
Norwalk, CT 06854

Norwich, CT Medical Assistant programs:
Three Rivers Community College
574 New London Turnpike,
Norwich, CT 06360
(860) 215-9000

Stratford, CT Medical Assistant programs:
AIHT Education
480 Lordship Blvd,
Stratford, CT 06615
(203) 870-8400

Winsted, CT Medical Assistant programs:
Northwestern Connecticut Community College
Park Place East
Winsted, CT 06098