Wisconsin Medical Assistant Requirements and Approved CMA Programs

Medical assistants cannot provide the extensive service of doctors and nurses, but their contributions to the healthcare team are just as valuable. They are cross-trained to manage front office duties such as scheduling appointments, greeting patients, ordering supplies, and billing in addition to clinical tasks. With such a wide scope of responsibilities, formal training is critical. While some employers may train medical assistants on the job, formal training before employment is generally preferred.

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Medical assistants held about 743,500 jobs in 2021. The majority (60 percent) worked on physicians’ offices, 18 percent worked in general medical and surgical hospitals, and another 10 percent worked with other health care practitioners such as chiropractors and podiatrists. Smaller percentages of MAs worked in outpatient care centers, public and private educational facilities, diagnostic labs, and ambulatory health care services. Employment of medical assistants is expected to grow 16 percent from 2021 to 2031, much faster than the average for all occupations. The projected growth is attributed to technological advances in medicine and the growth of the senior population, which directly increase the utilization of medical assistants in some sectors.

What Does a Medical Assistant Do?

Medical assistant wages vary depending on experience, geographical location, skills, and type of facility. The median annual income for medical assistants was $37,190 in May 2021 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $29,070 and the highest 10 percent earned more than $48,170. Medical assistants working in outpatient care centers were the top earned with an annual wage of $38,270. Medical assistants in states such as California earned more than other states. Although the salary is diverse, medical assisting still offers stability and financial security in today’s ever-changing economy. If your desire is to help people and make a difference in their lives, working as a medical assistant will be most rewarding. Here’s a basic outline of the tasks you’ll perform as a medical assistant.

Greet Patients

Patients’ communication with front office sets the tone for the visit. A quick review of online reviews will demonstrate how much value is attached to that first greeting. Both negative and positive reviews online highlight interaction with front office staff. In a busy front office, medical assistants provide that human touch and quality service that lets patients know they’re appreciated.

Record Vital Signs

Vital signs measurements provide critical information that physicians use to make a diagnosis and determine a course of treatment. The most common vitals that a medical assistant will check are body temperature, blood pressure, heart rate, height and weight, and respiration. The readings must be accurate to give physicians a better insight into the patient’s problem. Improper readings can result in misdiagnosis and incorrect treatment.

Update Patient Records  

Medical records are a vital part of health care delivery. They detail the patient’s history of treatment, progress, immunizations, allergies, communications with the facility, lab results, x-rays, printout from monitoring equipment, and more. Medical assistants are tasked with the responsibility of maintaining the integrity of patients’ records to ensure that patients’ needs are met and to reduce the risks of medical errors. Whether they are kept manually in filing system onsite or offsite or electronically, the medical assistant will ensure they are updated, in chronological order, and comprehensive allowing for other health care providers to continue care.

Prep Patients for Examinations

Medical assistants direct patients to the examination room, set up equipment for the physician, ensure that there’s adequate supplies, and give the patient some information on what will take place. They will also maintain the cleanliness of the room and make sure lighting and temperature are what they must be to ensure comfort. But a medical assistants’ duty does not stop there. Patients are mentally and emotionally fragile as they are physically and they need to sympathy and comfort of health care professionals. Medical assistants must be aware of patients’ apprehension and inject that element to empathy to smooth the process.

Assisting with Medical Procedures

Health care providers, including physicians, physicians’ assistants, nurses, and nurse practitioners, depend on medical assistants to assist with medical procedures and treatments. In a busy practice, having a medical assistant on hand could reduce the time needed to attend to each patient. The medical assistant’s scope of practice and training could limit their participation in some procedures, but there’s still a broad range of activities they can perform the ensure the smooth operation of the practice and ensure each patient is attended to in a timely manner. Some common duties they assist with include wound care, newborn screening, gynecologic exams, phlebotomy, electrocardiograms, incision and drainage. Medical assistants may also brief the patient on the procedure that will be performed.

Prepare and Administer Medications

Medical assistants can give patients medications as long as they have been approved by a physician. In some states, the medication must be administered under the supervision of the physician or nurse practitioner, and should never be administered if the supervising health care professional is offsite.

Perform Administrative Duties

Medical assistants perform many administrative duties. They answer the telephone, fill out insurance forms, manage correspondence, schedule appointments, file records, arrange for lab services, handle billing and booking, and order medical and office supplies. Proper management of these tasks require commitment and professionalism, especially when dealing with patients and other health care providers.

Certified Versus Uncertified Medical Assistants

In the complex world of health care, certified medical assistants stand out. A certified medical assistant is one who has been certified by a reputable, third-party organization, such as the American Association of Medical Assistants – the largest certifying body for medical assistants. CMAs are capable of managing a multitude of administrative and clinical tasks and are preferred by physicians seeking staff who will boost the practice’s productivity.

As a medical assistant, you can demonstrate your commitment to professionalism by becoming certified. The credential is awarded to candidates who have completed an accredited medical assistant program and successfully completed a certification exam administered by the certifying organization. The credential issued demonstrates your ability to practice safely and professionally.

Certified medical assistants earn the respect and recognition from peers. Employers also place value on the credential, paying top dollar to MAs who take the time to pursue certification. Medical assistants who are certified also have greater options for career advancement and job stability. Their services are always in demand as they are capable of performing a wider range of duties that medical assistants who are not certified. Certified medical assistants have the best opportunities to specialize and work in specialty practices.

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 Wisconsin

Complete accredited training

Employers prefer medical assistants who have completed a formal medical assistant program. Certification also requires completion of an accredited medical assistant program. Programs are offered at vocational schools, community colleges, high schools, postsecondary vocational schools, and universities. They typically last for one year and leads to a certificate or diploma in medical assisting. There are several two-year programs in Wisconsin that leads to an associate degree.

Formal training is not always required, but is generally preferred since health care facilities do not always have the resources to train on the job. To qualify for admission, you should have a high school diploma or equivalent, meet the minimum age requirements, and pass a background check and drug screen. If a health care career in your goal, you should take recommended high school courses such as biology, mathematics, medical terminology, and chemistry. Volunteer experience in health care is recommended but not essential.

Always choose an accredited program, especially if you plan to pursue certification. The two agencies that accredit medical assistant programs are the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and the Accredited Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES).

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

Duration of the medical assistant program: Medical assistants do not need the extensive educational preparation required by registered nurses, physicians, and some other health care professionals. In just 12 months, a medical assistant program will cover all the fundamentals required for effective practice. Part-time schedules may be slightly longer than 12 months. Programs that lead to an associate degree in medical assistant can take up to 24 months.

Employer-centered curriculum: Medical assisting is a skilled trade, so the curriculum will focus solely on the special skills required to perform the administrative and clinical duties of the profession. Graduates will demonstrate a theoretical understanding and the practical skills to transition seamlessly into the workplace.

Experienced instructors: The instructor should be knowledgeable about workplace procedures and should have some experience in the field, either as a medical assistant, physician assistant, or physician. It is always best to learn from one who can share valuable insights that are not typically covered in the curriculum.

Flexible formats: Full-time and part-time schedules. Evening, day, or weekend classes. Traditional, online, or hybrid options. There are some formats that are available to meet diverse needs. Search out a program that will give you the flexibility to prepare for a new career while balancing work or family commitments.

Hands-on experience: Hands-on practice reinforces the theory covered in the classroom and prepares students to transition into the workplace.

Financially viable: Medical assistants graduate with little to no debt due to the affordability of the short-term training. Tuition covers only the courses required for success in the field. If your budget is limited, you may want to stick to a certificate or diploma program. Financial aid is available for accredited medical assistant program.

Fringe benefits: Training providers include incentives to set their program apart from others. Today, students may benefit from job placement assistant, free books and resources, vouchers for the certification exam and more.

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.

Wisconsin Medical Assistants FAQs

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

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

What duties are medical assistants allowed to perform?

Medical assistants may be delegated, and may perform, only those tasks for which they are knowledgeable and competent.

Medical assistants in Wisconsin may be delegated, and may perform, those tasks that are included in the Core Curriculum of the CAAHEP Standards for the Accreditation of Educational Programs in Medical Assisting. The following are the tasks that students must demonstrate proficiency in to graduate from a CAAHEP-accredited medical assisting program:

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

Under common law principles, it is not legally permissible for medical assistants to be delegated, and to perform, any task that requires the exercise of independent clinical judgment or the making of clinical assessments, evaluations, or interpretations.

It is not legally permissible for medical assistants to be delegated, and to perform, any task reserved exclusively in Wisconsin law to other health professionals—often licensed health professionals.

Contact the Wisconsin Society of Medical Assistants

Email: wsma.net@gmail.com

CAAHEP & ABHES Accredited Medical Assisting Programs Wisconsin

Appleton, WI Medical Assistant Programs:
Rasmussen College
3500 E. Destination Drive
Appleton, WI 54915
(920) 750-5975

Brookfield, WI Medical Assistant Programs:
Anthem College
440 S. Executive Drive, Suite 200
Brookfield, WI 53005
(262) 641-9944

Cleveland, WI Medical Assistant Programs:
Lakeshore Technical College
1290 North Avenue
Cleveland, WI 53015
(920) 693-1000

Janesville, WI Medical Assistant Programs:
Blackhawk Technical College
PO Box 5009
6004 Prairie Road
Janesville, WI 53547-5009
(608) 758-6900

Eau Claire, WI Medical Assistant Programs:
Chippewa Valley Technical College
620 West Clairemont Avenue
Eau Claire, WI 54701-6162
(715) 833-6398

Elkhorn, WI Medical Assistant Programs:
Gateway Technical College
400 County Road H
Elkhorn, WI 53121-2035
(262) 741-8200

Eau Claire, WI Medical Assistant Programs:
Globe University
4955 Bullis Farm Road
Eau Claire, WI 54701
(715) 855-6600

Fennimore, WI Medical Assistant Programs:
Southwest Wisconsin Technical College
1800 Bronson Boulevard
Fennimore, WI 53809
(608) 822-2665

Fond du Lac, WI Medical Assistant Programs:
Moraine Park Technical College
235 N National Avenue
Fond du Lac, WI 54935-2897
(920) 924-3354

Grand Chute, WI Medical Assistant Programs:
Globe University – Appleton – MA
5045 W. Grande Market Drive
Grand Chute, WI 54913
(920) 364-1122

Green Bay, WI Medical Assistant Programs:
Northeast Wisconsin Technical College
2740 W Mason Street
PO Box 19042
Green Bay, WI 54303-4966
(920) 498-5523

Rasmussen College
904 South Taylor
Suite 100
Green Bay, WI 54302-2349
(920) 593-8400

Globe University
2620 Development Drive
Green Bay, WI 54311
(920) 264-1600

Hayward, WI Medical Assistant Programs:
Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Community College
13466 W Trepania Road
Hayward, WI 54843-2181
(715) 634-4790 x 172

La Crosse, WI Medical Assistant Programs:
Western Technical College – La Crosse, WI
400 7th Street North
PO Box C-908
La Crosse, WI 54602
(608) 789-6175

Madison, WI Medical Assistant Programs:
Madison Area Technical College
3550 Anderson Street
Madison, WI 53791
(608) 246-6110

Globe University
4901 Eastpark Boulevard
Madison, WI 53718
(608) 216-9400

Herzing University – Madison – MA
5218 East Terrace Drive
Madison, WI 53718
(800) 582-1227

Marshfield, WI Medical Assistant Programs:
Mid-State Technical College
2600 W 5th Street
Marshfield, WI 54449-3299
(715) 389-7000

Middleton, WI Medical Assistant Programs:
Globe University
1345 Deming Way
Middleton, WI 53562
(608) 830-6900

Milwaukee, WI Medical Assistant Programs:
Milwaukee Area Technical College
700 W State Street
Milwaukee, WI 53233-1443
(414) 297-6934

Bryant & Stratton College
310 West Wisconsin Avenue
Suite 500 East
Milwaukee, WI 53203-2213
(414) 276-5200

Milwaukee Career College
3077 North Mayfair Road, Suite 300
Milwaukee, WI 53222
(414) 257-2939

Herzing University
525 North 6th Street
Milwaukee, WI 53203
(866) 508-0748

New Richmond, WI Medical Assistant Programs:
Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College
1019 S Knowles Avenue
New Richmond, WI 54017-1738
(715) 246-6561

Oshkosh, WI Medical Assistant Programs:
Fox Valley Technical College
150 North Campbell Road
PO Box 2217
Oshkosh, WI 54902-3480
(920) 735-5774

Pewaukee, WI Medical Assistant Programs:
Waukesha County Technical College
800 Main Street
Pewaukee, WI 53072-4601
(262) 691-5397

Racine, WI Medical Assistant Programs:
Gateway Technical College-Racine – Kenosha, WI
1001 Main Street
Racine, WI 53403-1582
(262) 331-4653

Rhinelander, WI Medical Assistant Programs:
Nicolet Area Technical College
PO Box 518
Rhinelander, WI 54501
(715) 365-4539

Rothschild, WI Medical Assistant Programs:
Globe University
1480 County Road XX
Rothschild, WI 54474
(715) 301-1300

Superior, WI Medical Assistant Programs:
Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College
600 N 21st Street
Superior, WI 54880-5207
(715) 394-6677

Wausau, WI Medical Assistant Programs:
Rasmussen College
1101 Westwood Drive
Wausau, WI 54401
(715) 841-8072

Northcentral Technical College
1000 W Campus Drive
Wausau, WI 54401
(715) 675-3331

West Milwaukee, WI Medical Assistant Programs:
Concordia University Wisconsin
1670 Miller Park Way
West Milwaukee, WI 53214
(414) 649-0795