Louisiana Medical Assistant Requirements and Approved CMA Program

Louisiana State offers an abundance of opportunities for medical assistants. The demand is great but filling medical assistant positions has been most difficult for Louisiana’s health care employers. According to a 2022 Stat poll conducted by the Medical Group Management Association, 44% of practices expressed their difficulty in recruiting medical assistants. More than half (52%) of health care leaders admitted to hiring alternative staff to cover open MA position while 48% said they did not. Health care employers hired certified nursing assistants (28%), non-clinical staff (32%), licensed practical nurses (23%), and registered nurses (13%) to meet their need for a medical assistant. Out of every 10 respondents, 4 f them hired a combination of health care professionals include pre-med students and EMTs to address staffing shortages due to lack of available medical assistants.

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According to the Poll, the COVID-19 pandemic contributed in part to the shortages. Potential candidates demanded higher wages and others did not have the experience required to fill the position. Loss of interest in health care jobs, demand for higher wages, and limited educational programs are some factors that impact the industry. There have been efforts to increase medical assistant programs in Louisiana to fill the gap for health care employers. Graduates can easily complete the requirements for certification and command a decent salary – upwards of $30 an hour – after proper training and national certification.

What Does a Medical Assistant Do?

Physicians hire medical assistants to reduce the overall cost of operation and improve efficiency. They rely on medical assistants to provide valuable support in the management of increasingly complex patient care issues. The role of an MA is so versatile – i.e., not set in stone – that every physician and tailor the responsibilities to meet the needs of the facility. From the management of front-office duties to collecting specimens for the lab and everything in between, the role of the medical assistant may be adapted to ensure a smooth and productive practice. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical assistants stand among the fastest growing occupations with a growth rate of 16 percent for the period 2021 to 2031. When physicians tap into the full potential of medical assistants, in almost every specialty, there will be explosive growth for their services in every area of health care.

In almost every medical setting, medical assistants perform administrative tasks in addition to patient care. They maintain patient records, answer patient inquiries, schedule appointments, order supplies, and manage patient flow through the practice. The medical assistant program will supply the skills and knowledge needed to function effectively in almost every area of healthcare. Some of the tasks performed by medical assistants include:

Take Medical Histories

Medical assistants interview patients to gather vital information that will assist the physician in making a diagnosis. Some of the information collected include past illnesses, medications used, family medical history, allergies, and symptoms.

Record Vital Signs

Medical assistants measure and record temperature, pulse, heart rate, blood pressure, blood sugar, and other vitals. This information helps the physician in their evaluation of the patient.

Prep Patients for Medical Exams

Medical assistants prep patients for medical exams and treatments. They explain each procedure, direct their actions, answer any questions, and provide comfort and assurance when needed.

Assist Physicians With Procedures

Medical assistants assist physicians with procedures such as changing dressings, colonoscopies, pediatric exams, newborn screening, eye and ear irrigations, and emergency medical procedures.

Perform Lab Tests

Medical assistants may perform routine lab tests if the practice offers these services. On-site labs remove the need for patients to travel elsewhere when testing is required. They may perform pregnancy tests, check for sexually transmitted infections, and blood analysis. MAs may collect samples for testing, such as urine, blood, stool, and tissue. They might draw blood for testing or transfusion. The samples must be prepared according to lab standards to ensure accuracy to help physicians make a correct diagnosis.

Administrative Tasks

In addition to patient care, medical assistants perform a host of administrative functions. They maintain accurate and current patient records, such as treatment plans, health histories, and results from the lab. They schedule appointments and follow up with patients, manage patient flow to ensure patients are attended to promptly, and answer any queries the patient might have.

Success in the field depends not only on the performance of the duties assigned but also in the ethical management of patient information. Medical assistants are often privy to sensitive information such as a patient’s medical history and treatment. They must maintain patient confidentiality and be discreet with sensitive information. The level of care depends on the emotional as much as the physical. Medical assistants will manage patients confronted with minor as well as terminal conditions and the attention to the patient’s emotional health will make a huge difference.

Medical assistants must stay current with industry trends, medical advancements, and technology. A commitment to continuing education is just as critical for medical assistants as it is for nurses and other health care professionals.

Healthcare is fast paced. Since medical assistants must juggle both patient care and administrative duties, organizational skills must be above standard to cope. Finally, they must be well-balanced themselves to manage patients who may be uncooperative, anxious, or outright rude. They must have the skills to diffuse difficult situations and ensure each patient receives the best support.

Certified Versus Uncertified Medical Assistants

Medical assistant certification validates an MA’s competencies to employers and patients alike. It demonstrates a personal commitment to the profession. MAs who are certified have a competitive edge in the job search and have greater opportunities for career advancement. Employers prefer medical assistants who are certified – not only because it proves their proficiency but also protects the employer if something goes wrong. Having staff who are performing at the highest level gives employers an extra layer of security if someone files a lawsuit for damages. Patients also expect much from the health care professionals charged with their care. They have the highest confidence in those who are trained and certified.

Certified medical assistants undergo continuous training to maintain their credential. For instance, the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) requires members to recertify every 60 months. Recertification requires the completion of 60 continuing education points from vendors approved by the AAMA. Medical assistants will be in the process of continuous learning to improve their knowledge, skills, and abilities. Even before a medical assistant becomes certified, the certifying organization requires the completion of an accredited formal education program and the passage of a certifying exam to validate the candidate’s ability to perform.

Today, there are numerous certifying organizations for medical assistants. Some of them administer certification for generalists while others certify special branches of medical assistants. For instance, the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant certification administered by the National Health Career Association is specifically for Clinical Medical Assistants. There are also special certifications for medical assistants operating a specialized area of healthcare.

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 Louisiana

Complete accredited training

Accredited medical assistant programs prepare students with the technical skills as well as the soft skills needed to perform the patient care and administrative tasks in health care facilities. The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and the Accreditation Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) are the two main accrediting organizations for medical assistant programs. You should check the accreditation of a program of interest by verifying any claims on the respective organization’s website. Accredited programs cover a specified number of hours and include at least 180 hours of clinical training needed for the development of practical skills.

Some of the technical skills covered in a medical assistant program include blood draws, vital sign measurement, medical terminology, record-keeping, medical tools and equipment, and billing software. The soft skills covered in the program are as essential as the technical skills. Development of these skills is critical to your success. They include attention to detail, analytical skills, and communication and organizational skills. Medical assistants must be excellent communicators to function as liaisons between the physician and patients and share information with other health care professionals who may be involved in the care of the patient. As the first and last point of contact, MAs must be customer service oriented to provide a good overall experience for the patient.

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

Duration of the medical assistant program: Medical assistant programs leading to a certificate or diploma is shorter than an associate degree program. A certificate program may be completed in 8 to 12 months and covers all the skills required for passing the certification exam and success on the job.

Employer-centered curriculum: The program’s curriculum should cover a core of knowledge that meets employers’ needs. The skill level covered must include theory and hands-on demonstrations and include continuous assessment to determine any additional training needed to address deficiencies.

Experienced instructors: The experience of the instructor in-part determines the quality and success of the program. The instructor should be on top of industry trends and practices and capable of providing valuable insight and support to students.

Flexible formats: Programs that combine online delivery of content with in-person practical sessions will give you the best of both worlds. You’ll have the convenience of studying without interrupting your normal schedule. The hands-on sessions may be mapped out to fit you’re your work/study needs.

Hands-on experience: The hands-on training will not only give you the opportunity to put your knowledge to practice but also confirm a medical assistant’s role as a member of a highly effective health care team. You’ll have the chance to work with other students, physicians, nurses, and other health care professionals to meet the needs of patients.

Financially viable: A college degree translates to a mountain a debt that must be paid off after graduation. If your desire is to start a career in healthcare without going into debt, medical assistant is a perfect choice. The short-term training is affordable – definitely much less than a college degree.

Fringe benefits: Medical assistant program include a special module to prepare for national certification. You might also receive the training required for additional certification such as first aid, EKG, phlebotomy, 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.

Louisiana Medical Assistants FAQs

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

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

What duties are medical assistants allowed to perform?

Certified Medical Assistants are not licensed by the LSBME or any other agency in the state. They may be trained by a physician, complete a formal or military training program and earn certification (CMA) from a national organization. In Louisiana, 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 Louisiana Society of Medical Assistants

Louisiana does not have a society for medical assistants at this time.

CAAHEP & ABHES Accredited Medical Assistant Programs in Louisiana  

Baton Rouge, LA Medical Assistant Programs:
Unitech College
2800 S. MacArthur Dr
Suite E, Alexandria, LA 71301

Delta College
7380 Exchange Pl,
Baton Rouge, LA 70806
(225) 407-4562

Fortis College in Baton Rouge
14111 Airline Hwy
Baton Rouge, LA 70817
(225) 248-1015

Medical Training College
10525 Plaza Americana Dr.
Baton Rouge, LA 70816

Eunice, LA Medical Assistant Programs:
Louisiana State University Eunice
2048 Johnson Hwy
Eunice, Louisiana, 70535
(337) 550-1390

Greensburg, LA Medical Assistant Programs:
Northshore Technical Community College
7067 Hwy 10 (P.O. Box 1300),
Greensburg, LA 70441

Gonzales, LA Medical Assistant Programs:
Gonzales Medical Assistant School
1943 S. Burnside Ave.
Gonzales, LA 70737

Lake Charles, LA Medical Assistant Programs:
SOWELA Technical Community College
3820 Senator J. Bennett Johnston Avenue
Lake Charles, Louisiana 70615
(337) 421-6565

Lafayette, LA Medical Assistant Programs:
South Louisiana Community College
1101 Bertrand Drive,
Lafayette, LA 70506
(337) 521-9000

Metairie, LA Medical Assistant Programs:
Blue Cliff College
3200 Cleary Ave
Metairie, LA 70002

Monroe, LA Medical Assistant Programs:
Louisiana Delta Community College
7500 Millhaven Road
Monroe, LA 71203

Shreveport, LA Medical Assistant Programs:
Ayers Career College
8820 Jewella Avenue
Shreveport, Louisiana 71108

Schriever, LA Medical Assistant Programs:
Fletcher Technical Community College
1407 Highway 311,
Schriever, LA 70395