Select Page

NHA CCMA Certification Test: Everything You Need to Know

Written by: Katie Miller, co-creator of Smarter MA

This post is a comprehensive guide on the NHA CCMA Certification Test: 

  1. What Is the NHA CCMA Exam?
  2. NHA CCMA Structure and Content Domains
  3. What to Expect on Exam Day?
  4. How to Prepare for the NHA CCMA Exam?
  5. Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about the NHA CCMA
NHA CCMA certification test

Preparing for the NHA CCMA®?

Smarter MA is the most powerful resource available for medical assistants who are serious about passing the certification test the first time.

NHA CCMA Certification Test

The NHA CCMA certification test serves as a important stepping stone for those aiming to accelerate their careers as medical assistants, offering pathways to meet employer demands, increase career opportunities, and enhance earning potential. With a predicted 16% employment growth for medical assistants through 2031, the demand for certified professionals in this field is unmistakably on the rise.

Employers greatly value the professionalism and critical thinking skills that come with certification, encouraging or even requiring their medical assistants to become certified. In fact, 89% of organizations request certification, with 35% noting an increase in responsibilities for those that are certified medical assistants. This highlights the significant role the NHA CCMA exam plays in not only enriching the skill-set of aspiring medical assistants but also in uplifting the standards and expectations within the healthcare industry.

What Is the NHA CCMA Certification Test?

The National Healthcareer Association’s CCMA Certification Test is a comprehensive assessment designed to evaluate a candidate’s readiness for a career as a certified clinical medical assistant. Understanding the structure and content of the exam is crucial for effective preparation:

  • Exam Composition:
    • Total Questions: 150 multiple-choice questions, plus 30 unscored pre-test questions .
    • Time Limit: 3 hours to complete the exam.
  • Scoring and Passing Criteria:
    • Scoring System: Score provided out of 500.
    • Passing Score: A minimum score of 390 (78%) is required to pass.
    • Recent Pass Rate: In 2023, the pass rate was 77%.

Exam Structure and Content Domains

The NHA CCMA exam is meticulously structured to assess the comprehensive skills and knowledge pivotal for a successful career as a medical assistant. It encompasses a total of 150 scored questions alongside 30 pre-test questions, ensuring a thorough evaluation of the candidate’s proficiency across various domains.

Key Domains of the NHA CCMA Certification Test:

  • Foundational Knowledge and Basic Science (10%): This domain focuses on healthcare systems, medical terminology, basic pharmacology, and more, laying the groundwork for a solid understanding of the medical field.
  • Anatomy and Physiology (5%): This section delves into body structures, organ systems, pathophysiology, disease processes, and microbiology, essential for clinical patient care.
  • Clinical Patient Care (56%): This is the the largest section, and involves direct patient care clinical skills.
  • Patient Care Coordination and Education (8%): This domain focuses on managing patient care and providing crucial education on health maintenance and disease prevention.
  • Administrative Assisting (8%): This area tests abilities in scheduling, billing, and managing patient records, crucial for the efficient operation of healthcare facilities.
  • Communication and Customer Service (8%): This domain assesses interpersonal skills and customer service proficiency.
  • Medical Law and Ethics (5%): This domain tests the candidate’s understanding of legal and ethical standards in healthcare.

Each domain is carefully designed to reflect the core competencies required by medical assistants, ensuring that candidates are well-prepared for their roles in the healthcare industry. 

What Should Students Expect on NHA CCMA Exam Day?

On exam day, students should come prepared to navigate the specifics of the NHA CCMA certification test process with ease and confidence. If you decide to do an in-person exam, here’s what to expect:

  • Preparation and Arrival:
    • Arrive with a valid government-issued ID, such as a driver’s license or passport.
    • Bring two No. 2 pencils for the exam.
    • Remember, no study materials, books, calculators, computer devices, phones, food, or drinks are allowed in the testing room.
  • During the Exam:
    • The exam is conducted on a computer.
    • An exam Proctor will greet you, requiring you to sign the testing log before taking your seat, marking the official start of your exam.
  • Post-Exam Process:
    • Test scores will be available two business days after the test is scored, with notifications sent to the email address associated with your NHA account
    • To access your results, simply log into your NHA account.
    • Successful candidates will find their certification available after the exam is scored.

These steps are designed to ensure a smooth and efficient exam day, allowing students to focus solely on demonstrating their knowledge and skills.

At home, remote, computer proctored NHA CCMA exams

Are you planning to take the CCMA exam from home? With the option to take the NHA CCMA exam remotely, candidates can enjoy the flexibility and convenience of testing in a familiar environment. Here’s everything you need to know about taking the NHA CCMA exam at home, from requirements to the exam process.

Requirements for Taking the NHA CCMA Exam at Home:

  1. Technical Specifications: Ensure your computer meets the necessary technical requirements, including a stable internet connection, a webcam, and a microphone for proctoring purposes. The testing platform typically specifies the operating system and software requirements.
  2. Secure Testing Environment: Your testing area must be quiet, private, and well-lit. You’ll need to clear your desk or testing surface of all materials except for those specifically allowed by NHA. Prior to the exam, you will be asked to show a 360-degree view of your room to confirm the security of the testing environment.
  3. Identification Verification: Have a government-issued photo ID ready for identity verification. You’ll need to present this to the proctor at the beginning of your exam session.
  4. Exam Scheduling: Schedule your exam appointment through the NHA’s official website. Available slots are typically listed well in advance, giving you ample time to prepare.
  5. Proctoring: The NHA CCMA exam at home is proctored live, ensuring the integrity of the exam process. The proctor will monitor you through your webcam and microphone.

What’s Involved in Taking the NHA CCMA Certification Test at Home:

  • Pre-Exam Check: Prior to the exam, you’ll complete a system test to ensure your computer and testing environment meet all requirements. This is crucial to prevent any technical issues during the actual exam.
  • Check-In Process: On the day of the exam, log in to the testing platform at your scheduled time. You’ll go through an identity verification process, including a room scan.
  • Taking the Exam: Follow the proctor’s instructions carefully. Maintain focus on your exam, as the proctor will monitor for any irregularities or prohibited behaviors.
  • Post-Exam Procedures: Upon completion of the exam, you may be asked to review and agree to certain terms regarding the exam process. Your results are typically available within a few weeks, though this can vary.

How Do You Prepare for the NHA CCMA Exam?

Preparing for the NHA CCMA certification test involves a comprehensive approach, using comprehensive educational resources and strategies to ensure a thorough understanding of the required knowledge and skills. Here’s a structured plan to guide students effectively:

  • Eligibility and Registration:
    • Verify eligibility: Ensure you meet one of the following – a high school diploma or GED, completion of a medical assistant training program within the last 5 years, or 1-2 years of supervised work experience in the medical assisting field within the last 3-5 years.
    • Register for the exam: Apply and schedule your exam date. The exam fee is $160.
  • Study Resources and Strategies:
    • Utilize NHA’s study materials: Engage with the CCMA Online Study Guide ($62) and CCMA Online Practice Exam ($44) for interactive learning experiences including games, quizzes, and flashcards
    • Embrace digital curriculum: Benefit from up-to-date content and free updates to stay aligned with industry standards
    • Practice tests: Regularly take practice exams to familiarize with the exam format and identify areas for improvement. Research shows a strong link between practice testing and enhanced performance on standardized tests
  • Structured Study Plan:
    • Begin with key concepts: Introduce essential topics early in the course
    • Hands-on practice: Incorporate practical sessions to apply theoretical knowledge
    • Mid-semester assessments: Conduct practice exams to gauge readiness and adjust study focus accordingly
    • Remediation: Address weak areas with targeted review based on pre-test outcomes

By following this structured preparation plan, students can navigate their way towards achieving certification, enhancing their career prospects in the medical assisting field.

Concluding Thoughts 

The journey to certification, however, begins with the right resources and a commitment to prepare diligently. For students stepping into this challenging yet rewarding path, embracing the comprehensive study materials and practice tests is imperative. We encourage you to start studying now, utilizing the wealth of resources and support available to you. Not only will this preparation guide you towards achieving certification, but it will also arm you with the knowledge and skills necessary to excel in the dynamic field of medical assistance, paving the way for a successful and fulfilling career.

FAQs about the NHA CCMA Certification Test

How Challenging Is the NHA CCMA Exam?

The NHA CCMA exam requires a minimum score of 390 out of 500 to pass, which translates to correctly answering 78% of the questions.

What Kind of Questions Can You Expect on the NHA CCMA Test?

The NHA CCMA exam features 150 scored multiple-choice questions, along with an additional 30 unscored pre-test questions. These questions are broadly categorized into three main areas: Clinical Competency, which includes 106 questions on clinical workflow, safety, infection control, procedures and examinations, and pharmacology.

What Are Effective Strategies for Studying for the NHA Certification Exam?

To effectively prepare for the NHA certification exam, it’s recommended to utilize the right study materials. You want to undertake lots of practice questions. Why not take a free practice test right now?

How Can I Best Prepare for the CCMA Exam?

Preparing for the CCMA exam involves a comprehensive study plan. This includes revisiting notes from classes, engaging in practice tests, and concentrating on weaker subject areas. Avoiding last-minute cramming and allowing ample time for preparation are key strategies for success in the certification exam.

Smarter MA is your secret weapon to pass the NHA CCMA® the first time

Any questions?

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out 👋


Fill out the contact form or use the chat app by clicking the chat icon in the bottom right-hand corner of the screen. is not affiliated with or endorsed by the American Association of Medical Assistants, the American Medical Technologists, the American Education Certification Association, the American Medical Certification Association, the California Certifying Board for Medical Assistants, the National Center for Competency Testing, and/or the National Healthcareer Association. CMA AAMA® is a registered trademark owned by the American Association of Medical Assistants, CCMA CCBMA® is a registered trademark owned by the California Certifying Board for Medical Assistants, CMAC AMCA® and MAC AMCA® are registered trademarks owned by the American Medical Certification Association, NCMA NCCT® is a registered trademark owned by the National Center for Competency Testing, NRMA AECA® is a registered trademark owned by the American Education Certification Association, RMA AMT® is a registered trademark owned by the American Medical Technologists, and CCMA NHA® is a registered trademark owned by the National Healthcareer Association.