Michigan Medical Assistant Requirements and Approved CMA Programs

According to the Partnership for Michigan’s Health, the healthcare sector directly employed nearly 572,000 Michigan residents in 2020 and remains the largest private-sector employer in the state. The sector retained huge staffing losses due to burnout and stress which came to a height during the COVID-19 pandemic. Medicare beneficiaries increased to 2.1 million (8 percent rise) in the past five years, creating further demand for health care services. The state needs more health care workers to serve the growing needs of the aging population. Medical assistants, who perform their duties under the supervision and license of physicians, form a critical part of the puzzle. They relieve physicians of the smaller tasks enabling them to focus their attention of the health care needs of patients.

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Like other professions in the industry, medical assisting is not only rewarding but also crucial to communities. Physicians and other licensed care providers owe debt of gratitude to these unlicensed professionals who work behind the scenes to hold the administrative and clinical functions of health care facilities intact. Their services are especially valuable in physician practices, hospitals and clinics where physicians perform life-saving work. As essential workers, medical assistants support the physicians by disseminating information to patients, showing empathy and compassion, and diminishing fear and anxiety through education. Their clinical duties may include the conducting of basic lab tests, administering vaccines, taking vital signs, drawing blood, updating patient histories. Up to 80 percent of medical assistants work in doctors’ offices. In this setting, they use their clinical expertise to ensure prompt care is delivered to the patients who need it more. They reduce the overall cost of the operation (through their ability to perform multiple tasks), improve the quality of care delivered, and contribute to better patient outcomes.

Benefits of Becoming a Medical Assistant

At the side of every great physician is a capable medical assistant. Medical assistants provide administrative and clinical services that are indispensable to the smooth operation of health care practices. There is so much potential in their services that the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 16 percent growth in job prospects through 2031. The BLS also lists health care as one of the fastest-growing industries, which means it’s a great time to consider a future in medical assisting.

Medical assistants perform clinical tasks such as administering medications, drawing blood, conducting lab tests, dressing wounds, and checking vital signs. They also attend to administrative duties such as patient billing, greeting guests, discharging patients, answering the phones, and booking appointments. The variations in their duties ensures that there are no typical days at work. One day (or one moment) you might be assisting with treatments and updating a database of patients the next. Medical assisting provides opportunities to change up your routine, so it never gets boring.

Training can be completed in 6 to 9 months if you enroll in a medical assistant certificate program. The short-term training means you can start earning an income faster than many other careers. You can also commit an additional 2 to 3 months to complete a diploma program for more intensive training. With a completion time of 18 to 24 months, associate degree programs are not as short, but you’ll earn valuable credits that you can transfer to a baccalaureate degree program.

More than 75 percent of medical assistants work in physicians’ practices with standard working hours. This setting is ideal if you’re considering a health care position with a more predictable schedule. Even in clinics and other health care settings, medical assistants may not be subjected to unpredictable shifts and long hours like doctors, nurses, and unlicensed professionals.

Medical assisting is portable! You can go anywhere you want whenever you need to. National certification offered through organizations like the American Association of Medical Assistants is valid in every state and also in some places outside the United States. A huge benefit here is that you can use your certification in one state or the next to qualify for jobs if you decide to move. There are no state-specific requirements for certification to present hurdles to practice.

An extension of the portability discussed above is the flexibility to work in various sectors in the health care industry. From hospitals to physicians’ offices, you have the power to choose where you want to work and move to another health care setting when you need a change.

Medical assistants provide a range of services to physicians, who place a high value on their competence and professionalism. If you work hard and broaden your skillset to incorporate as many support services as the role allows, you’ll have greater opportunities to work and advance your career. Some medical assistants with strong administrative skills can take on roles in management -with or without further study. If your strength is on the clinical end, you might consider furthering your studies to prepare for a role in nursing, emergency care, or other specialization.

Medical assistants make a positive impact on the lives of the patients they serve. If your goal is to draw meaning from your work, healthcare is the place to be, and there’s no better role than medical assisting. The opportunity to meet and serve patients from all walks of life will give you deep sense of satisfaction, day after day.

Certified Versus Uncertified Medical Assistants

Certification is more than just a piece of paper or a credential that goes with your title as a medical assistant. It is critical to your success in the field. It is especially needed when seeking your first job, as more than 70 percent of healthcare employers use certification when screening potential candidates. Certification confirms your commitment to excellence in practice. The American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) is one of the most recognized certifying organizations. AAMA certified medical assistants are clinical and administrative experts. The credential, awarded after a rigorous screening and testing, says that CMAs are capable of managing their duties from the very first day.

Their competence is not acquired by certification alone. The AAMA requires candidates for certification to complete an accredited medical assistant program.  The accredited program includes Knowledge-based instruction and practical training in a lab and at health care facilities. Students develop skills in the classroom and on the job, and are prepared to fill the role of the medical assistant in physicians’ offices, hospitals, clinics, and specialized areas of practice.

Certification means higher pay for the most part. Employers are willing to pay top dollar to MAs who are properly training and certified because they can fill two to three separate roles, which is ultimately cheaper than hiring multiple employees to fill the same roles. One of the best ways to get the most out of your investment in medical assistant training is to follow-up with certification.

Certification may not be mandatory in your state, but health care is always changing. What may be voluntary now could be required for practice in the future. Prepare for what’s ahead by staying ahead of the curve.

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 Michigan

Complete accredited training

A vital objective of any medical assistant program must be to prepare graduates for certification as a Certified Medical Assistant. Programs that are accredited by ABHES (Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools) or CAAHEP (Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs) meet the standard for certification through the American Association of Medical Assistants and other certifying organizations. If you plan on pursuing certification then enrolling in an accredited program is a must.

While certification isn’t required to obtain employment in most states, over 70% of employers prefer to hire certified medical assistants. If you want to get the best out of your career as a medical assistant, it makes sense to take the extra step to become certified after training. Certified MAs obtain higher pay, have more opportunities for advancement, and greater career options.

Accredited schools, such as the ones listed below, have earned a reputation for producing graduates who are capable and ready to step into their medical assistant role at private practices, hospitals, clinics, and other areas of healthcare. Employers have full confidence in their ability to take on any administrative or clinical tasks assigned. Accredited programs provide personalized training that includes theory and practical skills that ease the transition from the classroom to the workplace. The programs feature a comprehensive curriculum that is not filled with unnecessary prerequisites, so you can finish quickly and start working. Accredited programs are eligible for financial aid that you can use to reduce your out-of-pocket costs if you need to.

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: The medical assistant curriculum should focus on the core requirements without any of the cumbersome prerequisites that are time-consuming and expensive. The duration varies from one program to another but should not exceed 12 months.

Employer-centered curriculum: The aim of any program should be preparation for your role as a medical assistant. It should cover core skills for the administrative and clinical aspects of medical assisting. It must include a practical component to complement the theoretical concepts.

Experienced instructors: Learning styles vary, so it’s critical for your instructor to use various methods for delivering the material to embrace everyone. Personalized instruction and support throughout the program will guarantee your success. Check for reviews or meet with the instructor before you enroll to help determine if the program is a right fit.

Flexible formats: Do you plan to attend school part-time while you work a full-time job? Or do you prefer a full-time schedule that you can complete in a few months? Do you learn best surrounded by other students and faculty or prefer a self-paced program where you can work on your own? Although accredited programs include in-person sessions for practical training, you may have the option to complete part of the theory online. Determine what you want out of the program’s schedule and find one that meets your needs.

Hands-on experience: Practical training is a necessary part of medical assistant program. It is where you put the classroom concepts into practice and develop skills that you’ll use in the workplace. Practical training should cover at least 50 percent of the entire curriculum.

Financially viable: You’ll be eligible for financial aid if you enroll in an accredited medical assistant program. Apart from that, you should compare program costs to find the ones that are most affordable. Don’t limit your comparison to tuition alone; see what’s included in the cost – such as books, fees, uniforms, and supplies.

Fringe benefits: Apart from tuition, what does the school offer? Job placement assistance, scholarship opportunities, exam prep, extra opportunities for hands-on learning are just some of the benefits you might consider.

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 on 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.

Michigan Medical Assistants FAQs

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

Medical assistants are not required to be licensed or certified by the State of Michigan. Nationally certified medical assistants do not enjoy any special privileges under Michigan law although they may be designated a wider scope of duties by physician employers.

What duties are medical assistants allowed to perform?

According to Michigan Public Health Code, a licensed physician may delegate to a licensed or unlicensed individual who is otherwise qualified by education, training, or experience the performance of selected acts, tasks, or functions where the acts, tasks, or functions fall within the scope of practice of the physician’s profession and will be performed under his/her supervision.

Michigan law does not specifically delineate what tasks are delegable by physicians to medical assistants. However, the medical code permits physicians to delegate a reasonable scope of clinical tasks to knowledgeable and competent unlicen

sed professionals such as medical assistants working under their direct/onsite supervision in outpatient settings.

Some of these tasks include:

  • Venipuncture
  • Intramuscular, intradermal, and subcutaneous injections
  • Measuring vital signs

Contact the Michigan Society of Medical Assistants

Phone: 260-275-1429
Alt: 269-552-2015
Website: https://msmaonline.org/
Email: smithc.msma@gmail.com

CAAHEP & ABHES Accredited Medical Assisting Programs Michigan

Ann Arbor, MI Medical Assisting Programs:
Ross Medical Education Center
4741 Washtenaw Avenue
Ann Arbor, MI 48108
(734) 434-7320

Battle Creek, MI Medical Assisting Programs:
Ross Medical Education Center
600 Capital SW, Suite 104
Battle Creek, MI 49015
(269) 224-1381

Brighton, MI Medical Assisting Programs:
Ross Medical Education Center
8110 Murphy Drive
Brighton, MI 48116
(810) 227-0160

Canton, MI Medical Assisting Programs:
Ross Medical Education Center
44958 Ford Road
Canton, MI 48187
(734) 459-1723

Davison, MI Medical Assisting Programs:
Ross Medical Education Center
815 South State Street
Davison, MI 48423
(810) 658-1424

Flint, MI Medical Assisting Programs:
Ross Medical Education Center
G-3630 Miller Road, Suite D
Flint, MI 48507
(810) 733-7488

Grand Rapids, MI Medical Assisting Programs:
Ross College
1624 Woodworth NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49525
(616) 588-2203

Kentwood, MI Medical Assisting Programs:
Ross Medical Education Center
4528 Breton SE
Kentwood, MI 49508
(616) 698-3075

Lansing, MI Medical Assisting Programs:
Ross Medical Education Center
4106 West Saginaw Highway
Lansing, MI 48917
(517) 703-9044

Midland, MI Medical Assisting Programs:
Ross Medical Education Center
2600 N. Saginaw, Suite B
Midland, MI 48640
(989) 633-3068

New Baltimore, MI Medical Assisting Programs:
Ross Medical Education Center
51133 Birch Street, Suite 100
New Baltimore, MI 48047
(586) 716-3837

Portage, MI Medical Assisting Programs:
Ross Medical Education Center
6235 South Westnedge Avenue
Portage, MI 49002
(269) 601-7151

Port Huron, MI Medical Assisting Programs:
Ross Medical Education Center
2887 Krafft Road, Suite 700
Port Huron, MI 48060
(810) 982-0454

Roosevelt, MI Medical Assisting Programs:
Ross Medical Education Center
950 Norton Avenue Suite D
Roosevelt Park, MI 49441
(231) 739-1531

Saginaw, MI Medical Assisting Programs:
Ross Medical Education Center
4300 Fashion Square Boulevard, 2nd Floor, Suite 202
Saginaw, MI 48603
(989) 791-5192

Taylor, MI Medical Assisting Programs:
Ross Medical Education Center
22311 Eureka Road
Taylor, MI 48180
(734) 374-8260

Warren, MI Medical Assisting Programs:
Ross Medical Education Center
4237 E. 12 Mile Road
Warren, MI 48092
(248) 548-4389