Working as a medical assistant (MA) provides individuals with the opportunity to work in a variety of settings including a doctor’s office, clinic or hospital. Licensed medical assistants have the opportunity to move to a new state and find employment. They can transfer their license to a new state. Having a MA license in the state one intends to work may entice employers to hire them over their competition. It is not necessary for a MA to obtain a license in order to work. However, obtaining a MA license is beneficial.
Reasons to Obtain a MA License
One of the benefits of obtaining a MA license is that licenses issued by particular agencies are recognized nationally. Obtaining a license issued by those agencies provides the MA with the opportunity to relocate to any state and find employment. Many employers across the country recognize MA licenses issued by the licensing organizations. Employers may consider those who have a MA license more suitable for their staff because the license represents a standard for knowledge, training and the ability to provide quality care. Obtaining a license to practice as a medical assistant in the state one works in may be advantageous as well. Employers will recognize the state MA license as proof of the individuals training, knowledge and skill. Some employers prefer hiring only licensed medical assistants because of what the license represents. A licensed MA often earns a higher wage and is typically trusted to perform a greater variety of treatments and assessment techniques. Several agencies issue medical assistant licenses for those who qualify.
Medical assistant licensing agencies such as the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) and National Health Career Association (NHA) allow individuals who meet the eligibility requirements challenge their licensing exam. Eligibility requirements for these agencies include the successful completion of an accredited medical assistant training program and completing their application process. American Medical Technologists (AMT) is a licensing agency that does not require the completion of a MA training program as part of their eligibility requirements. They allows any MA, regardless of training, who has worked as a medical assistant for a minimum of five years, in addition to a few other eligibility requirements, challenge their licensing exam. A list of eligibility requirements for each licensing agency can be found their website.
How to Obtain a License
To apply for a license one must complete and send in an official application to the licensing agency. All requirements, such as proof of program completion and permission to perform a background check, are found within application packet. Most licensing agencies charge examination or licensing fees that must be paid prior to the deadline established by the agency. Official applications are found through the MA training program, online at the licensing agency’s website or by contacting the agency and requesting an application packet. Once the application is approved one can schedule to take the exam. Exams are administered at approved testing site locations found in many cities across the US. A license to practice as a MA is issued to all who achieve a passing score. Once the MA obtains a license, they can take on the title of licensed medical assistant. They can work in every state that recognizes the license that provides a multitude of employment opportunities.
Reasons to Transfer License to New State
Even though a license obtained through an agency like the AAMA is nationally recognized, some states or employers might prefer their employees have a state license in addition to their nationally recognized license. Licensed MA can petition their state for a state license. Some states may require the MA to pass a state licensing exam while others may issue a license based on the MA’s current license if it was issued through an accredited licensing agency. Each state has its own requirements necessary for a MA to become licensed in that state. Requirements and applications for each state can be found by contacting the local licensing board for the state. One may also find additional information through contacting local schools that offer MA training programs or by contacting local employment agencies.
Obtaining a State License through Reciprocity
Individuals who have a MA license issued through their state and not a nationally recognized licensing agency may be eligible to receive a MA license in a new state through reciprocity. States that have the same requirements in order to receive a MA license may offer reciprocity. This simply means that those states education and training requirements are at the same level and standard therefore, any individual who becomes licensed as a MA in one state will be granted a license in another state that offers reciprocity. In order to receive reciprocity the MA must have a current license in the state(s) in which reciprocity applies.