Utah Medical Assistant Requirements and Approved CMA Programs

Medical assistants are in high demand in physicians’ offices, hospitals, and clinics. The aging baby boomer population increase demand for health care services, especially the services of licensed physicians. Physicians, in turn, need the support of medical assistants to keep up with the demand for medical services. This demand leads to more job opportunities for medical assistants. Approximately 123,000 openings for medical assistants are projected each year, over the next decade, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In addition to new openings, employers will need medical assistants to replace workers who exit the labor force.

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Medical assistants are crossed-trained to manage a broad range of duties and they’re able to work in various specialties. They are skilled multitaskers, scheduling appointments, ordering office and medical supplies, escorting patients to the exam rooms, drawing blood, answering patient questions, prepping patients for exams, collecting specimens, and assisting with medical procedures – all on the same day. These are just a few of the tasks that medical assistants perform. A new medical assistant graduate is well prepared to take on these duties and adapt easily to any medical environment. A well-seasoned medical assistant is even more of an asset to the both the practice and patients.

What Does a Medical Assistant Do?

In private practices and hospitals, medical assistants are always busy. They perform a wide range of administrative and clinical tasks to take the burden off physicians and nurses. They are critical to the smooth and efficient operation of the health care facility and the satisfaction of every patient.

A medical assistant hits the ground running from the very start of the day, checking appointment schedules and coordinating with medical providers, prepping exam rooms and stocking supplies, cleaning each room before and after each examination, and performing any administrative tasks in between appointments. The job requires excellent time management and organizational skills. Downtime is limited, so if you are considering this profession be prepared to manage a constant stream of activities and stand on your feet for long hours.

Medical assistants’ duties are distinguishable from that of a nursing assistant and physician’s assistant in part by the administrative duties they perform. They manage the day-to-day operations of medical clinics and physicians’ offices to such an extreme that there are positions that solely require administrative, front-office tasks. Some of these are listed below.

Answering Telephones

The simple task of answering the phone is apparently not so simple. Medical assistants are trained to communicate clearly with patients to gather information from the call and schedule an appointment with the appropriate provider. They may also receive calls from vendors and other providers, so maintaining professionalism at all times is vital to the sustainability of the practice.

Greeting Patients

New patients may form an impression of the practice by the way they are greeted. Medical assistants, being the first point of contact, must create a safe and welcoming environment to put patients at ease before a medical exam or treatment.

Scheduling Appointments
Scheduling and management of the flow of patients is critical to the success of a medical facility. Medical assistants must use the established appointment system to maintain an efficient flow. A smaller practice may well use a manual system while larger facilities depend on a computerized system where all attending physicians can review their appointments at any given time.

Updating Medical Records

Keeping patients’ records up-to-date is another important task that medical assistants manage. The records are essential for the delivery of timely and appropriate care. The records may be filed in-house or at a storage facility, which will require MAs to request the records before a scheduled appointment.

Coding and Filling Out Insurance Forms

Billing is one of the primary administrative duties that medical assistants perform, especially if the practice wants to get paid for services rendered. A larger practice may utilize the services of a medical billing and coding specialist or may rely on a medical assistant to get the job done. The MA will submit medical codes for healthcare reimbursements and insurance payments.

Medical assistants also function as critical members of the practice’s clinical staff. They perform a range of back-office duties, which depend on the size and type of practice.

Collecting and Preparing Laboratory Specimens

Depending on their experience, medical assistants may be tasked with collecting samples for testing, including blood samples, urine samples, throat swabs, and tissue samples. They may send the samples to a lab for testing or perform basic tests on-site and submit the results to medical staff.

Assisting with Medical Exams

A physician performs a general examination to determine patients’ health and make a diagnosis. Medical assistants assist physicians by prepping patients for the exam, answering any patient questions, cleaning the exam room, layout out supplies, sterilizing equipment, and documenting vital signs.

Administering Medications

Medical assistants may administer medications with some limits. It must be conducted under the supervision of the physician and within the training of the medical assistants. Medical assistants are not permitted to administer medications intravenously.

Certified Versus Uncertified Medical Assistants

Medical assisting is unlike other health care jobs in that you do not need to be licensed, registered, or certified for entry. This is why the profession is so attractive to those who are seeking health care jobs. Although certification is not required, there are benefits if you do. Most health care employers prefer medical assistants who have been certified by a recognized certifying organization as it demonstrates a commitment to the profession and an ability to fulfil the duties assigned. Certified medical assistants receive higher wages than those who are not certified – this according to the American Association of Medical Assistants. Moreover, employers are hiring CMAs to reduce the pressure of potential malpractice suits and certification mandates placed on them by managed care organizations.

Only certified medical assistants are selected for teaching positions. So if you’re considering a teaching position or other career advancement opportunity, you had better be certified. While there’s a current shortage of medical assistants, which bodes well for all MA graduates, the future outlook is geared towards those who have completed formal training and obtained certification.

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 Utah

Complete accredited training

If you’re looking for a rewarding career in health care that won’t result in a mountain of debt or take years to complete, medical assisting may be what you need. Medical assistant programs provide accelerated training in the administrative and clinical skills needed to enter the fast-paced health care sector. Certificate and diploma programs take approximately 8 months to complete, and you’ll graduate with the credential to work as a medical assistant in the workplace of your choice.

Your first step should be to enroll in an accredited post-secondary medical assistant program to obtain the skills needed to become a productive and valuable member of the health care support team. The program may be delivered in a traditional on-campus format or in a hybrid format with some online classes. You’ll learn anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, pharmacology and medication administration, laboratory procedures, phlebotomy, medical billing and coding, medical office administration, and customer service.

Obtaining your certification is a simple step after graduation. You will need to pass an exam administered by the certifying organization and undergo a criminal background check.

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 assistant programs should be short-term to facilitate a quick entry into the health care industry. They do not need to be length as nursing programs. A certificate or diploma program may be completed in as little as 8 months in Utah. While the associate degree is not necessary for employment as a medical assistant, you might consider it if you plan to continue your studies to prepare for another career in health.

Employer-centered curriculum: The medical assistant curriculum should emphasize the technical and soft skills needed to shine in your role. It should cover topics such as billing and coding, medical applications and tools, basic clinical instruments, customer service, communication, and office administration.

Experienced instructors: Instructors who are certified (if medical assistants) or with years of experience in the health care industry are exceptional when it comes to passing on valuable insights. They should be patient, willing to work on-on-one to explain the material, and committed to your success in the profession.

Flexible formats: The medical assistant program may be delivered on campus for persons who prefer traditional classes. A hybrid medical assistant program provides the benefit of completing a portion of the coursework online. Full-time, part-time, and weekend only schedules may be available to suit your need.

Hands-on experience: The medical assistant curriculum should feature hands-on experience via an externship in a real-life clinical setting. The externship may be scheduled towards the end of the program so you can put the skills gained into practice and to gain real-world experience before entering the workplace. These experiences give students the opportunity to view up-close and personal the day-to-day operations of a medical practice from a medical assistant’s point of view.

Financially viable: Your budget has a major determination in your choice of program. But don’t let first impressions get you down. Financial aid, scholarship opportunities, tuition reimbursement, and transfer credits may reduce the cost of training. Also ask about flexible payment plans and financing opportunities.

Fringe benefits: What benefits are included in the program cost? Does it include preparation for related certification such as phlebotomy, EKG, or CPR? Does not school provide opportunities to network with potential employers or offer career services and job placement? Are books included in the cost? Ask about any potential resources that will help you to choose one program over the next.

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.

Utah Medical Assistants FAQs

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

Medical assistants are not required to be licensed or certified by the State of Utah. There are no special privileges for nationally certified medical assistants under Utah law.

What duties are medical assistants allowed to perform?

The physician may delegate a reasonable range of duties to medical assistants as long as they’re properly trained.  A physician, nurse, or other health care professional must supervise the medical assistant in the performance of the delegated tasks. Following are some of the duties that may be performed by a medical assistant:

  • Measure vitals
  • Wound care
  • Change dressings
  • Update patient records
  • Administer medications
  • Collect blood samples

Utah’s medical assistants must not:

  • Perform surgical procedures
  • Prescribe medication
  • Administer anaesthesia

Contact the Utah Society of Medical Assistants

Website: https://ussma18.wixsite.com/website

Email: ussma18@gmail.com

Phone: 801-773-4840 Ext. 4990

CAAHEP & ABHES Accredited Medical Assisting Programs Utah

Ephraim, UT Medical Assistant Programs:
Snow College
150 College Ave.
Ephraim, Utah 84627

Kaysville, UT Medical Assistant Programs:
Davis Catalyst Center
1265 Sportsplex Dr.
Kaysville, UT 84037

Lehi, UT Medical Assistant Programs:
Mountainland Technical College
2301 West Ashton Blvd
Lehi, UT 84043

Logan, UT Medical Assistant Programs:
Utah State University
Old Main Hill,
Logan, UT 84322
(435) 797-1000

Bridgerland Technical College
1301 North 600 West
Logan, UT 84321

Murray, UT Medical Assistant Programs:
Eagle Gate College
5588 South Green Street
Murray, Utah 84123
(888) 618-9336

Ogden, UT Medical Assistant Programs:
Ogden-Weber Technical College
200 N Washington Blvd
Ogden, UT 84404

Price, UT Medical Assistant Programs:
Utah State University Eastern
451 East 400 North
Price, UT 84501
(435) 613-5000

Salt Lake City, UT Medical Assistant Programs:
University of Utah
540 Arapeen Dr.
Salt Lake City, UT 84108

Salt Lake Community College
4600 South Redwood Road
Salt Lake City, UT 84123

Fortis College
3949 South 700 East, Suite 150
Salt Lake City, UT 84107
(801) 713-0915

Ensign College
95 N. 300 W.
Salt Lake City, UT 84101

Sandy, UT Medical Assistant Programs:
Charter College
9485 South 700 East
Sandy, UT 84070
(801) 438-1900

St George, UT Medical Assistant Programs:
Dixie Technical College
610 S Tech Ridge Dr
St. George, UT 84770
(435) 674-8400

Utah Tech University
225 South University Avenue
St. George, UT 84770

West Jordan, UT Medical Assistant Programs:
JATC North
9301 South Wights Fort Road
West Jordan, UT 84088
(801) 256-5900