How to Get a State License for Medical Assistants

Looking to become a medical assistant? In most states, you’ll need to obtain a license in order to practice. Here’s a guide on how to get a state license for Medical assistants

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State licensure for Medical Assistants is not currently required in all states, although this may change in the future as the medical assistant profession becomes more regulated. Currently, about half of all states have some form of licensure or certification requirement for medical assistants. If you live in a state that does require licensure, you will need to complete a training program and pass an exam before you can be licensed. Check with your state’s Board of Medical Examiners to find out the specific requirements for licensure in your state.

What is a medical assistant?

A medical assistant is a trained allied health professional who perform administrative and clinical tasks in order to keep doctors’ offices, clinics, and other healthcare facilities running smoothly.

In order to become a medical assistant one must complete an accredited training program, which typically lasts between six and twelve months. After completing the educational requirements, medical assistants must then pass a nationally-recognized certification exam in order to earn the credential “Certified Medical Assistant” or “CMA.”

Though there is no formal education required beyond high school, some states do require medical assistants to have a state license in order to work in the field. The requirements for licensure vary from state to state, but generally include passing an exam and completing a certain amount of continuing education credits every year.

Some states have what is known as “reciprocity agreements” with other states, which means that if you have a license in one state, you can apply for a license in another state without having to retake the exam. However, each state has different requirements, so it is important to check with the state Board of Medical Examiners before applying for licensure.

Duties of a medical assistant

Medical assistants are unlicensed personnel who perform administrative and clinical tasks in a medical office. Typically, their duties include scheduling appointments, maintaining medical records verifying insurance coverage, preparing patients for examinations, taking and documenting vital signs, drawing blood, and administering medication as directed by a physician.

In some states, medical assistants may also be allowed to perform more advanced procedures under the supervision of a licensed healthcare professional. These additional duties may include giving injections, performing electrocardiograms (EKGs), removing sutures, and changing dressings.

When considering a career as a medical assistant, it is important to research the licensing requirements in your state. Although most states do not require medical assistants to be licensed, there are a handful of states that do have certification or licensure requirements in place.

The states that currently have certification or licensure requirements for medical assistants are California, Nevada, Washington, Hawaii, Idaho, and Colorado. In these states, medical assistants must either pass an accredited certification exam or obtain a license from the state in order to work in the field.

If you live in one of the aforementioned states and are interested in becoming a medical assistant, the first step is to research the specific requirements in your state. Once you have satisfied all of the necessary requirements, you will then be eligible to begin working as a medical assistant.

Education and training

Education and training requirements for medical assistants vary by state. Some states require medical assistants to complete an accredited training program and pass a credentialing exam, while others have no formal education requirements. A few states have specific training requirements for certain tasks, such as phlebotomy or electrocardiography (EKG).

To get started, check with your state’s medical board to find out what the specific education and training requirements are for medical assistants in your state. Once you know what is required, you can then begin searching for accredited programs that offer the necessary coursework.


Requirements for medical assistant certification vary by state, but most states accept certification from one or more of the following organizations:
The American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA), The National Healthcare Association (NHA), or The National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT).

In order to take the AAMA, NHA, or NCCT certification exams, you must first complete an accredited medical assistant program. Once you have completed a certified program and have passed the certification exam, you will need to apply for your state license. The process for applying for a state license varies by state, but most states require that you submit your certification information and pay a fee.


Most medical assistants make between $15 and $20 an hour. The median wage for medical assistants in May 2017 was $16.31, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The top 10 percent of earners made more than $23 an hour, and the bottom 10 percent made less than $11.

Job outlook

Medical assistants are in high demand, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics projecting that employment will grow by 29% between 2016 and 2026 — much faster than the average for all occupations. This job growth is due to an aging population and an increased emphasis on preventive care. With such high demand, now is a great time to start your career as a medical assistant.

Getting a state license

Most states require medical assistants to have a state license. The requirements for getting a license vary from state to state, but usually include completing an accredited medical assistant program and passing a competency exam. Some states also require medical assistants to have CPR certification.

To find out the specific requirements in your state, contact your state’s medical board or check its website. Once you have completed all the requirements, you will need to submit an application for a state license. The application will likely include a fee. You may also be required to submit transcripts from your medical assistant program and proof of CPR certification.

Once your application is received, it will be reviewed by the state board. If you are approved, you will be issued a state license. You will need to renew your license every few years, and some states require continuing education for medical assistants as part of the renewal process.

Steps to getting a state license

The process of getting a state license for medical assistants can vary depending on the state in which you apply, but there are some common steps that all applicants will need to take. In most states, you will need to:

1) Complete an accredited medical assistant program.

2) Pass the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) exam administered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA).

3) Apply for licensure with your state’s medical board.

4) Submit proof of completion of an accredited medical assistant program and passing scores on the CMA exam.

5) Pay any required fees.

6) Complete any additional requirements as specified by your state’s medical board.


In order to become a licensed medical assistant, you will need to complete an accredited program, pass a certification exam, and apply for a state license. Each state has different requirements for licensure, so be sure to check with your state’s Board of Medical Assistants to ensure that you meet all the necessary criteria. Once you have been licensed, you will be able to begin your career in medical assisting!

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