Ohio Medical Assistant Requirements and Approved CMA Programs

Medical practices are hiring more medical assistants as an affordable alternative to having licensed practical nurses or registered nurses on the clinical care team. The compensation for medical assistants is substantially lower than that of nurses, so medical practices that hire MAs realize higher profits. It is evident that the range of duties that a medical assistant can perform is not on par with that of licensed nurses, however, when it comes to greeting patients, measuring vitals, answering the phone, administering flu shots, and following up on labs, it is more cost-effective for physicians to hire a medical assistant to manage the day-to-day administrative and clinical functions. The Bureau of Labor Statistics confirms the rise in employment for medical assistants, projecting a growth rate of 16 percent for the 2021 to 2031 period. This rate is more than double the average for all occupations.

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One of the unique benefits of medical assisting – as far as physicians are concerned- is its versatility. The State of Ohio classifies medical assistants are unlicensed professionals. As such, they work under the purview of the supervising physician who assigns duties based on the MAs’ training and abilities. In a field where the scope of practice of certified medical assistants incorporates a broad range of responsibilities, physicians can use MAs to achieve their objectives. A medical assistant can perform both administrative and clinical functions provided by receptionists, office managers, and nurses. Even with a wide range of duties assigned, most MAs are underutilized due to physicians’ lack of clarity on the duties that can be assigned. It is left up to the physician to determine the capabilities of the medical assistant before delegating tasks and be on the spot to assess and train if needed. In Ohio, Advanced Practice Registered Nurses and Physician Assistants may delegate tasks, such as the administration of medication, to knowledgeable and competent medical assistants under specific conditions of the Administrative Code.

Benefits of Becoming a Medical Assistant

There are so many career paths in the healthcare industry that you can from; so why should you consider medical assisting? Right out of the gate, the job growth for this profession is higher than all other professions in health care. The projected growth rate of 16 percent is possibly due to the versatility of the profession that gives physicians the ability to have an administrator and clinician rolled into one person. More and more medical practices are turning to medical assistants to improve efficiency in the practice freeing the physician to focus on patient care.

One of the benefits of allied health is the short-term preparation needed for practice. Some careers in healthcare require a two-year or four-year degree to start, but medical assisting offers several educational pathways that you can get your foot in the door sooner rather than later. A certificate program, for example, can be completed in 6 to 9 months. A diploma in medical assistant can last a mere 12 months. If you plan to continue your education and transition to another career path in healthcare, you can prepare for medical assisting with an associate degree and earn credits that you can transfer to a 4-year degree program. The point is that you can choose a program that is as short or as long as you need.

Life can throw unexpected turns. You might be content to practice in Ohio, but what happens if the unexpected happens, and you must move to another state? No problem! Medical assisting does not have licensing or state certification requirements that are restricted to one state. By completing an accredited medical assistant program and obtaining national certification, your credential is transferrable to most states. There’s no need to recertify or perform any special requirements to begin a new job in another state. Just consider that the duties that you perform in one state might be different in another.

Medical assistants earn an enviable salary despite their short-term education. The median hourly rate of $17.88 in 2021, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, can be almost doubled with certification and experience in the industry. Based on the healthcare setting, medical assistants can not only enjoy an attractive base salary but also benefit from perks such as medical care, tuition reimbursement, paid time off, and more. Added to these, a medical assistant who works overtime or on the weekend can earn up to 22 percent more than the national average.

Earn while you learn has become the mantra of this generation. More than ever, individuals are working to pay for their education to reduce or eliminate college loans. If you dream of a long-term career in health care as a physician, registered nurse, or physician assistant, you can gain valuable health care experience in your role as a medical assistant and earn more to pay for your degree.

There’s no room for boredom in your role as a medical assistant. A medical assistant’s duties vary from one day to another. You’ll meet new people, learn new things, and conquer new challenges daily. One day, your duties may be centered on administrative tasks, and the other next might be clinical. The broad range of duties will keep you active in both mind and body.

A medical assistant’s working hours are not as erratic and unpredictable as that of a registered nurse. You can be the master of your schedule! If you prefer a standard nine-to-five, you might consider working for a family practice or another health care facility with routine hours. But if you prefer the fast-paced setting with round-the-clock services, you can opt for a hospital or emergency care unit.

The versatility of medical assisting extends to the type of services you provide. You can, like most MAs’, work with general physicians, or develop specialized skills by working with pediatricians, gynecologists, podiatrists, and others. The opportunities to specialize are as broad as there are specialized fields for physicians. There may not be formal training or certification to define your specialty, but the day-to-day operations in the practice will teach you a lot.

The greatest benefit associated medical assisting is the personal fulfillment you’ll achieve from providing compassionate care to patients. You can have a positive impact and save lives just by bringing cheer and hope to patients at a time when they need it most.

Certified Versus Uncertified Medical Assistants

Healthcare employers want to hire the most qualified medical assistants who will contribute to the efficient operations of their practices. A survey conducted by National Healthcareer Association revealed that certification is the number one criterion employers expect from their medical assistant employees. Of the 157 employers surveyed, 62 percent indicated that certification was the top screening criteria when screening applicants. Medical assistants wear many hats in the practice. In the administrative capacity, they greet patients, schedule appointments, follow up on lab reports, answer the phones, respond to patient questions, manage billing, and fill out forms for admissions or discharge. In their clinical capacity, medical assistants explain treatment procedures to patients, prep patients for exams, take medical histories, perform basic lab tests, collect lab specimens, phlebotomy, administer medications, and assist physicians with treatments. Employers want to know that their medical assistant employees can function at the top of their game to add value and efficiency to the practice. The certification exam assesses candidates for both the administrative and clinical competencies which confirms to employers that CMAs have the knowledge and skills to get the job done.

Building on the above point, employers also want to minimize on-the-job training. Healthcare facilities are a hub of activity. The healthcare team has its fair share of duties to perform, and training could take away valuable time that could otherwise be used for patient care. Based on the NHA’s survey, 52 percent of employers indicated that medical assistants are taking on greater responsibilities in healthcare.  They are a central part of the team, coordinating the activities of each member to avoid overlap and improve efficiency. Certified medical assistants have the communication, organizational, and collaborative skills to manage the smooth flow of the medical operation.

Certification shows your commitment to quality in practice. It starts with enrolling in an accredited MA program that will provide the hard and soft skills needed to succeed in the role. It continues with preparation for the rigorous exam that will assess your understanding of the duties you will perform. Finally, certification is a commitment to continue learning, as you must complete the continuing education requirements to maintain your CMA credential.

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 Ohio

Complete accredited training

The State of Ohio has no defined educational plan for medical assistants; therefore, the onus is on employers to assess the educational preparation and skill level of prospective employers. The lack of state mandates increases the importance of certification as the standard for medical assistants. Accredited training goes hand in hand with national certification. The completion of an accredited program that includes sufficient theory and hands-on training is required for certification through certifying organizations such as the American Association of Medical Assistants.

Formal training programs vary based on the curriculum, duration, and type of credential issued. A certificate program can take up to 9 months to complete while a diploma program may extend an additional 3 months (12 months total) to cover advanced topics. If you prefer to enroll in a college degree program, you can expect to complete the program in 24 months. Degree programs include the core courses covered in most diploma programs with an additional requirement for general education courses. The medical assistant curriculum will include topics such as anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, customer service, the disease process, office administration, patient care, and phlebotomy. The program should include all that you need to commence employment. However, you can expect that you’ll learn a lot more on the job under the care of physicians and, nurse practitioners, and physicians’ assistants.

In your search for a good medical assistant program in Ohio, consider the following.

Duration of the medical assistant program: Certificate and diploma programs are career focused, emphasizing the practical skills needed for success. The absence of academic prerequisites reduces the completion time, so you get to work. If you plan to continue your educational pursuits to prepare for another career in health, you might consider the associate degree to earn college credits.

Employer-centered curriculum: The curriculum must center on those skills that employers want. It must include theory and practical instruction in both the administrative and clinical components of medical assisting.

Experienced instructors: Faculty who are actively working in the field will keep the content fresh and adjust the content to cover the changing industry trends.

Flexible formats: The program’s schedule must be in sync with your other commitments; whether personal or professional. Online programs will give you the convenience to study as your schedule permits, but they should include face-to-face sessions to build your practical skills under the supervision of experienced faculty.

Hands-on experience: There must be an emphasis on hands-on training so you can master administrative and clinical skills. The practical externship will help you to connect classroom concepts with real-world scenarios. Hands-on experience may be covered during simulations and externships.

Financially viable: The cost of the program should be in line with your budget. Scholarships, financial aid, and tuition reimbursement may be able to reduce your cost.

Fringe benefits: Value-added benefits include career services, job placement assistance, career guidance, and exam preparation are some benefits you should expect.

Obtain Medical Assistant Certification

Medical assistant certification is available through a few recognized agencies – mentioned above. The CMA Certification Exam offered by the American Association of Medical and the RMA exam offered by American Medical Technologists are two of the most noted.

The AAMA offers is a multiple-choice exam consisting of 200 questions. Out of the 200 questions, 180 will be scored and 20 will be pretested. 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 the 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

RMA Certification

RMA certification is another certification option for medical assistants. You must pass the AMT examination to become certified and obtain the RMA credential.

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.

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.

Ohio Medical Assistants FAQs

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

Medical assistants are not required to be licensed or certified by the State of Ohio. While certification is not mandated by the state, an employer or supervising physician may require certification from a recognized certifying body. medical assistant certifying organizations.

What duties are medical assistants allowed to perform?

According to the Ohio Society of Medical Assistants, a medical may perform the following duties under the supervision of a licensed physician:

  • Using computer applications
  • Answering telephones
  • Welcoming patients
  • Updating and filing patient medical records
  • Coding and filling out insurance forms
  • Scheduling appointments
  • Arranging for hospital admissions and laboratory services
  • Handling correspondence, billing, and bookkeeping

Clinical Duties (may include, but are not limited to):

  • Taking medical histories
  • Explaining treatment procedures to patients
  • Preparing patients for examinations
  • Assisting the physician during examinations
  • Collecting and preparing laboratory specimens
  • Performing basic laboratory tests
  • Instructing patients about medication and special diets
  • Preparing and administering medications, including by intramuscular, intradermal, and subcutaneous injections—including vaccinations/immunizations, as directed by a physician or other licensed provider (e.g., a nurse practitioner or physician assistant)
  • Transmitting prescription refills as directed
  • Phlebotomy
  • Taking electrocardiograms
  • Wound care and changing dressings

The State Medical Board of Ohio restricts medical assistants, as unlicensed professionals, from initiating IVs.

Contact the Ohio Society of Medical Assistants

Email: ossma.webmaster@gmail.com

Website: https://www.ossma.org/

CAAHEP & ABHES Accredited Medical Assisting Programs Ohio

Canton, OH Medical Assistant Programs:
Ross College
4300 Munson Street, NW
Canton, OH 44718
(330) 494-1214

Cincinnati, OH Medical Assistant Programs:
Ross Medical Education Center
11590 Century Boulevard, Suite 210
Cincinnati, OH 45246
(513) 851-8500

Dayton, OH Medical Assistant Programs:
Ross Medical Education Center
4490 Brandt Pike
Dayton, OH 45424
(937) 235-0510

Elyria, OH Medical Assistant Programs:
Ross Medical Education Center
120 Market Drive
Elyria, OH 44035
(440) 328-8878

Lancaster, OH Medical Assistant Programs:
Ohio University
1570 Granville Pike,
Lancaster, OH 43130

Niles, OH Medical Assistant Programs:
Ross Medical Education Center
5555 Youngstown-Warren Road, Unit 909
Niles, OH 44446
(330) 505-1436

Ontario, OH Medical Assistant Programs:
Ross Medical Education Center
2150 West 4th Street
Ontario, OH 44906
(419) 747-2206

Sylvania, OH Medical Assistant Programs:
Ross College – AS Degree
5834 Monroe Street, Suite F-J
Sylvania, OH 43560
(419) 882-3203

Ross College
5834 Monroe Street, Suite F-J
Sylvania, OH 43560
(419) 882-3203
(419) 882-3203