Missouri Medical Assistant Requirements and Approved CMA Programs

Medical assistants are cross-trained to perform administrative and clinical duties in a health care facility. Their duties may be entry-level or mid-level and are designed to improve the efficiency of the medical practice. They take vital signs, review and update patient histories, schedule appointments, and assist the physician or nurse with treatment plans, but they cannot diagnose patients, assist with surgery, prescribe medications, or do anything that requires the professional judgment of a physician.

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If you’re considering a career as medical assistant, it’s crucial that you know the role and responsibilities you’ll be required to perform, the licensing and certification requirements for the state of Missouri, the job outlook and salary for your area, and the traits needed for success in the profession.

The role of a medical assistant varies from one practice to another. It is largely influenced by the supervising physician and what he or she determines is necessary to achieve the best workflow. One thing is certain, medical assistants set the tone for a positive visit to the physician. The medical assistant greets patients, escorts them to the exam room, and prep them to see the physician. A warm and upbeat attitude relieve any tension the patient may have about the visit and its outcome.

Over the next decade (2021 through 2031), the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the growth rate for the medical assistant profession to be 16%— four times the average growth rate for all occupations. The explosive growth in employment for medical assistants is likely a reason for the rise in accredited medical assistant programs in Missouri and the rest of the United States.

What Does a Medical Assistant Do?

There’s a growing demand for medical assistants. The minimal education requirements for entry make it an excellent career opportunity to step into healthcare. The median annual wage was $37,190 per year for MAs in 2021 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay for MAs in 2021 was $17.88 per hour, but the actual compensation depends on your location, work setting, and experience. Nevertheless, private practices and other health care providers understand the value of MAs and pay out huge incentives to attract new employees and fill vacant positions. Now that you know there’s a need for MAs and realize the potential to earn much, your next question might be, what does a medical assist do? Some invasive tasks depend on the physician and the state in which you’ll practice, but here’s a summary of their general duties.

Greeting Patients

The way a medical practice receives a patient says a lot. Medical assistants are the first point of contact in the medical office and the first impression the patient receives will make or break the visit. The MA’s role, as the front-office administrator, is to create a safe and welcoming space to put patients at ease before a treatment or examination.

Measure Vital Signs

Medical assisting is extremely hands-on. An MA will check patients’ vital signs upon their arrival at the practice and perform various tests as directed by the attending physician. Common examples of vitals that may need to be checked include pulse, temperature, blood pressure, weight, height, hearing, and respiration rate. Accuracy here is crucial as physicians need the results to evaluate patients’ health.

Updating Medical Records

Medical assistants must communicate one-on-one with patients to establish or update their medical history and learn the reason for their visit. Active listening is essential to record specific symptoms, learn of incidents that led to the onset of symptoms, and pick up on any valuable information that the patient might share during the conversation. The accumulation and accurate recording of the patient’s record and using an appropriate system to file it is critical to timely health care delivery. Some medical records may be filed at another facility. The medical assistant must request these beforehand to receive them in time for the patient’s scheduled appointment.

Prepare the Examination or Treatment Room

A medical assistant prepares the room for examination or treatment. Supplies and specific equipment must be in place for physician to attend to the patient. The medical assistant must also sanitize the room and sterilize equipment after each treatment or examination. Apart from preparing the room, the MA may also prep the patient by explaining the treatment or procedure and obtaining patients’ consent.

Assisting with Medical Procedures

In facilities where there is no nurse on hand, a medical assist will assist the physician with some procedures such as wound care, removal of moles or warts, drainage of an abscess, and minor surgeries. Take note that a medical assistant cannot perform all the duties of a registered nurse, but may assist with some tasks as directed by a physician.

Prepare and Administer Medications

A common medical assistant duty is the administration of medications. The extent of this activity depends on the physician and what is required by the state. In some states, medicals assistants may inject, handle, and provide medications to patients (including injections) only after receiving appropriate training. Other states require certification as a medical assistant to perform these tasks.

Perform Administrative Duties

A medical assistant’s clinical role is broad and comprehensive, but they have an equally extensive role in the administration of the practice. Sometimes the roles are separate, but most times the clinical tasks go hand-in-hand with the administrative duties. For instance, after collecting a patient’s medical history, the MA must ensure its appropriately filed. After collecting samples for the lab, the medical assistant must follow-up for timely delivery. Other administrative duties include medical coding, billing, obtaining preauthorization from the patient’s insurance provider, scheduling appointments, and maintaining inventory.

Certified Versus Uncertified Medical Assistants

Unlike many health care professions, medical assistants do not have to be licensed or certified. This factor alone is a chief reason why the profession is so attractive to persons seeking a career in health care. If getting certified is not on your radar, it’s time to reconsider because certification will change the way your practice and positively impact your career opportunities and salary. More than 77 percent of health care employers prefer certified medical assistants – even if they must pay more for their employ. Certification demonstrates a MA’s ability to perform the tasks that the role requires.

The American Association of Medical Assistants, the largest certifying organization in terms of membership, reports that employers pay higher wages for certified medical assistants. The willingness on their part is not only due to the abilities of CMAs but to reduce the pressure of potential malpractice suits and get in line with mandates placed on employers by governing bodies.

Certification demonstrates your commitment to excellence in healthcare. The preparation required for certification (whether it’s the completion of a formal program or accumulating a stated number of practice hours) also prepares you to be a better all-round MA. This is why CMAs are capable of taking up their duties from the first day of work and rarely require continuous training to do what’s required. They are an immediate help and not a burden to the health care team.

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 Missouri

Complete accredited training

Medical assistant roles require significantly less training compared to nurses and other health care professionals. Missouri, like other states do not have formal education requirements, but many employers prefer formally trained MAs so they would not have to complete the training themselves. An accredited program is a must if you plan to acquire the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) credential. Most states do not have formal education requirements, but many employers prefer to hire assistants who have completed an accredited training prog

The program will comprise of theory and practical instruction to prepare you to become productive and valuable members of the healthcare support team. The program delivery may be online or on-campus. Online accredited programs will include an in-person component for the development of hands-on skills. Some courses that you will take include anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, pharmacology and medical administration, laboratory procedures, medical office management, and measuring vital signs. The time investment is typically 12 months for a medical assistant certificate or diploma.

Medical assistant programs have low barriers to entry, meaning anyone with a high school diploma or GED and a desire to care for others can enroll. There are no prerequisite courses required, no extensive interviews, admissions tests, or essays to submit. There are no competitive admissions or selective enrollment. Many schools recruit new students many times per year, so you can begin a program in a matter of weeks. The clinical experience, which is a required part of the training, will require a background check and drug test to work at a clinical partner.

An accredited program will cover all or most of the points on the checklist below.

Duration of the medical assistant program: The brevity of the training, compared to other health care careers, is one factor that draws many to medical assisting. You can complete an accredited certificate program in 12 months or less and be on your way to a rewarding career in health. The associate degree requires a 2-year investment of time, but it’s not required unless you have plans to further your education.

Employer-centered curriculum: The objective of any medical assistant program must be to prepare students with the knowledge, skills, and abilities so they make valuable contributions to the health care team. Carefully review the medical assistant curriculum to determine if it will cover the administrative skills, clinical skills, and more.

Experienced instructors: An experienced instructor will understand the role of the medical assistant and prepare the student to succeed in that role. More than delivering the content to dispense knowledge, he or she will inspire students to become compassionate providers of care.

Flexible formats: Technological advances now facilitate delivery of coursework online to facilitate working professionals who are desirous of advancing their education or preparing for a new one. Full-time, part-time, and weekend program options are also a given. The clinical portion of the program that enables the development of practical skills must be completed in person.

Hands-on experience: In addition to the training in the classroom or online, you will complete an externship in a clinical setting. The externship will give you the opportunity to put your skills to the test and gain hands-on experience before entering the workforce.

Financially viable: Medical assistant programs are career-centered with no prerequisites and general educations courses to extend the length and cost of training. Choose an accredited program that is eligible for financial aid and explore all options available to reduce your overall cost.

Fringe benefits: The extras may be what would help you to choose one medical assistant program out of a list of many. Whether it’s a flexible schedule, online learning, financing options, remedial training, or extra support, choose what appeals to you.

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.

Missouri Medical Assistants FAQs

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

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

What duties are medical assistants allowed to perform?

A medical assistant in Missouri works under the license of the physician and must perform only those duties that the physician delegates.

Some of the tasks that may be delegated include:

  • Assisting patients with paperwork and asking questions to update patient history
  • Taking vital signs
  • Answering the phone and scheduling appointments
  • Update patient records electronically and in charts as directed by a physician
  • Assist the physician with outpatient procedures
  • Administer medications including injections
  • College blood and urine samples for the lab

Medical assistants in Missouri cannot perform the following tasks:

  • Diagnose a patient or make recommendations
  • Use any type of therapy to treat a patient outside of the physician’s protocol
  • Interpret test results
  • Evaluate a patient
  • Create a treatment plan
  • Administer medications via IV
  • Perform any type of invasive procedures
  • Prescribe medications

Contact the Missouri Society of Medical Assistants

Email: mosocietyma@gmail.com

CAAHEP & ABHES Accredited Medical Assisting Programs Missouri

Bridgeton, MO Medical Assistant Programs:
St Louis Community College
3221 McKelvey Rd,
Bridgeton, MO 63044

Earth City, MO Medical Assistant Programs:
Midwest Institute
4260 Shoreline Drive
Earth City, MO 63045

Sedalia, MO Medical Assistant Programs:
State Fair Community College
3201 W. 16th Street
Sedalia, Missouri 65301-2188
(877) 311-7322

Springfield, MO Medical Assistant Programs:
Ozarks Technical Community College
1001 E. Chestnut Expressway,
Springfield, MO 65802
(417) 447-7500

St Louis, MO Medical Assistant Programs:
St Louis Phlebotomy School
6717 Vernon Ave.
St. Louis, MO 63130
(314) 881-8346

St. Louis College of Health Careers
909 South Taylor Avenue
St. Louis, MO 63110
(314) 652-0300

Trenton, MO Medical Assistant Programs:
North Central Missouri College
1301 Main Street
Trenton, MO 64683
(660) 357-6284

Union, MO Medical Assistant Programs:
East Central College
1964 Prairie Dell Road,
Union, MO 63084

Warrensburg, MO Medical Assistant Programs:
University of Central Missouri
P.O. Box 800
Warrensburg, MO 64093

West Plains, MO Medical Assistant Programs:
Missouri State University-West Plains
128 Garfield Ave.
West Plains, MO 65775