FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Q. What is a California Certified Medical Assistant (CCMA)?

A. A CCMA is a medical assistant who has met the qualifications established by the California Certifying Board for Medical Assistants and has passed a comprehensive objective examination administered by the CCBMA.

Q. Is the examination conducted by the State of California?

A. No. The certification exam is given by the California Certifying Board for Medical Assistants.  CCBMA is a private non-profit corporations. CCBMA certification is recognized by the Medical Board of California.

Q.  Do I need to be CPR certified to take the examination?

A.  Yes.  All applicants must provide proof of current CPR certification to be eligible to sit for the examination. 

Q. What are the qualifications?

A. The applicant must:

  1. Be currently employed in the capacity of a medical assistant by a licensed physician or podiatrist in the United States or
  2. Have been so employed for at least two of the previous five years, or
  3. Have graduated from a medical assisting program in an accredited institution in the United States within one year preceding the examination or
  4. Be currently employed as a medical assisting instructor in an accredited institution in the United States or
  5. United States Military training (separated from the Military within the last year or served in the capacity of a medical assistant for at least two of the previous five years.).

Q. What is included in the comprehensive examination?

A. There are three components of the exam:

  1. Basic
  2. Administrative
  3. Clinical

In order to receive a certificate, the applicant must pass the Basic examination plus one specialty, either Administrative (front office) or Clinical (back office). A second specialty is optional.

Q. How can I prepare for the examination?

A. A FREE Study Outline is available from the Certifying Board. We recommend you study from textbooks not over three years old.  A Review Guide is available from the CCBMA office for $25. It contains 25 quizzes to help you prepare for the exam. As you complete the quizzes, you will be able to identify areas where you may need to concentrate your study. It includes the answer key.  A Practice Test booklet is also available for $15.00.  This contains 50 Basic, 25 Administrative and 25 Clinical questions.  This is meant to help those who wish to practice taking the exam in the multiple choice format.  The Practice Test also includes the answer key.

Q. Where is the exam given?

A. At various locations throughout the State of California. Our exam vendor also offers other sites across the nation.  You can test in any location for California certification.

Q. How often is the examination given?

A. Our test centers are open Monday-Friday with some Saturday locations.  You will be able to choose your test location, date and time to fit your schedule.

Q. Is there a fee for taking the examination?

A. Yes. The fee to take Basic and one specialty is $145. If you would like to take Basic and both specialties, it is $185.

Q. Where can I get an application?

A.  You can download a copy from this website at www.ccbma.org on the Exams page.

Q. I want to certify as a CCMA-C (Clinical). What do I need to send with the application?

A. You must provide proof of training in venipuncture and/or injections. Upon graduation from a medical assisting program, you are provided with a card or certificate. You will need to send this documentation with the application. If you do not have it, the instructor must sign on page 3 of the application. You may also have your physician-employer write a letter stating that you are proficient in venipuncture and/or injections. THE DOCUMENTATION MUST BE CURRENT (WITHIN THE LAST YEAR) We also require a copy of a current CPR card.

Q. What if I pass one part of the exam and fail another?

A. You will receive credit for the examination that you passed, and you may repeat the failed examination up to two times. The fee to retake the Basic exam is $105.  Retakes of the Clinical and Administrative exams are $90 each. You will be sent a retake application explaining that you will have to wait 30 days before attempting the test/s again. If you do not pass within the three attempts,  you will have to wait 90 days, reapply and retake the entire examination..  Any examination previously passed will no longer  counted.  You may not reapply to retest after three failed attempts if you are not employed as a Medical Assistant.

Q.  I am nervous about taking a computer-based exam.  What can you tell me about the process?

A. You will find the process very easy.  It is simply a point and click of a mouse.  You will begin with a computer tutorial to help you feel more comfortable.  It will show you how to move about the exam (you can review your answers).  You can only move around the current section where you are working.  For example: once you leave the Basic portion you cannot return.

Q.  Are there bathroom breaks offered?

A.  No breaks are offered.  The majority of people will finish the exam in under the allowed time.  You can choose to let your time run down on the exam for a quick break.  Remember that the next exam will automatically load and the next timer will start once you click out of the module, so you don't want to be gone long.

Q.  If I take Basic, Clinical and Administrative and pass on the Basic and the Clinical does that mean that I am not certified because I did not pass all the tests?

A.  If you pass Basic and either specialty, you are certified.  You can choose to retake the portion that you fail.  If you pass the specialties only, you are not certified until you retake and pass the Basic. You must wait 30 days before you are eligible to retest.

Q.  If I fail an examination, will I automatically be notified to retake the examination I failed?

A. No.  You will receive notification of your test results, with an application for re-applying for the failed test, but it will be your responsibility to file the application for the next exam within the date specified in the accompanying letter.  There is a waiting period between retakes.

Q. When will I be notified of the results of my examination?

A. Your preliminary exam results will be given to you the same day you test.  Once the results are confirmed, your certificate, wallet card and pin will be mailed to you from the CCBMA office.  You can expect these items within about three weeks.

Q. Must I pay the full fee again when I repeat a part of the examination?

A. No. You pay only for the examination(s) you are retaking.  The fees are listed on the application.

Q. After I am certified, how will I keep my certification?

A. Recertification is required every five years to maintain a current certification status. This may be accomplished by either retesting or by the Continuing Education Method  (CEU) method. If you choose to recertify by the CEU method you will need 60 credits in the five-year period.  The credits must be in specific categories.

If you are certified CCMA-AC, you will need 30 credits in Basic and 15 in each of your specialties - Administrative and Clinical.

If you are certified CCMA-A or CCMA-C, you will need 30 credits in Basic, 15 in your specialty and the remaining 15 can be Basic, Administrative or Clinical credits.

Q. How do I find out more about my recertification requirements?

A. You will find a helpful Recertification Guidelines Booklet on this website under the Recertification tab.

Please visit Recertification on this website for more information. 

IMPORTANT NEWS!!  

Processing of certification exam applications
can take up to 4 weeks


Processing of recertification applications by Continuing Education Method
 can take up to 60-90 days.

DO NOT FORGET
 A copy of your US Government issued ID (Driver's license, ID card or passport) is required with all certification applications submitted. 

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