Is a Medical Assistant License Required?

A career as a medical assistant is rewarding and it is one of the fastest growing fields in healthcare, with job opportunities expected to grow 16% by 2031.

What is required to work as a medical assistant? Is a medical assistant license or certification required?

Currently, no states besides Washington require medical assistants to be licensed. Furthermore, only Washington requires medical assistants to have a certification and New Jersey and South Dakota require them to be certified to perform injections.

This guide goes over medical assistant license and certification requirements, as well as what certifications are available.

>> Learn about Stepful's 4-month online medical assistant training program

Is a Medical Assistant License Required? State-by-State Breakdown

As mentioned in the intro, only Washington requires medical assistants to hold a license and certification. No other states require medical assistants to be licensed.

Here is a state-by-state breakdown of medical assistant license and certification requirements:

  • Alabama: Alabama has no medical assistant license or certification requirements.
  • Alaska: Alaska has no medical assistant license or certification requirements to work as a medical assistant.
  • Arizona: Arizona has no medical assistant license or certification requirements.
  • Arkansas: Arkansas has no medical assistant license or certification requirements.
  • California: California has no medical assistant license or certification requirements.
  • Colorado: Colorado has no medical assistant license or certification requirements.
  • Connecticut: Connecticut has no medical assistant license or certification requirements.
  • Delaware: Delaware has no medical assistant license or certification requirements.
  • Florida: Florida has no medical assistant license or certification requirements.
  • Georgia: Georgia has no medical assistant license or certification requirements.
  • Hawaii: Hawaii has no medical assistant license or certification requirements.
  • Idaho: Idaho has no medical assistant license or certification requirements.
  • Illinois: Illinois has no medical assistant license or certification requirements.
  • Indiana: Indiana has no medical assistant license or certification requirements.
  • Iowa: Iowa has no medical assistant license or certification requirements.
  • Kansas: Kansas has no medical assistant license or certification requirements.
  • Kentucky: Kentucky has no medical assistant license or certification requirements.
  • Louisiana: Louisiana has no medical assistant license or certification requirements.
  • Maine: Maine has no medical assistant license or certification requirements.
  • Maryland: Maryland has no medical assistant license or certification requirements.
  • Massachusetts: Massachusetts has no medical assistant license or certification requirements.
  • Michigan: Michigan has no medical assistant license or certification requirements.
  • Minnesota: Minnesota has no medical assistant license or certification requirements.
  • Mississippi: Mississippi has no medical assistant license or certification requirements.
  • Missouri: Missouri has no medical assistant license or certification requirements.
  • Montana: Montana has no medical assistant license or certification requirements.
  • Nebraska: Nebraska has no medical assistant license or certification requirements.
  • Nevada: Nevada has no medical assistant license or certification requirements.
  • New Hampshire: New Hampshire has no medical assistant license or certification requirements.
  • New Jersey: New Jersey has no medical assistant license or certification requirements, however, only certified medical assistants can perform injections on patients.
  • New Mexico: New Mexico has no medical assistant license or certification requirements.
  • New York: New York has no medical assistant license or certification requirements.
  • North Carolina: North Carolina has no medical assistant license or certification requirements.
  • North Dakota: North Dakota has no medical assistant license or certification requirements. However, only certified medical assistants can perform injections on patients.
  • Ohio: Ohio has no medical assistant license or certification requirements.
  • Oklahoma: Oklahoma has no medical assistant license or certification requirements.
  • Oregon: Oregon has no medical assistant license or certification requirements.
  • Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania has no medical assistant license or certification requirements.
  • Rhode Island: Rhode Island has no medical assistant license or certification requirements.
  • South Carolina: South Carolina has no medical assistant license or certification requirements.
  • South Dakota: In order to work as a medical assistant in South Dakota, you will need to register with the South Dakota Board of Medical and Osteopathic Examiners. The state does not require you to be certified or licensed.
  • Tennessee: Tennessee has no medical assistant license or certification requirements.
  • Texas: Texas has no medical assistant license or certification requirements.
  • Utah: Utah has no medical assistant license or certification requirements.
  • Vermont: Vermont has no medical assistant license or certification requirements.
  • Virginia: Virginia has no medical assistant license or certification requirements.
  • Washington: In Washington, you will need a certification to work as a medical assistant. In addition, you will need to apply for a license with the Washington State Department of Health.
  • West Virginia: West Virginia has no medical assistant license or certification requirements.
  • Wisconsin: Wisconsin has no medical assistant license or certification requirements.
  • Wyoming: Wyoming has no medical assistant license or certification requirements.

Medical Assistant Certifications

While not many states and healthcare facilities require medical assistants to be licensed or certified, having a certification can help you get a job and potentially earn a higher salary.

Here is a quick breakdown of the medical assistant certifications available:

Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA)

  • Offered by: National Healthcareer Association
  • Eligibility: To be eligible to take the CCMA exam, you must do one of the following: (1) Have a high school diploma or GED, (2) Complete college or a medical assistant training program, (3) Have one year of medical assisting experience.
  • Exam: The time limit for the exam is 3 hours. It consists of 150 scored and 30 unscored multiple-choice questions (4 answer choices each). Topics covered include clinical patient care (56%), foundational knowledge and basic science (10%), patient care coordination and education (10%), administrative assisting (8%), communication and customer service (8%), anatomy and physiology (5%), and medical law and ethics (5%).
  • Certification Duration: The CCMA certification must be renewed every two years.
  • Cost: The CCMA exam costs $155. You can attempt the test three times per year, and have to wait 30 days between each attempt.
  • Learn more in our full CCMA guide

Registered Medical Assistant (RMA)

  • Offered by: American Medical Technologists
  • Eligibility: You can qualify for the RMA exam a few ways: (1) Graduate from an accredited medical assisting program, (2) Graduate from a US Armed Forces medical assisting program, (3)Work as a medical assistant for five years, (4) Work as a medical assistant instructor for five years AND have previously completed a course in a healthcare discipline.
  • Exam: The RMA exam consists of 210 multiple choice sections. Topics covered include general medical assistant knowledge, administrative medical assisting, and clinical medical assisting.
  • Certification Duration: The RMA certification is good for three years. It can be maintained by completing continuing education courses.
  • Cost: The RMA exam costs $120. If you need to re-take the RMA exam, you must wait 45 days to try again and submit an examination retake form.
  • Learn more in our full RMA guide

Certified Medical Assistant (CMA)

  • Offered by: American Association of Medical Assistants
  • Eligibility: To be eligible to take the CMA exam, you must graduate from a medical assistant program that is accredited by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools. Most of these programs are about 6 months long.
  • Exam: The CMA exam consists of 200 multiple choice questions which you have 160 minutes to complete, broken out into four, 40-minute sections. The questions cover healthcare information management, safety, infection control, healthcare delivery, and more.
  • Certification Duration: If you pass, your CMA certification is valid for 60 months from exam date. You must complete continuing education to maintain your certification.
  • Cost: The CMA exam costs $125 to take. You are allowed three attempts to pass before you must repeat your medical assistant course.

Other Medical Assistant Resources

Here are some of our other medical assistant resources that can help you in your journey to becoming a medical assistant:

>> Learn about Stepful's 4-month online medical assistant training program

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