In most states, it is possible to work as a medical assistant without obtaining state or national certification. However, there are two states that mandate certification for practicing medical assistants as of October 2015. Connecticut requires the national Certified Medical Assistant credential, while Washington has a state certification process.
Although certification is not required in most states, some physicians prefer to hire medical assistants who have demonstrated their knowledge by passing a state or national certification exam. The American Association of Medical Assistants offers the Certified Medical Assistant credential. To be eligible for the CMA certification, a medical assistant must graduate from a program accredited by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation or the United States Department of Education. Applicants must pay a fee and pass a comprehensive examination before receiving the CMA certification.