What Is the Difference Between CMA and RMA?

RMA stands for Registered Medical Assistant, and CMA stands for Certified Medical Assistant. Both CMAs and RMAs are medical assistant certifications. There are many similarities, but the key difference is in the body that certifies the designations.

CMA and RMA are both nationally recognized credentials. To achieve either title, a student must graduate from an accredited Medical Assistant school and pass a certification exam, which is offered in nearly every state. Once certified, the job responsibilities of a CMA and RMA are quite similar. Both are typically employed by a hospital or doctor's office and are required to perform duties such as taking vital signs and recording patient health history. Clerical duties, such as bookkeeping and administering insurance claims, may also be required of a CMA or RMA.

The major difference between CMA and RMA certification is the governing bodies that award the credentials. The CMA certification is awarded by the AAMA, the American Association of Medical Assistants, and it must be renewed every five years. The RMA certification is awarded by the American Medical Technologists, a nonprofit organization endorsed by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies. Certain states also require a person to be Certified Nursing Assistant before earning the CMA certification.