Kentucky Medical Assistant Requirements and Approved CMA Program

A career as a medical assistant may be deeply rewarding. You may be considering the profession for the long term or possibly as a stepping stone to another health care profession. As a medical assistant, you can easily practice in various specialties such as gynecology, orthopedics, pediatrics, cardiology, or emergency care to add some diversity to your work. On the other hand, you can continue your education to become a licensed practical nurse, registered nurse, emergency medical technician, or use your administrative skills to assume a position in leadership or management of a health care facility.

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Whether you’re in it for the long haul or just passing through to something bigger, you should consider getting certified from the onset. Certification will enhance your salary, give you a competitive advantage, and improve your practice. Employers seek out the services of a certified medical assistant because certification demonstrates their ability to perform competently in the role. If you’re interested in pursuing a career as a medical assistant, then you need to enroll in an accredited medical assistant program to acquire the clinical and administrative skills that employers rely on. While some medical assistants start out without formal training, it is increasing more difficult to find a position that does not require it. Employers are willing to pay for trained and certified medical assistants as they do not always have the resources to train on the job.

Benefits of Becoming a Medical Assistant  

In a survey conducted in 2019, 81 percent of medical assistants reported extreme satisfaction in their jobs. The low turnover rate in the industry is just one indicator of the career as it relates to satisfaction of employees. A steady paycheck, job stability, advancement opportunities, and diversity are some of the perks medical assistants enjoy. Here are some of reasons to become a part of this great profession.

Explosive Growth

Some fields are better than others when it comes to job outlook. The healthcare industry offers great opportunities for new employers. Medical assisting stands at the top of the list for projected growth. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects strong demand for medical assistants through 2031 with a projected growth of 16 percent. The demand spells opportunities for newcomers to the industry, especially as more medical assistants retire in the coming years. Medical assistant graduates will have their pick of jobs as they search for position that meets their individual needs.

Diverse Environments

No longer is medical assisting limited to private practices. Yes, the majority of medical assistants still work alongside physicians in a private practice, but more and more health care employers are utilizing the services of a medical assistant to streamline their operations. Medical assistants now work with insurance companies, hospitals, clinics, government offices, outpatient centers, chiropractors, opticians, and others. Their duties vary from one setting to another, giving medical assistants the opportunity to expand their skillset as they move around.

A private practice offers a relaxed pace with the opportunity to work with the same patients and develop a close connection with that circle of patients and providers. The hospital setting is more fast paced and your duties will vary from one moment to the next.

Predictable Hours

Medical assisting is one of few healthcare careers that has the option for predictable working hours. Nurses, physicians, and direct care staff work round the clock, including evenings, nights, and weekends. Medical assistants have some control over their work schedules by choosing a place of work that aligns with their scheduling needs. Private practices, insurance companies, clinics, and government agencies operate during traditional 9 to 5 hours Monday through Friday. In a hospital, a medical assistant may not be required to work the evening of weekend shift as other health care professionals. So, if you’re interested in a health care job that will help you to maintain your work-life balance, medical assistant is the right job.

Opportunities to Specialize

There are numerous specialty certifications available for medical assistants. While medical assistants are trained to manage both administrative and clinical duties, you’re not obligated to manage both. If you prefer the clinical duties, you can prepare for a role as a Clinical Medical Assistant program by completing the required training and applying for certification as a Certified Clinical Medical Assistant through the National Healthcare Career Association (NHA). Other areas for specialty certifications are cardiology, women’s health, pediatrics, emergency care, dermatology, and others.


Medical assistants work as a part of a team with a critical common goal – to restore health and prevent disease. There’s none of the fierce competition to get to the top as other industries. Working side by side and under the direction of a physician, a medical assistant develops new skills and abilities. Every team member is vested in the growth of the medical assistant because when he or she grows, everyone wins.

Professional Support

Medical assistants have the support of organizations such as the American Association of Medical Assistants who are committed to the growth of the profession, the proper training and recognition of medical assistants, and advocacy for its members. The support on a national level and at the state level through state chapters is source of comfort for medical assistants.

Certified Versus Uncertified Medical Assistants

A certified medical assistant is one who has completed an accredited medical assistant program and met the requirements to earn certification. There are more than a few certification options for medical assistants, but the term certified medical assistant generally refers to someone who carries the CMA credential after passing an exam administered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA).

Getting certified has rich rewards. One of them is a major boost in your annual salary. The median wage for non-certified medical assistants is $17.30 per hour according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Certified medical assistants earn more than $20 per hours, according to the AAMA. Of course, your geographic location has a major part in your salary determination, but certified MAs earn more than those who are not certified.

There’s a huge demand for CMAs; simply because employers prefer them. More than 77% of employment ads include certification as a condition for employment. The CMA is the most recognized option for certification, but there are other acceptable options. The American Medical Technologists bestows the Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) credential to persons with more than five years’ experience in the program or to graduates of an approved medical assistant program. The National Certified Medical Assistant (NCMA) from the National Center for Competency Testing and the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant credential is issued by the National Healthcareer Association.

Some of the other standard certifications are listed below.

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 Kentucky

Complete accredited training

Enroll in an accredited medical assistant program to ensure you get the best value for your money. An accredited program meets all the specific standards of quality including sufficient faculty, facilities, and student services to ensure you get the best experience throughout the program. Medical assistant schools are accredited by two organizations – Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and the Accreditation Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). Accredited medical assistant programs must include a practical component – the duration varies but generally covers at a minimum of 180 contact hours of work in a real-world environment.

The goal of the medical assistant program is to prepare students the skills and abilities to perform the clinical and administrative duties of a medical assistant. Some of the topics covered are medical terminology, clinical procedures, diagnostic laboratory procedures, medical office administration, medical laws and ethics, human diseases and pathology, human biology, anatomy and physiology, medical billing and coding, medical transcription, pharmacology, patient care, phlebotomy, electrocardiology, emergency medical procedures, and review for the medical assistant certification exam. Apart from the technical skills, medical assistants must have the soft skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, customer service, compassion, and organizational skills.

Following are some things to look for in an accredited program.

Duration of the medical assistant program: Although there is a rise in medical assistant programs leading to an associate degree, there is no specific need to pursue this course. You can enroll in the shorter-term certificate program and acquire all the knowledge and skills needed to perform your duties as a medical assistant. A certificate program may be completed in 6 to 12 months.

Employer-centered curriculum: The objective of the program must be to produce graduates capable of functioning in the role of a medical assistant. This includes the ability to transition from the classroom to the workplace without excessive training from the employer. The curriculum should cover both the administrative and clinical functions of a medical assistant.

Experienced instructors: Experienced faculty are those who are certified medical assistants themselves of have some experience in delegating duties to medical assistants. They should be on top of changing trends in the industry and committed to the advancement of the profession.

Flexible formats: Your desire to prepare for a new career does not have to interrupt your work and family commitments. The advent of online and hybrid programs will help to sustain work/life balance. Always choose a program offered in hybrid format if you cannot commit to a traditional on-campus program. You will have the option to complete the theory online and attend practical session in-person based on your schedule.

Hands-on experience: Practical, hands-on experiences are a critical part of an accredited medical assistant program as it prepares students to face real-world scenarios and transition seamlessly from the classroom to the workplace.

Financially viable: Medical assistant programs are short-term, trade programs that focus on the skills required to start a new career. This focus removes unnecessary coursework that increase the cost of tuition. Most programs are a fraction of the cost of a college degree, so graduates leave with little to no debt.

Fringe benefits: Some other benefits to expect from a medical assistant program are preparation for national certification, extra support from faculty, job placement assistance, and preparation for other industry certification.

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.

Kentucky Medical Assistants FAQs

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

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

What duties are medical assistants allowed to perform?

In Kentucky, a medical assistant is classified as an unlicensed individual and may perform services for which he or she has been adequately trained as long as the services are provided under physician supervision e.g., where the physician is physically present on the premises and immediately available at all times that they are performing duties as delegated by the physician.

Some of the duties they may perform include:

  • Take medical histories
  • Prepare patients for exams
  • Perform basic lab tests
  • Prepare and administer medications, including by intramuscular, intradermal, and subcutaneous injections
  • College and prepare laboratory specimens
  • Phlebotomy
  • Take electrocardiograms
  • Wound care and change dressings
  • Assist the physician during examinations

A medical assistant may not perform the following tasks:

  • Administer controlled medications, intravenous medications, contrast agents, or chemotherapy agents;
  • Use lasers or instruments that results in tissue destruction;
  • place sutures;
  • Take radiographs or using any ionizing radiation unless the CMA is also a certified limited practice radiographer;
  • Analyze, interpret, or diagnose symptoms or tests;
  • Triage patients
  • Perform a clinical decision-making task by means of telemedicine.

Contact the Kentucky Society of Medical Assistants

CAAHEP & ABHES Accredited Medical Assistant Programs in Kentucky  

Bowling Green, KY Medical Assistant Programs:
The Medical Institute of Kentucky
944 Fields Dr. #103
Bowling Green, KY 42104
(270) 599-1196

Western Kentucky University
1906 College Heights Blvd,
Bowling Green, KY 42101

Ross Medical Education Center
1724 Rockingham Ave #102
Bowling Green, KY 42104
(270) 796-2052

Campbellsville, KY Medical Assistant Programs:
Campbellsville University
1 University Drive,
Campbellsville, KY 43718
(800) 264-6014

Lexington, KY Medical Assistant Programs:
Bluegrass Community and Technical College
500 Newtown Pike
Lexington KY 40508
(855) 246-2477

Emergency Medical Training Professionals, LLC
1141 Red Mile Road | Suite 101
Lexington, KY 40504
(859) 327-EMTP

Louisville, KY Medical Assistant Programs:
Kentucky School of Phlebotomy
1425 Bluegrass Ave.
Louisville, KY, 40215
(502) 791-5977

Norton Healthcare
200 E. Chestnut St.
Louisville, KY 40202
(502) 629-1234

Sullivan University
3101 Bardstown Road
Louisville, KY 40205

Richmond, KY Medical Assistant Programs:
Eastern Kentucky University
521 Lancaster Ave,
Richmond, KY 40475
(859) 622-1000