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How to become a Certified Medical Assistant

Tb to 9th grade in the Health Academy

Last summer I worked at an ENT office back in Deltona, FL. I always wanted to become a medical assistant but I didn't want to spend thousands of dollars on a class. I had heard of a medical assistant class in Tallahassee, FL that at the time only cost 1,500, but I decided I would try to do it on my own and save some money. Now, to become a certified MA without a class you would have to be hired as a MA first. I found a job through and quickly learned about the tasks that I would have to do. These tasks mostly included taking vitals, prepping patients to see the doctors or PAs, and obtaining consent for surgeries or procedures.


The Steps

  1. Find a job as a MA

  2. Sign up through NHAnow.Com when you look through the education tab you will see Certified Clinical Medical Administrative NHANow is one of the national services where you can become certified.

  3. After you register with NHAnow buy their practice tests and the exam you have one year after purchase to take the test!

  4. Utilize Quizlet, Youtube videos, and/or Anki to practice for the exam

  5. Take the Exam and reap your reward for all of your hard work!


-Let the supervisor, manager, provider know that you plan on becoming certified in the next three months or so.

-Check out local providers that are not working with big companies

-Sometimes hospitals will hire uncertified MAs however it is not likely still try though!

-Utilize the practice tests they are very helpful; make sure you review the questions you get right and wrong

-Personally I made an Anki deck based on the Reddit post that I attached below 100% recommend

Links that may help you


I LOVE THE REDDIT POST BELOW it helped so much!

In case it gets deleted I'm copying it below:

I passed my NHA CCMA exam with a 459/500 (92%)! I created a second guide for passing and recorded the materials I used to study.

1st Guide for passing NHA CCMA

<Just a disclaimer that I’m not giving the specifics of what was on my test because that would get me in trouble, just all the material you should know and feel comfortable. I am not giving away answers in any shape or form>

2nd Guide for passing NHA CCMA

I used the above reddit post to cover all of my bases and then took all three NHA practice tests. On my first practice test I was below passing before I started studying (60% or so). So if I can do it, than so can you! I also did all of the practice questions in the back of the NHA study guide 2.0. For every question I answered on the practice tests, I made sure I was familiar with ALL of the other choices as well. I took a month to study the material every day until I felt more confident in the material. For reference, my class (US career institute) went into detail about things that we weren’t going to be tested on so when I found the study guide, it felt like I had to start over from scratch. This is what many people are reporting as well from other academic institutes. Some questions consisted of things I had never seen before. I had to use a lot of guesswork for those questions. They really try to trip you up with things that aren’t on the study guide. In addition the administrative questions can be really asinine because you have to learn terminology of someone who does billing. I did one year as a medical receptionist so this stuff should have come easy! In a real world situation, there’s a clearing house for checking over codes so its not the primary responsibility of an MA to audit (*eye roll*).

The test has a 63% pass rate and they put questions that even the best and brightest won’t know, material which is uncovered in the study guide. In my opinion this isn’t fair because you should have access to 100% of the material before being tested. That is why you must study hard. But this is why I’m here to show you how to pass! I counted the number of questions on the test I felt uncertain about, even knowing all the material and it was about 15% of uncertain questions. Emphasis on really knowing your material because you have about 15% of questions that you know you will struggle with no matter how much you study. In my opinion I got lucky and answered a few of those questions right because the highest I would have been able to score would be a 85% (so I guessed right on 7% of questions that I was uncertain about using process of elimination). The last 85% of questions I felt like were pretty obvious in the sense that even if you didn’t know what the right term was, the other three answers were so obviously wrong (as long as you knew the material inside and out). To pass you need a 78% or so. That means getting between 78% and 85% is critical. So because this test was such a pain the arse, I made a detailed guide with more helpful resources that I used to succeed. There were a lot of outdated, unhelpful quizlets with the wrong info so I linked the ones I made and two of the most useful.

  1. PPE

  2. Lab Values

  3. Vitals

  4. Drug Schedules

  5. Procedures

  6. Phlebotomy

  7. Pharmacology

  8. Microbiology

  9. Diseases

  10. calculate EKG

  11. letters

· Take the NHA practice tests. There are 3 versions (A, B, C)

· Buy NHA study guide 2.0 and read throughout and highlight so that you can go back and read over important parts quickly. Do all the quizzes in the back and highlight everything you get wrong.

· Be able to describe each procedure from start to finish as if you’ve done it yourself. Watch videos for all of them, all CLIA-waived tests, all ways of taking blood, capillary, venipuncture, injections, allergy tests, and each way for each age group.

· Forget about the numerical values you learned from your textbook, memorize the values in the NHA study guide and on my quizlets

· Know vitamins and minerals, what food you would get them from and their purpose (spend time sparingly on this because it will only be one or two questions). Ex: Would you get more fiber from fruit or cereal? What mineral/vitamin/diet would you recommend for someone who has xyz disease?

· Know your medications- what each medication is for, what type of medication it is and what general symptoms you’d expect (one or two questions)

· What kind of doctor sees xyz disease

· What pathogen causes a disease, if that disease is contact, bloodborne, airborne, what PPE you would need, and what each disease symptoms are. fungal/bacterial/parasitic/viral infection?

· Know your medical terminology to figure out if a given surgery is a removal of, creation of, what.. etc

· Use your medical terminology to describe a disease given the meaning of suffix and prefix. Do you know what a suffix and prefix is?

· What supplies would you need for a test or procedure. Ex: suturing, removal of sutures, CLIA waived tests, cryosurgery, physical exam. What are the different kinds of tools for surgical procedures (forceps, probe, scissors, ..etc)

· What position to be in for every procedure and in what circumstances do you change into what position. Supine, fowlers, sims, knee chest, recumbent, etc

· Know each quadrant and what organs are in each quadrant (RUQ, LUQ, RLQ, LLQ), anatomical positions, planes, and what organ belongs to what system. Pancreas (digestion and endocrine), Thymus (endocrine and immune)

· When vitals are bad

· How to give CPR, how many compressions, breaths, etc

· How to write a letter in: Block, Modified Block, Simplified Block, Modified Block with indented paragraph. Know where the Letterhead, date (formatted January 1, 2020), inside address, salutation, body, complementary close and signature block goes on each and how much spacing is in between.

· Know the exact purpose of ICD-10 vs CPT, all about coding. Modifiers, fraud, how many letters and alphanumeric items are present in each place. Upcoding (code creep, overbilling, overcoding), bundled coding, usual fee, customary fee, reasonable fee, capitation, category I, II, III codes, phantom billing. Who do you report to for fraud? Who do you report to for unsecured HPI? What is the difference between eHPI and HPI? Who governs both? This is just the bare minimum for what you should know with admin!

· Legal terms

· Always reflect the patient’s point of view back to them for active listening

· Know EKG from NHA study guide in detail. Know leads I, II, III, AVR, AVF, AVL, and V1, V2, V3, V4, V5, V6. Know their color, where they go. Which ones are unipolar, bipolar, and precordial. Know all the arrythmias and in what circumstances they happen. Know how to get HR from a EKG strip (The 1500 Method: Count the number of small boxes between two successive R waves and divide this number into 1500 to obtain heart rate.. Lots of helpful youtube videos.) If this is too hard try this instead

· Theres a calculator on the computer to use for basic math even though the NHA says you won’t get a calculator

· Chain of Infection

· Drug testing, DNA paternal testing, what that is called and special precautions

· Study administrative section- questions tend to be random and not all the information can be found in the NHA study guide for this particular section. Study your classroom textbook for admin questions in addition to NHA. Write down everything you learn from practice questions

· Know different organizations and their target population. HHS, CMS, OSHA, Red cross, legal aid society, TJC, Hospice, Meals on Wheels, NAACLS, ACS, AHA to name a few

· ACO vs PCMH. We have to know the outreach programs to give to patients if they need help because of the shift to PCMH and ACO.

· At what age and how often are routine exams done (complete physical exam vs every time)


· POMR: Problem oriented documentation is organized by: database (medical history, lab results, review of systems,CC) , problem list (patient’s condition), educational, diagnostic, tx plan (rx and lab orders, tx plan), progress notes(progress notes on every problem listed in chronological order) (POMR)

· CHEDDAR: CC, history, exam, detail of the problems, drugs and dosage, assessment, return visit or referral

· Video down below for SOAP


Rescue all patients, visitors, employees, staff and volunteers from immediate danger.

Alarm by pulling the closest fire pull-station and by dialing 811 or 77 (or 911 in offcampus and leased facilities) and reporting the location of the fire.

Confine the area by closing all doors.

Extinguish the fire if the fire is small (use P.A.S.S). Evacuate patients from the area if instructed to do so by fire officials or hospital leadership.

And what organization governs emergencies.


  1. free practice test

  2. more practice questions

  3. Helpful videos for overall understanding. If you know how to perform each procedure as if you actually had to do it, you won’t be tripped up material not being in the study guide.


  5. rapid strep

  6. intradermal injection

  7. IM injection

  8. SC injection

  9. phlebotomy technique

I had a well rounded knowledge of anatomy and physiology before taking this class, I had an easy background with what shock is and when vitals don’t look too hot. You might need to study these sections more than I do but I promise you that it’s really not too bad!

A little about me: I am a certified EMT and I have a Biology degree. I recently suffered a back injury and went through lots of hip surgery so I can no longer lift patients into the back of an ambulance, which ended my short life as a EMT. In addition to that during all of COVID I lost my best friend to suicide. There have been a lot of ups and downs throughout the past few months. I want to be a Physician Assistant and I’m using CCMA as way to get hours towards school. Learning what I did from being injured and losing my best friend taught me that even though you may be limited physically, mentally, whatever gets you down, don’t lose hope of your dreams. There’s going to be good days and bad days in life and you aren’t defined by those bad days where you just lose motivation. Keep pushing forward because you can always find another way. You can succeed too.

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