Oregon Medical Assistant Requirements and Approved CMA Programs

Personal fulfillment, career advancement opportunities, and a decent salary are just a few of the factors to look for in a new career. Loving what you do and being challenged from time to time are some other reasonable expectations. If you’re a natural leader, compassionate, caring, and love working with people, consider a career as a medical assistant.

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Medical assistants provide clinical and administrative support to physicians in private practices, clinics, hospitals, and other health care settings. As allied health professionals, they perform a broad range of duties that include answering phones, scheduling appointments, taking vital signs, performing basic lab tests, updating medical records, drawing blood, administering medications, basic wound care, medical billing and coding, and patient education.

If you’re not happy in your current position or simply looking to train for a new career, why not enroll in a medical assistant program to prepare for a better future? The good news for medical assistant graduates is that jobs in the field are growing fast. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that employment of medical assistants is expected to increase 16 percent from 2021 to 2031. A quick review of online job postings for medical assistants represents an outlook even better than the one proposed by the BLS. There were a reported 332,496 job posting in 2019 – a 20 percent increase from 2017. What’s more is the report from employers who are keenly affected by an apparent shortage of capable medical assistants. Many are not finding MAs to fill vacant positions and have to depend on Certified Nursing Assistants, Administrative Assistants, and Nurses to get the job done.

Benefits of Becoming a Medical Assistant

Medical assistants are essential members of the healthcare team, and there’s a great demand for their services right now. The need is not expected to decline anytime soon. In fact, the growing health care needs of the aging population will likely drive demand for more health care services. What’s more, preparing for a job as a medical assistant is straightforward and short-term. A positive job growth and fast entry to the industry as just two of the many reasons you should consider medical assisting. Consider these and other reasons outlined below.

Work Diversity

Want a career where you can switch things up whenever you need to? Medical assisting opens the door to work in diverse health care settings. Practice is no longer limited to private practices. Hospitals, clinics, long-term care facilities, outpatient care centers are some of the places that enlist the services of medical assistants to improve efficiency in health care delivery. For even greater options, you should pursue national certification.

High Demand

There’s a rapid growth in employment for health care professionals and medical assistants are not excluded. The projected growth as published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics is much greater than the average for all professions and among the highest in the health care sector. Employers hire medical assistants to save money and improve the workflow of their practices while meeting rising demand for health care services.

Advancement opportunities

Medical assisting offers opportunities for growth. With further certifications, you can branch out into new areas and earn more. Some medical assistants choose to lean on one side of medical assistants – for instance, develop their administrative skills and become an administrative manager. You can use your training and experience as a medical assistant to enter nursing school and begin practice as a registered nurse.

Short-term Training

Formal training is not always required to become a medical assistant, but it is highly recommended. A certificate medical assistant program requires a minimum commitment of 6 months to train for practice and certification, and you can kick start your career and start earning. The associate degree program requires a longer time commitment and the outcome is essentially the same as graduates of a certificate program. So, if you’re strapped for time and money, medical assistant training will get you into a paying job in the shortest possible time.

Personal Fulfillment

Medical assisting is fulfilling both personally and professionally. It gives you an opportunity to meet the needs others and make a positive impact on their lives. Each day is a new call to service, soothing nerves, calming fears, explaining procedures, and giving a word of hope and encouragement to patients. It doesn’t stop there, your work alongside the physician, anticipating his or her needs also contributes greatly to the manner of health care delivery in the program.

Predictable Hours

Medical assistants have the convenience of working regular shifts – unlike other health care professionals who work round the clock. Private practices maintain normal working hours, so medical assistants who work there may have the traditional 9 to 5 shift. Even in hospitals, medical assistants are rarely required to work beyond traditional working hours. So, if you need a healthcare job with a regular daytime shift, medical assisting will help you maintain a healthy work-life balance.

Certified Versus Uncertified Medical Assistants

Certification is the gold standard for most industries. For medical assisting it is an indication of your competency and commitment to the profession. There’s no requirement for medical assistants to be certified in Oregon, but employers expect it and use it as a criterion for shortlisting potential candidates. Getting certified requires one additional step after you’ve graduated from a medical assistant program, and it makes all the difference in your career as an MA.

The two most recognized certifications for medical assistants are the Certified Medical Assistant credential offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) and The National Center for Competency Testing. You will be eligible for certification after you complete an accredited MA program and pass the certification exam. There are other options for certification – some of them accept experience as a medical assistant in lieu of accredited training.

In the hire of CMAs, employers get employees capable of managing delegated responsibilities from the first day. Small practices usually do not have the resources to train new staff. They need a professional and capable MA to come in the improve the workflow of the practice. Certified medical assistants can meet this need. So why should you get certified? What’s in it for you? Certification leads to faster employment, higher pay, and an expanded scope of practice. Getting certified now could save you from undue stress in the future if it becomes mandatory due to changing health care needs.

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 Oregon

Complete accredited training

A college degree is necessary for most professional roles in healthcare. Medical assisting is one of few roles where you can enroll in a community college or vocational school and complete a certificate or diploma program in 12 months or less. The shorter training doesn’t in any way reflect the quality of the educational preparation. Unlike degree programs, medical assistant training is career-focused and eliminates unnecessary electives and general education requirements that add bloat and extend a program.

Some might argue that you don’t need formal training, much less accredited training, to become a medical assistant. Gone are the days when private practices saw only a few patients daily and had the time to conduct on-the-job training. Today, physicians attend to as many patients as their schedule can allow to meet growing demands for health care services. Hiring practices have evolved; today’s employers want trained employees who can come in and get the job done. A medical assistant diploma and national certification open a lot of doors.

Accredited programs, such as those listed in active status on the ABHES (Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools) or CAAHEP (Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs) websites, offer a host of benefits for students and graduates. Students benefit from clinical experiences included in the program, convenient schedules, financial aid, and experienced faculty. Graduates are well prepared for a national certification exam and receive career counseling and job placement assistance.

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: Medical assistants are health care professionals who acquire their knowledge and skills through short-term allied health care training. A diploma or certificate program covers sufficient groundwork to get you started in the profession. Although there’s an increase in school’s offering an associate degree option for medical assistants, you don’t need a degree to get started or to succeed in the field.

Employer-centered curriculum: The curriculum should be laser targeted to address the skills and knowledge needed in program but also thorough as to not leave anything out. There’s no need to study the arts or classics; these will only extend the program and don’t in any way develop your medical assistant skills.

Experienced instructors: You’ll learn best from caring instructors who have real world experiences to cover the skills needed for success in the medical assistant profession. They should use multiple techniques to deliver the content to meet different learning styles. The instructor-to-student ratio should be such as to get the help you need throughout the program.

Flexible formats: There are numerous scheduling options for medical assistant training. From part-time mornings or evenings to weekend-only classes, hybrid delivery, and full-time schedules, you will find out to meet your needs. If you need support and interaction, so not enroll in a hybrid program which is designed for students who learn best going at their own pace and without the need for continuous interactions.

Hands-on experience: You’ll develop critical skills as you apply the theoretical concepts covered in the classroom. An experienced member of faculty will supervise the hands-on activities conducted in a simulated lab and at a health care facility off-site. The experience earned in the sessions will aid the transition from the classroom to the workplace.

Financially viable: Accredited programs are financial aid eligible. Also, programs offered at vocational schools may cost less than those at community colleges. Extended programs may cost more, so you might want to look at accelerated program options if you need to reduce costs.

Fringe benefits: Grants and scholarships for health care workers, job placement assistance, low student-to-instructor ratios, preparation for national certification, and related certification opportunities are some additional benefits to 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 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 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.

Oregon Medical Assistants FAQs

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

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

What duties are medical assistants allowed to perform?

The physician is responsible for ensuring that the medical assistant is qualified and competent to perform any delegated services. It is within the physician’s judgment to determine that the medical assistant’s education, training, and experience is sufficient to ensure competence in performing the service at the appropriate standard of care.

Some of the duties that may be delegated to a medical assistant are:

  • Measurement of vital signs
  • Performing electrocardiography
  • Performing venipuncture
  • Performing pulmonary function testing
  • Calculating proper dosages of medication for administration
  • Administering oral and parenteral (excluding IV) medications
  • Obtain specimens and performing CLIA-waived tests
  • Performing wound care
  • Performing dressing changes

Some of the duties medical assistants may not perform.

  • Medical assistants must not be assigned (and must not perform) any task for which they are not sufficiently knowledgeable and competent.
  • They may not perform tasks that require the exercise of independent clinical judgment or the making of clinical assessments, evaluations, or interpretations.
  • They may not perform tasks that are restricted in state law to other health professionals
  • They may not perform the verbatim-conveying, and verbatim-receiving and documenting of information for the delegating provider
  • They may perform patient education as long as the content is approved by the delegating provider and does not require the exercise of clinical judgment

Contact the Oregon Society of Medical Assistants


CAAHEP & ABHES Accredited Medical Assisting Programs Oregon

Albany, OR Medical Assisting Programs:
Linn-Benton Community College
6500 Pacific Blvd. SW
Albany, Oregon 97321

Bend, OR Medical Assisting Programs:
Central Oregon Community College
2600 N.W. College Way
Bend, Oregon 97703

Eugene, OR Medical Assisting Programs:
Lane Community College
4000 E. 30th Avenue
Eugene, OR 97405
(541) 463-5678

Grants Pass, OR Medical Assisting Programs:
Rogue Community College
3345 Redwood Hwy.
Grants Pass, OR 97527

Gresham, OR Medical Assisting Programs:
Mount Hood Community College
26000 SE Stark Street
Gresham, Oregon 97030

Klamath Falls, OR Medical Assisting Programs:
Klamath Community College
7390 South 6th Street
Klamath Falls, OR 97603

Milwaukie, OR Medical Assisting Programs:
Clackamas Community College
7738 SE Harmony Road
Milwaukie, OR 97222

Portland, OR Medical Assisting Programs:
Portland Community College
705 N. Killingsworth St.
Portland, OR 97217

Concorde Career College
1425 NE Irving St.
Portland, Oregon 97232
(971) 229-4551

Roseburg, OR Medical Assisting Programs:
Umpqua Community College
1140 Umpqua College Rd.
Roseburg, OR 97470

Salem, OR Medical Assisting Programs:
Chemeketa Community College
4000 Lancaster Drive NE
Salem, Oregon 97305

South Beach, OR Medical Assisting Programs:
Oregon Coast Community College
400 SE College Way,
South Beach, OR 97366