Air Support: The Sky’s the Limit When You Use Your CPR Card for Recertification

CPR certification is not required for CMA (AAMA)® recertification. However, as a recertification applicant, you can use CPR certification for AAMA recertification points.

Past

Provider-level CPR certification was first required for recertification of the CMA (AAMA) credential in January 2005. At that time, few employers were requiring their employees to be CPR certified. The Certifying Board of the AAMA considered this to be a safety issue and was forward thinking in requiring that CMAs (AAMA) maintain current, provider-level CPR certification.

Many, if not most, employers now require current CPR certification. Thus, the Certifying Board believes these safety concerns are being adequately addressed and current, provider-level CPR certification is no longer a necessary component for CMA (AAMA) recertification.

However, current CPR certification continues to hold value for recertification.

Present

Two-year CPR cards issued within your recertification period can be counted as four clinical AAMA recertifica­tion points. Up to three two-year CPR cards may be submitted for a total of 12 CEUs.

Online submission is the preferred method of submitting documentation for CPR cards. Simply log on to your AAMA website account, and while within the “My Account” section, select the Web Uploads tab from the left-side menu. On that webpage, select the appropriate course from the drop-down menu, upload a file (that includes the front and back of each CPR card), and submit.

The status of submitted documentation is displayed on that same webpage. Allow 2–3 business days for processing.

If you choose to mail in documentation, make sure to submit a copy of the front and back of the card. Do not send originals.

Future

Start planning for your CMA (AAMA) recertification today! Brush up on recertification policies in the CMA (AAMA) Recertification by Continuing Education Application or log on to the AAMA website to add or track your CEUs. Make sure you’ve uploaded any CPR cards earned during your current recertification period so you apply your existing knowledge to keeping your CMA (AAMA) credential current!

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Shed Some Light: The 2022 Roundup of Exceptional Medical Assistants

Each year, the Spotlight section of CMA Today features several medical assistants with unique stories and monumental contributions to health care. Their passion for their work and their commitment to patients exude the AAMA’s values and the best of the medical assisting profession.

For this reason, the AAMA would like to feature the 2022 Spotlight medical assistants again with some highlights from their articles.

Feeling inspired? If you want a chance to share your story with CMA Today by being interviewed for a Spotlight article, fill out the submission form on the AAMA website.

January/February: Jaime Armstrong, CMA (AAMA)

With a longstanding interest in the urgent care setting, Armstrong became a medical assistant and has not looked back. “I never know what’s coming through the door, which is one of the appeals,” says Armstrong. “But I always know I’m there to help patients no matter their circumstance.”

Pioneering a care package program in her clinic, she helps hundreds of patients around Portland facing housing insecurity each year.

Armstrong’s efforts to provide patients with essential materials show how her care goes beyond a simple job description. Her empathy and innovation are a refreshing reminder of medical assistants’ critical liaison roles in their communities.

Read more in “Granting Wishes: Medical Assistant Receives Grant for Creating Care Packages.”

March/April: Kathleen Dalton, CMA (AAMA)

Dalton has held many roles in her 25-year medical assisting career, but being a practice transformation facilitator is her favorite. She helps practices adjust their workflows and organization, setting them up for success and aiding patient safety protocols.

Dalton’s medical assisting path gives hope to those with a passion for the field as well as a desire to work in a corporate setting. “Looking outside of the box that we put ourselves in as medical assistants is important,” asserts Dalton. “Medicine is changing, and there are different roles that are being created and developed within larger health care systems and sometimes smaller practices too.”

By sharing her story, she’s advocated for a niche that many medical assistants may not be aware of and has shown a path toward leadership.

Read more in “Welcome Change: CMA (AAMA) Embraces New Role to Aid PCMH Transformations.”

May/June: Kimberly Maness, CMA (AAMA)

With over 30 years of experience in the medical assisting profession, Maness jumped at the chance to help her employer create a program to promote Medicare Annual Wellness Visits (AWVs). Her robust clinical experience—which includes more than 30 years in multiple specialties—aids her in leading the program and explaining to patients why AWVs are critical.

Her success in establishing this kind of program demonstrates how medical assistants’ broad expertise can be used in administrative and leadership roles. “My hope is that all practices and facilities will be enlisting well-experienced CMAs (AAMA) to facilitate these dedicated [Medicare AWV] programs,” Maness explains.

Read more in “Well Wishes: CMA (AAMA) Improves Patient Compliance for Medicare Annual Wellness Visits.”

July/August: Christine Dzoga, CMA (AAMA)

After working as a medical assistant and part-time educator for more than a decade, Dzoga became the full-time health science director at Malcolm X College, where she has revamped the curriculum and expanded program access throughout Chicago. Her primary focuses are diversifying the medical assisting field, connecting students to future employers, and ensuring that students learn how to communicate with patients.

Dzoga’s story stresses the importance of serving a community through your work: “We believe medical assistants can reach patients who wouldn’t want to seek health care for various reasons. It makes a big impact when someone can go into a [physician’s practice] and see themselves there, specifically [via] a medical assistant who can relate to them because patients spend the most face-to-face time with medical assistants.”

Her dedication to helping her students find employment and developing medical assisting programs in underserved parts of Chicago shows her desire to apply her expertise to a community vision.

Read more in “Connect the Dots: CMA (AAMA) Creates Bridges Between Students and Future Employers.”

September/October: Joseph Holub, CMA (AAMA)

In his nine-year medical assisting career, Holub has seen more than 200,000 patients, including 9/11 heroes, celebrities, and government officials. Through various roles, he has learned that performing clinical and administrative tasks make medical assistants more well-rounded and caring professionals. “There are a lot of things we can fix [in health care],” he says, “and we need clinicians who are well-rounded like myself in administrative settings to further develop and work with the people who don’t have that background or may not understand that side of [health care].”

Holub’s winding medical assisting journey is captivating and inspiring. He demonstrates the many possibilities in the medical assisting field and the value of being versatile in health care.

Read more in “Star-Studded Care: CMA (AAMA) Devoted to Patient Care in All Facets of Medical Assisting.”

November/December: Yota Vang, CMA (AAMA)

In her five-year medical assisting career, Vang has worked diligently to ease and educate patients undergoing dermatology procedures such as Mohs surgery. Her expertise and compassion highlight how a medical assistant’s attitude can vastly impact difficult moments.

“It doesn’t matter whether I’m assisting with a procedure, learning a new skill, talking with a patient, or training a new employee,” notes Vang. “When you love your work and love what you’re doing, you’re going to be great at it and continue to thrive in it.”

Vang’s story shows how even a few words can foster deep connections with patients when they’re in need of comfort and information. Her thoughtfully provided care demonstrates how passion and commitment to the profession go a long way.

Read more in “A Touch of Kindness: CMA (AAMA) Connects with Patients to Provide Calming and Informed Care.”

Ahead of the Curve: How to Plan for Your Certification Deadline

Are you hoping to recertify your CMA (AAMA)® credential before it expires but need a plan of action? Do you have trouble keeping track of dates due to your various responsibilities? The AAMA has your back!

CMAs (AAMA) must recertify every 60 months to ensure their continuing knowledge and competency. This requirement maintains the credential’s gold standard but requires careful planning to prevent an expired credential.

When planning to recertify, knowing the paths available to you is essential. To recertify a CMA (AAMA) credential, medical assistants can either take the CMA (AAMA) Certification Exam or fulfill continuing education requirements.

Recertifying via continuing education allows medical assistants to brush up on and discover relevant topics in the profession, including working with patients of certain ages and with various conditions. Visit the “Find CEUs” webpage to discover resources for accumulating recertification points. One such resource is the AAMA e-Learning Center, which makes continuing education accessible and flexible, with 24/7 availability and remote access. With such flexibility available, you are sure to recertify with ease. Also, visit the “AAMA Approved CE Programs” webpage to learn how you can earn free AAMA CEUs and submit two-year CPR (and basic life support) cards for CEUs.

Medical assistants must acquire 60 recertification points to recertify by continuing education, with 30 or more being AAMA-approved continuing education units (CEUs), although medical assistants are welcome to acquire all 60 points from AAMA-approved sources.

Recertification points are available in three content areas—general, administrative, and clinical. Recertifying medical assistants must have at least 10 recertification points from each category included in their overall 60 recertification points. You can visit the AAMA e-Learning Center to discover the various CE courses.

CMAs (AAMA) work hard and deserve tools for a simple recertification process. The AAMA has some simple tips for planning for recertification and helping ensure that you are on schedule to earn all required CEUs.

Planning for recertification is a critical part of the process. Several strategies support a smooth recertification process for CMAs (AAMA) and provide comfort in having a distinct plan in place:

Fill in your calendar. A physical or digital calendar can prevent you from forgetting crucial dates for acquiring CEUs and deadlines for recertification. Dates like recertification deadlines or the AAMA Annual Conference can feel far away but quickly approach when wrapped up in the busyness of daily life. Being proactive by documenting critical dates and deadlines can help you avoid the anxiety of an expired credential.

Build a medical assisting community. Developing a strong community of people with similar goals uplifts you and motivates you to stay on track. Connecting with other medical assistants through work, social media, or AAMA state society and local chapter meetings can be a gateway for finding friends who value the integrity of their work just like you. You can form study groups, work on continuing education, and talk about your goals in the medical assisting profession. You can easily find your local chapter or state society and connect with their webpages via the AAMA website. By forming a community, you hold yourself accountable and inspire one another to be the best medical assistants possible, developing the profession with your knowledge.

Use a day planner. Day planners help students and workers tackle daily tasks and visualize their to-do lists. A day planner helps prioritize tasks and develop a practical and productive schedule that accommodates your goals. Adding tasks for recertification to your planner weaves your plan into your daily life and tracks your progress on acquiring CEUs. A detailed planner breaks down tasks and keeps recertification from becoming overwhelming.

Take care of yourself. Before you can balance work, education, and your personal life, you must practice self-care. By taking time throughout the day to drink water, eat well-balanced meals, and get proper rest, you put yourself in a better position to reach your goals. Remember to care for your physical and mental health and leave time for your favorite activities outside work and school. A well-rounded social life and engagement in hobbies encourage a happy and healthy life overall.

Many strategies exist for planning your CMA (AAMA) recertification, and the AAMA is here to help guide you through the process. By being diligent about deadlines and priorities, making friends in the profession, and taking care of yourself, you are on your way to stress-free recertification and are bound to learn a great deal along the way.

You can learn more about the policies and requirements for recertifying via continuing education by reviewing the CMA (AAMA) Recertification by Continuing Education Application.

As Good as New: Avoid Expired Credentials by Keeping an Eye on Deadlines

When you certify as a CMA (AAMA)®, your credential is valid for 60 months. In order to keep your credential current, you must recertify via continuing education (CE) or the CMA (AAMA) Certification Exam. This requirement is essential for ensuring continuing competency and knowledge and thus better protecting patients.

Avoid missing your certification deadline by making sure you know the last day you can apply to recertify by CE. Familiarize yourself with the CEU processing periods on the CMA (AAMA) Recertification by Continuing Education Application and apply to recertify by CE online or by mail. If all of your CEUs appear on your AAMA CEU transcript, you have the option to call the AAMA Continuing Education department directly to recertify.

But what happens if you do not recertify on or before the expiration date of your credential? In that case, you will be considered as having an expired credential. If your certification has already expired, check the “Last Date to Apply by Continuing Education Timelines” table on the “Recertification Policies” webpage, and see whether you are still eligible to recertify by CE. Also, make sure to review the important “Processing Period” section on the CMA (AAMA) Recertification by Continuing Education Application before applying.

If your credential has expired for more than ​​three months, you forfeit the right to reactivate the credential by continuing education and must sit for the CMA (AAMA) Certification Exam. Payment of a $50 reactivation fee plus the recertification by exam fee will be required. If you do not pass the exam after three attempts, you are no longer eligible for the CMA (AAMA) credential unless an official transcript is provided that demonstrates you have enrolled in the same or another accredited medical assisting program again and completed all requirements for the program.

Remember, even if your credential is expired and you have passed the deadline for recertifying via continuing education, you can always apply to recertify via the CMA (AAMA) Certification Exam. Qualifying CMA (AAMA) Certification Exam applicants have no application deadline.

Twice as Nice: How to Use College Courses for Recertification Points

Are you planning to recertify your CMA (AAMA)® credential via continuing education? If you complete college-level courses during your recertification period, some of those courses may count as recertification points!

The AAMA will accept a college course for recertification if its subject matter is relevant to medical assisting. One college credit (quarter or semester) is worth 15 recertification points.

You must determine whether a program topic is relevant before you choose to attend it.

Use these documents as guidelines for college courses usable for recertification:

These documents provide information about required knowledge for medical assistants, so courses that cover topics listed in the documents may qualify for recertification points.

You are also responsible for noting the course category—administrative, clinical, or general. If a course that qualifies for continuing education covers more than one content area, points should be assigned based on the length of time devoted to each area.

An approved college course will count as non-AAMA recertification points. The AAMA will not update your transcript when you attend non-AAMA-approved courses. When applying to recertify via continuing education, a maximum of 30 CEUs may be accumulated from non-AAMA sources such as college or university credits.

During your course, make sure to save any related materials, such as the syllabus and your unofficial college transcript with final passing grades for each course. Then, include copies of these materials when you submit the Recertification by Continuing Education Application by mail or when you upload your non-AAMA CEUs documentation and apply online. Do not send originals, as submitted documentation will not be returned to the applicant. Documentation submitted separately from the application and payment will not be reviewed and will not be returned.

To learn more about the policies and requirements for recertifying via continuing education, review the CMA (AAMA) Recertification by Continuing Education Application.