Georgia Medical Assistant Requirements and Approved CMA Programs

In the State of Georgia, medical assistants are not licensed or certified, and formal training is not a prerequisite to practice. Georgia also does not define the scope of practice for MAs, so it’s important that physicians outline the duties they can perform under supervision to mitigate any potential risks. Despite the legal limitations, medical assistants can do much to ease the burden on physicians, giving them the freedom to focus on patient care.

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It is for this reason, there’s an increased demand for medical assistants. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, an estimated 117,800 jobs will be added to the field. That corresponds to a 16 percent growth rate, which is much higher than the average rate for jobs in general. Physicians depend on their medical assistants to perform basic administrative and clinical tasks, including recording patient histories, measuring vital signs, billing and insurance, greeting customers, following up on lab orders, and collecting specimens for analysis.

Medical assistants earn a median annual salary of $37,190 per year. Getting started is simple, and doesn’t require a degree for entry. In most cases, you can complete a certificate program in under 12 months and get to work after completing the requirements for certification.

Benefits of Becoming a Medical Assistant

If you’re considering a job in healthcare that offers fast training, a positive outlook, and excellent pay, then you should consider medical assistant certification. Medical assisting is an allied health profession that is good for those who are new to healthcare and even for those who already have hands on experience. One of the key benefits of the profession is that there are no formal requirements for training, which means you can begin working with just a high school diploma and learn on the job – in offices that provide training. However, most employers prefer medical assistants who are already trained and certified. But don’t despair! Training programs are relatively short (6 to 9 months) compared to the educational requirements for physicians and nurses.

Apart from short-term training, medical assisting offers flexible training options. You can choose from colleges or technical schools, part-time or full-time, on-campus or hybrid/online. These multiple training options remove any barrier to learning. An even greater benefit is that it won’t break the bank. Unlike university degree programs, which require financial aid, you can get a worthwhile education with an investment of a few hundred dollars.

The combination of administrative and clinical functions is a promise of boredom-free days. MA training programs will cover both functions, with classes in sterilization techniques, pharmacology, collecting specimens, anatomy and physiology, insurance, medical billing and code, office management and much more. Complete a course which offers college credit, and you can continue your education later on – in any field that you want!

Medical assisting is an opportunity to make a difference – in the lives of patients, physicians, nurses, and other health care professionals. The way you greet and attend to patients can positively impact what would otherwise be a distressing experience. By completing the usual round of duties, you can take a huge load off the shoulders of physicians.

Medical assisting is versatile and flexible. You might try your luck in general practice for a season, then move to pediatrics or a surgical ward for another. The general practice office will utilize both your clinical and administrative skills, which larger facilities may focus on just one.

It costs time and money to invest in a career only to discover it’s not the right fit. Medical assisting training requires a smaller investment, when compared to some other health care professions, that you can make to determine if patient care or administration is your calling. You gain exposure to a wide range of opportunities to explore different aspects of healthcare and decide where you fit in.

Medical assisting doesn’t require a degree, yet it offers a great income opportunity. MAs earned a median annual salary of $37,190 in 2021. Medical assistants on the higher end of the pay scale earned upwards of $43,515 in states such as New York and Minnesota. If you’ve gained some experience in the field, you may even have the opportunity to earn extra income by training others. Medical assistant schools hire experienced medical assistants as instructors in the classroom or supervisors for the clinical rotations.

Are you a nationally certified medical assistant? Check! Then you’ll have the freedom to move across states. Unlike other health care professions such as physicians and nurses who need to meet specific requirements before they cross state lines, you can pack up and practice wherever you want without additional training or certification. Keep in mind though that the tasks you perform in one state may be different from another.

Certified Versus Uncertified Medical Assistants

Certification is not mandatory to practice as a medical assistant, but many employers expect certification and use it as a criterion during screening of applicants. Certification is an indicator of your skills and competence to work in a clinical setting. Furthermore, certification, or lack of it, determines the compensation you’ll receive when you start working.

There are several organizations that offer certification. For each of them, you must meet specific eligibility criteria and pass an exam. Some of them require years of experience in the field while others require the completion of an accredited program. The choice of certifying organization is up to you since the end result are the same. The key thing is to start by attending an accredited medical assistant program to acquire the clinical and administrative skills to succeed.

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 Georgia

Complete accredited training

Like any other profession, you must have the requisite education to qualify for entry-level employment as a medical assistant. There are several routes you can take, including certificate, diploma, or degree programs, or on-the-job training. Your best chance of success is to enroll in an accredited postsecondary medical assisting program, especially if you plan to pursue national certification. Certification through the American Association of Medical Assistants requires that you complete an accredited medical assistant program. Most of these programs are offered at community colleges and vocational schools across Georgia. You can choose from certificate programs, diploma programs, or degree programs based on your time and budget. Certificate programs typically last for 9 months, diploma programs are 12 months, and an associate degree requires a minimum of 24 months. A medical assistant diploma program may include more advanced training than a certificate program. The general education requirements for the associate degree will account for the lengthy track. However, the core courses may be similar to the diploma program. The degree may be your best option if you plan to pursue further education to prepare for another health career pathway via the baccalaureate degree. Credits from the associate degree may be transferrable.

A key reason why you should select an accredited program is to improve your job opportunities. Accreditation is important to employers seeking competent medical assistants who are capable of performing administrative and clinical tasks without lengthy on-the-job training. Accrediting agencies such as the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools and the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) require programs to include a clinical practicum for students to obtain hands-on experience in a real-world setting. Graduates will be well-prepared for success on the national certification exam and to take up their roles in various health care facilities.

Apart from accreditation from a recognized agency, your program of choice should meet the following standards.

Duration of the medical assistant program: a major benefit of allied health is that training is fairly short compared to other areas of healthcare. If you don’t have a lot of time and resources to commit to study, you should enroll in an accredited certificate program and get to work in less than 12 months.

Employer-centered curriculum: The medical assistant program should prepare you to provide the full range of services, including administrative and clinical responsibilities. Some programs may focus on just the clinical while others are centered on the administrative. A program that offers both is always best if you want the versatility to function in both areas, but if you’re set on specialization, you could choose a program that will provide a greater depth of knowledge in just one area.

Experienced instructors: Faculty should be friendly, supportive, and actively engaged in the field to keep the program’s content current with industry trends. Some areas where changes could arise include new technology, state laws pertaining to unlicensed professionals, and duties that a medical assistant may and may not perform in the state.

Flexible formats: All accredited programs require participants to complete hands-on practice on site and at approved facilities. Hybrid programs that combine online and on-campus instruction can meet your needs if you need to balance your educational pursuits with personal commitments. Of course, your learning style will also determine your choice- do you learn best through live interaction or through self-guided study? This will guide your selection.

Hands-on experience: A hands-on clinical externship is essential to the development of the skills needed to enter the workforce. It will give you the opportunity to perform basic MA duties under the guidance of your instructor and alongside other medical assistants and health care professionals.

Financially viable: The length of the program will determine the cost, which can vary from $2,400 to $17,000. Financial aid may not always be available, but you can research options for scholarships and grants to reduce your out-of-pocket costs.

Fringe benefits: What type of support services are available for students? Career services, job placement assistances, supplemental support, committed faculty, and networking opportunities are some things to look for.

Obtain Medical Assistant Certification

Certified Medical Assistant (CMA)

You will receive the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) credential after you successfully pass the CMA (AAMA) examination, administered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). The AAMA lists this credential as world-class certification for medical assistants. Employers, both nationally and globally recognize the credential, and some require it from all employees.

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 Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) credential is administered by the American Medical Technologists (AMT). This certification is also recognized by health care employers nationally. The AMT assures employers that RMAs have achieved the readiness, skills, and commitment to maintaining the high standards of the profession.

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 Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) certification is administered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA). The requirements for CCMA certification are simple. Applicants may qualify based on their work experience or their 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.

Georgia Medical Assistants FAQs

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

Medical assistants are not required to be licensed or certified by the State of Georgia. They perform tasks assigned by a physician, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant and under the direct supervision of any one of these licensed professionals.

What duties are medical assistants allowed to perform?

A physician determines the tasks that a medical assistant can perform. Ideally, these should be written in company policy. All tasks assigned must be within the ability, training, and experience of the medical assistant. A physician may delegate to a medical assistant the following medical tasks:

  • Subcutaneous and intramuscular injections
  • Obtaining vital signs
  • Administering nebulizer
  • Treatments; or removing sutures and changing dressings.

Physicians or physician assistants under basic job description and/or advanced practice nurses under protocol must be on-site for a medical assistant to administer subcutaneous and intramuscular injections, to administer nebulizer treatments, and to remove sutures and change dressings. It is not required for a physician to be on-site for a medical assistant to obtain vital signs.

Contact the Georgia Society of Medical Assistants


CAAHEP & ABHES Accredited Medical Assisting Programs Georgia

Atlanta, GA Medical Assistant Programs:
Cambridge College of Healthcare and Technology
5669 Peachtree Dunwoody Road, Suite 100
Atlanta, GA 30342
(404) 255-4500

Blairsville, GA Medical Assistant Programs:
North Georgia Technical College-Blairsville
121 Meeks Ave,
Blairsville, GA 30512

Clarksville, GA Medical Assistant Programs:
North Georgia Technical College-Clarkesville
1500 GA-197,
Clarkesville, GA 30523

Clarkston, GA Medical Assistant Programs:
Georgia Piedmont Technical College
495 N Indian Creek Dr,
Clarkston, GA 30021

LaGrange, GA Medical Assistant Programs:
West Georgia Technical College
1 College Circle, 1302 Orchard Hill Rd,
LaGrange, GA 30240

Rome, GA Medical Assistant Programs:
Georgia Northwestern Technical College-Rome
1 Maurice Culberson Dr SW,
Rome, GA 30161

Tucker, GA Medical Assistant Programs:
Woodruff Medical and Wellness Training
1927 Lakeside Parkway
Tucker, GA 30084
(404) 499-1777

Valdosta, GA Medical Assistant Programs:
Wiregrass Georgia Technical College
4089 Val Tech Rd,
Valdosta, GA 31602