Florida Medical Assistant Requirements and Approved CMA Programs

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Medical Assistants are not licensed in Florida. As defined by the Florida Senate, a “medical assistant” is a professional multiskilled person dedicated to assisting in all aspects of medical practice under the direct supervision and responsibility of a physician. This practitioner assists with patient care management, executes administrative and clinical procedures, and often performs managerial and supervisory functions. Competence in the field also requires that a medical assistant adhere to ethical and legal standards of professional practice, recognize and respond to emergencies, and demonstrate professional characteristics.

The shortage of medical assistants in Florida and other populated states was predicted more than a decade ago by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. As more high school graduates pursue college degrees, the shortage of medical assistants and other professions requiring short-term training is worse than expected. And while the lack of viable candidates is alarming for employers, it means you’ll have your pick of jobs when you graduate from an accredited medical assistant program. The lack of supply is your opportunity to negotiate your terms with receptive employers.

Medical assisting goes beyond the finances and perks. It is a great opportunity to begin a rewarding career in the medical industry where you can continue your studies to expand your career options. Medical assisting is an opportunity to work alongside skilled physicians and medical personnel to seek the best interest of patients. It is an opportunity to thrive and be the best you can be. It all starts with a simple medical assistant program that you can complete in 6 to 12 months.

Benefits of Becoming a Medical Assistant

A medical assistant is an allied health professional who supports physicians, nurse practitioners, and other health professionals. Not to be confused with physicians’ assistants (who are licensed health care providers who diagnose and treat patients under the physician’s supervision), medical assistants are unlicensed professionals who perform various entry-level administrative and clinical duties in physicians’ offices, hospitals, clinics, and other health care facilities. The fact that the profession is unlicensed may be a benefit in itself. Licensure places a profession under the control of a government body that grants the license for the professional to practice legally. Medical assistants do not need to apply for and wait for approval to practice. The state still holds the responsibility of outlining what a medical assistant can and cannot do, but generally, responsibilities are under the purview of the supervising physician. So ultimately, lack of licensure facilitates ease of entry to the profession.

Career options are expansive – as expansive as the health care sector. While the majority of medical assistants work in physicians’ offices, there are countless others places where they can work. In short, they can work anywhere a physician works. Some examples include correctional facilities, private offices, home health care, long-term care, hospitals, surgical centers, insurance companies, medical research centers, and emergency centers. You do not have to be restricted to one type of workplace – this is a huge benefit if you’re always on the lookout for something new and exciting.

Job security is necessary in a world where almost every profession is at risk. The healthcare industry as a whole offers career stability for those who work in the delivery of care to patients. As long as there’s a need for physicians to attend to those who are ill, there will be a need for medical assistants to attend to the mundane administrative and clinical duties that can steal valuable patient care time that physicians need. Apart from the safety net of having a job in the long-term, finding a job after you’ve completed an accredited medical assistant program is also guaranteed. The shortage of medical assistants means you’ll have your pick of jobs after you’ve completed training and medical assistant certification.

As discussed earlier, rapid growth in the healthcare industry stands as a primary reason for committing time and money to pursue training in the field. The job outlook assures that you will find a job after completing the training and certification sought by employers. Another positive is the accessibility of training programs and the short completion time. Certificate and diploma programs can be completed in as few as 6 to 12 months. 

Medical assisting is an opportunity to grow- inside and outside the field. At the basic level, medical assistants book appointments, guide patients to the exam room, take patients’ vitals, assist with procedures, sterilize instruments, update charts, order supplies, sanitize rooms, and manage billing. There’s always room to expand your skillset within the field – depending on where you’re employed. Outpatient centers and clinics that serve a wide population demographic are forming new and expanded roles for medical assistants. With in-house training and credentials medical assistants can function as analysts, community health workers, practice managers, and other interesting titles. MAs can also enroll in healthcare certificate, diploma, and degree programs to assume new roles in healthcare.

Certified Versus Uncertified Medical Assistants

Voluntary national certification will set you apart in the field. Knowledge and expertise are essential, but in a field where there is little to no state government, certification is expected. According to the American Association of Medical Assistants, managed care organizations are now tightening the noose on employers to require certification from their medical assistants. The AAMA is the leading organization for certification in the United States.

Certification in this field is more than just a stamp of approval. Candidates must complete a recognized medical assistant program – one that is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). This says a lot as accredited programs include both theory and practical instruction including a designated number of hours for each healthcare domain. The CMA Certification Exam is the final step for certification. It is designed to assess the candidate’s understanding of the duties of the medical assistant. Passing the exam confirms to employers that you are more than capable of performing administrative and clinical duties with competence and professionalism. It also demonstrates your commitment to growth in the profession through continuing education.

Employers’ preference for certified medical assistants has been proven. Findings of a survey revealed that 77 percent of medical assistants in 2021 held certification and 75 percent of employers used the certification as part of their screening of job applicants. Certified medical assistants earned more than uncertified medical assistants, and uncertified medical assistants who completed certification obtain a minimum 10 percent pay raise.

Obtaining medical assistant certification is an investment in yourself that pays right from the start. It is your endorsement to healthcare employers, giving them the confidence to invest in 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 Florida

Complete accredited training

There is no requirement for education or training for medical assistants in Florida. However, it is essential that you have the appropriate knowledge and skills to manage the ever-changing responsibilities of the role. A few employers still offer on-the-training that you can use to your benefit. But by far, the majority of medical assistants prepare for the role through formal training. One major advantage of a formal program is the ability to apply for certification which is so essential in the field.

Medical assistant programs include classroom sessions and clinical time to prepare students for the role. They cover a variety of courses related to health, patient care, and office administration. Some areas of study include anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, pharmacology, phlebotomy, patient care, basic surgical assistant, and office administration. The clinical courses give students the opportunity to work alongside physicians in a real-world environment as they perform assessments, provide treatments, and manage administrative duties. This clinical time is essential for the development of the confidence required to enter the workforce.

In your search for a good medical assistant program in Florida, consider the following.

Duration of the medical assistant program: Certificate, diploma, and associate degree programs can be completed in 6 months, 8 months, and 24 months respectively. The associate degree program may cover the same core courses as a certificate or degree program but will require the completion of additional general education courses to obtain the degree.

Employer-centered curriculum: The purpose of the training is to obtain the skills needed to secure employment and perform your duties capably and professionally. See that the program covers the skills employers want. 

Experienced instructors: Faculty who have industry certified and experienced are always best; they will share valuable experiences that will help you from the start.

Flexible formats: Full-time or part-time schedules to meet your needs. The option to complete part of training online and at your own pace is another benefit that some students need. Avoid a fully online program where possible as you’ll gain valuable industry experience through participation in an externship experience.

Hands-on experience: Practical experience puts the theory into perspective. It will reinforce the principles of practice that govern the profession and provide a record for your resume.  

Financially viable: The cost of the program may not be what determines your final choice of the program but it will have some influence. Consider any financial resources available such as scholarships, grants, financial aid, and payment plans to reduce your out-of-pocket costs.

Fringe benefits: The added value items are what sets one medical assistant program apart from another. Does the school offer job placement assistance, help with exam preparation, and support to obtain your certification? Find out all you can before you make a final decision.

Obtain Medical Assistant Certification

The CMA Certification Exam is a multiple-choice exam that comprises 200 questions. Out of the 200 questions, 180 will be scored and 20 will be pretested. 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.  
  • 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.
  • 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 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 for 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

Florida Medical Assistants FAQs

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

Medical assistants are not required to be licensed or certified by the State of Florida. While certification is not mandated by the state, an employer or supervising physician may require certification from a recognized certifying body. medical assistant certifying organizations.

What duties are medical assistants allowed to perform?

Under the direct supervision and responsibility of a licensed physician, a medical assistant may undertake the following duties:

  • Performing clinical procedures – take vital signs, prep patients for physicians’ care, perform venipunctures and non-intravenous injections, and observe and report patients’ signs or symptoms
  • Administer basic first aid
  • Assist with patient examinations or treatments
  • Operate office medical equipment
  • Collect routine laboratory specimens as directed by the physician
  • Administer medication as directed by the physician
  • Perform basic laboratory procedures
  • Perform office procedures including all general administrative duties required by the physician
  • Perform dialysis procedures, including home dialysis.

Contact the Florida Society of Medical Assistants  


Website: fsmaonline.org

CAAHEP & ABHES Accredited Medical Assisting Programs Florida

Altamonte Springs, FL Medical Assistant Programs:
Cambridge College of Healthcare & Technology
460 E. Altamonte Drive, Third Floor
Altamonte Springs, FL 32701
(407) 265-8383
City College
177 Montgomery Road, Altamonte Springs, FL 32714
(407) 831-9816
Bradenton, FL Medical Assistant Programs:
Manatee Technical College
6305 State Road 70 East,
Bradenton, FL 34203
Clearwater, FL Medical Assistant Programs:
Ultimate Medical Academy
1255 Cleveland Street, Clearwater, FL 33755
(727) 298-8685
Davie, FL Medical Assistant Programs:
McFatter Technical College
6500 Nova Dr,
Davie, FL 33317
Daytona Beach, FL Medical Assistant Programs:
Daytona State College
1200 W International Speedway Blvd,
Daytona Beach, FL 32114
Keiser University-Daytona
1800 Business Park Blvd,
Daytona Beach, FL 32114
Delray Beach, FL Medical Assistant Programs:
Cambridge College of Healthcare & Technology
5150 Linton Boulevard, Suite 340
Delray Beach, FL 33484
(561) 381-4990
Eustis, FL Medical Assistant Programs:
Lake Technical College
2001 Kurt St,
Eustis, FL 32726
Indian River, FL Medical Assistant Programs:
Indian River State College
3209 Virginia Ave,
Fort Pierce, FL 34981
Palm Beach Gardens, FL Medical Assistant Programs:
Palm Beach State College
3160 PGA Boulevard,
Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33410
Miami Gardens, FL Medical Assistant Programs:
Cambridge College of Healthcare & Technology
1000 Park Centre Boulevard, Suite 112
Miami Gardens, FL 33169

Naples, FL Medical Assistant Programs:
Lorenzo Walker Technical College
3702 Estey Ave,
Naples, FL 34104
Orange Park, FL Medical Assistant Programs:
St. Johns River State College
283 College Dr,
Orange Park, FL 32065
Pensacola, FL Medical Assistant Programs:
Pensacola State College
1000 College Blvd,
Pensacola, FL 32504
Spring Hill, FL Medical Assistant Programs:
ATA College
7351 Spring Hill Drive
Spring Hill, FL 34606
(352) 684-3007
Winter Garden, FL Medical Assistant Programs:
Orange Technical College – Westside Campus
955 E Story Rd,
Winter Garden, FL 34787
Winter Park, FL Medical Assistant Programs:
Orange Technical College-Winter Park
901 W Webster Ave,
Winter Park, FL 32789