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NCMA | National Certification Medical Association

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Frequently Asked Questions

Students / Graduates / Practitioners / Academic Institutions / Employers

1. Who is eligible to apply to take the NCMA exams?
Anyone who has learned and can prove skills in the profession through On-the-Job Training or through an approved academic program by US and state board of education can apply to take the exam. Certification is not Licensure. For Licensing requirements check with your State licensing board or agency to find out about their licensing requirements.

2. What paperwork do I need to submit to take the NCMA exams?

A. STUDENT: After your school receives approval from NCMA they will handle all of the paperwork needed for you to take the exam.
B. ACADEMIC PROFESSIONAL/EDUCATOR/EMPLOYEE: Registration Form and Exam Fee.

3. Do I need to send any transcripts to challenge the NCMA exams?
If you are coming from an NCMA validated academic institution, you will not need to present a transcript. However, if the academic institution at which you completed a program of study is not validated by the NCMA, you will need to provide a transcript to challenge the NCMA exams.

4. Do I need to have graduated from an accredited program to challenge the NCMA exams?
No, accreditation is not a mandatory requirement for schools or students that are allowed to challenge our exams. For example, there are professions such as Diagnostic Medical Sonographer where there are no legal regulations regarding who can and cannot work in ultrasound, yet the "established norm" for the majority of employers (in Canada and the USA) is to hire or seek sonographers that are registered or registry-eligible. Currently, both sonographers graduating from accredited and unaccredited formal training programs, and sonographers with informal training are eligible to take registry or certification examinations and receive credentials providing they meet specific defined minimum educational and clinical prerequisites. Eligibility prerequisites changes periodically therefore please refer to our eligibility requirements for each individual profession.

5. How much does the NCMA exam cost?

Type of Certification: Exam Fee:
RCMAS -Registered Clinical Medical Assistant Specialist $140.00
RES - Registered Electrocardiography Specialist $140.00
RPS - Registered Phlebotomy Specialist $140.00
RE - Registered Educator $140.00
RMT - Registered Massage Therapist $140.00
RST - Registered Surgical Technologist $140.00
RNIIVT - Registered Non-Invasive IV Technician $140.00
RAVS - Registered Abdominal & Vascular Specialist $140.00
RPPS - Registered Pediatric Phlebotomy Specialist $140.00
RRFUCS - Registered Radiofrequency Ultrasound Cavitation Specialist $280.00
SPA - Spa Certifications $700.00


6. How much does it cost to retake the NCMA exam if I fail it the first time?

The full amount previously paid must be paid to retake the exam. Even if you only failed one part of the test (Science or Clinical) you must pay the full amount and take the failed part of the exam again.

7. How many times can I retake the exam?

There is no limit to the number of times an individual can retake the examination until they achieve a passing score. However, you must wait 30 days before retaking any exam. Also keep in mind that if you fail the examination you must submit an Application Form before you will be allowed to retest.

8. How long is the exam?

Candidates taking the science and clinical competency test will have 1 hour and 30 minutes for each the Clinical and Science portions of the exam.

9. In what languages is the NCMA offered?

The NCMA exams are offered in English only.

10. What identification do I need to take the exam?

You must bring ONE of the following THREE forms of identification (ID).
A) a school ID
B) US/Canada driver's license
C) Passport US/International.

11. When I pass the NCMA can I start practicing immediately?

Yes as long as you have your state requirements for your career. Keep in mind that national agency certifications are voluntary and are not licenses.

12. When does my NCMA certification expire and how do I renew?

NCMA certification expires 2 years after the test date. To renew your certification you are required to attend every two years one live seminar and one workshop. The location of the workshops will be given to you upon request. The cost is $280.00 which covers 1) one live seminar 2) one workshop and 3) recertification certificates.

13. If I have already passed another national agency exam, will I now have to pass the NCMA exam too?

Someone who has taken another national exam with another national agency may not need to take the science exam but will need to take the clinical competency exam.

14. Where can I find study material?

There are many good national exam review books and although we don't endorse anyone they can be very helpful when preparing for our certification.

15. Why did the NCMA develop these competency certifications?

To offer the following: 1) science theory exams 2)clinical competency evaluation 3) to facilitate allied health employers/human resources with verifying that the individual has met national and clinical standards.

16. Why was NCMA created?

The NCMA hired consultants who sought input from many professional health organizations who complained of the lack of fundamental knowledge or clinical skills from recent graduates. NCMA believes that this may be due to the lack of school protocols for their curriculum and experienced certified educators as well as the quality and the length of the clinical practical exposure prior to graduation. For example, in the phlebotomy field according to CLSI, 58% of specimens present pre-analytical error not including PERI- analytical error or POST- analytical errors. We believe that these major problems originate at schools by not having competent clinical experienced, certified educators and as well as not enough clinical simulated practice towards students for multi-training.

17. Why does the NCMA advocate/support national certification and licensing exams?

Although not every state requires licensure to work in many medical careers by providing an independent competency examination you are reassuring that you meet the minimum requirements on fundamental knowledge and clinical skills.

18. If I move to a state that does not require a license yet I am a licensed Phlebotomist from California, do I need to take a national certification?

Reciprocity and portability of licensure requires one uniform standard licensing exam for all States to use. At this point in time there is no uniform standard licensing exam for Phlebotomy in all states, and therefore only a few states require a license, such as California. A license is not equal to national certification. If you need or want national certification you must take the required exams.

19. Is certification redundant with licensure?

No, not at all. Certification has its own distinguished place in the credentialing landscape of a profession. Independent organizations are entitled to decide what standards people have to meet to join their organization. Many times when a license is not required organizations/facilities prefer potential employees to have certification in the field.

20. What is NCMA’s standard of excellence for the professions?

NCMA believes that through its 2 part examination—both science theory and clinical—there is a standard of excellence that actually verifies that the individual has both the theoretical and clinical knowledge to receive NCMA credentials.

21. Why would a private Certification Board claim that they protect the public with their credential?

Although a Certification Board has no legal authority to protect the public, as that is the role of a Licensing Board a Certification Board does provide public information.

22. If my national certification is revoked or expired how does that affect my license?

If a Certification Board takes away someone's certification then it doesn't impact that person's ability to continue practicing or working in the profession. All it conveys to the public is the information that a person is not certified. That does not protect the public, it only informs them. On the other hand, if a profession requires a license then the Licensing Board has the power to discipline a member of the profession or take away their license to protect the public by not allowing that person to practice.

23. Where can I find the Eligibility requirements and forms needed to submit my student application?
Eligibility requirements can be found on our web site under the “Applicants” tab. Competency forms, which need to be submitted with your student application are only accessible to school liaisons and educators with their log-in information on our website. They will be responsible for providing NCMA with these forms along with your student application.

24. What if my school’s code is deferred or suspended, can I still take an NCMA exam?
You must speak with your school director regarding this matter. Your school/educational site must provide you with instructions within 90 days.

25. Do I need a license or national certification to obtain a job in my field?
In the U.S, a license is not required in the following careers: CMA, EKG technician, cardiac monitor technician, phlebotomy technician, ultrasound technician, and billing and coding.

26. What about national certification?
Well national certifications or industry credentials are not federally mandated, which means that you do not need to have national certification in order for you to get a job. However, hospitals, clinical centers, and laboratories, will not hire anyone that does not hold an industry credential. Now why is that? Normally, industry credential agencies are also known as third parties who assess career competency knowledge and skill. As you know, every school, will always say their students are the best. How can you prove that? That’s where industry credential agencies come to play a role.

27. So there is only one industry credentialing agency / national certification?
No, there are quite many.

28. Where can I find a master list of all industry credentialing agencies?
We as well as every other recognized industry credentialing agency, may be found at: http://lwd.dol.state.nj.us/labor/lwdhome/coe/credentials.html At the home page, scroll down to paragraph 3 and click on the caption: “please click here”. An Excel spreadsheet will immediately download. The spreadsheet provides all accepted NJ industry Credential issuers. Our name appears there.

29. There are so many industry credentialing agencies, which should I choose?
While others are looking for accreditation and making a name for themselves, we are looking to uphold the standards, guidelines, and protocols at a national level. You be the judge. Keep in mind that we are the only credential issuers that evaluate your skills and knowledge through two forms of assessments: clinical multiple choice questions and through a practical competency skill evaluation. When you pass our two part examination, you can be guaranteed that you have mastered the skills required in your field of study. If you have not mastered the skills at your school, you will not be able to pass the exam.

30. How do I recertify?
While other credential issuers prefer home study methods for renewal, the NCMA delivers live seminars for its members in their respective fields. Updating them on the latest information they need to know in order to be successful health-care workers. In addition to the live seminar, there is an online component delivered through the Medicare Learning Network; members also have access to newsletters and blog content from subject matter experts.

31. Do I need to renew my credentials?
Yes, every two years.

32. What will happen if I let my certification expire?
If you allow your credential to reach expiration and surpass the two month grace period after your stated expiration date, you must complete a 90 hour refresher course at any NCMA approved academic institution of your choice. After completion of the course, you must retake the theory exam and the practical exam and submit a payment for each exam. In addition, keep in mind that academic institutions will have a fee for their 90 hour refresher course.

33. What happens if I get a job while I am in school, finishing my career and do not apply for credentials till years later, can I get my credentials through practitioner eligibility?
No, if you went to an academic institution you represent an academic professional. The practitioner eligibility only applies to anyone that has learned on the job, without formal academic education, with a minimum of two years working experience.

34. How much will my industry credential examinations cost?
If you are coming from an standard seal approved academic institution, you will pay $140.00 for each certification exam, but if you are coming from a gold seal approved academic institution each certification exam will be priced at $75.00. However, this only counts for your initial assessment.

35. How much will my renewal cost?
Renewals have a cost of $140.00 per year.

36. How do I know that my academic institution and my professors are validated by your national certification agency?
First , there will be a liaison person at your academic institution that will be able to assist you with all questions pertaining to NCMA certification credentials. Second, you will see our seal of approval on one of the institution’s walls. Third, the educators must also have certifications as registered educators besides their field of expertise certification. That validates our academic institutional site.

37. Who do I contact for renewal?
It is a misunderstanding that graduates must call their institution to recertify. Graduates who hold an NCMA certification are able to contact the NCMA directly, to begin a certification renewal process. Additionally, the NCMA will give you a courtesy call prior to the expiration of first time certification holders.

38. Are agencies government-owned?
No, all industry credentialing agencies in the United States, are private membership companies- and are not governmental. Many people wrongly believe that agencies are government-related or that an agency provides a “license”. For example, many believe that the Better Business Bureau is a government owned agency, because of its name. However, it is a private entity. In terms of licensing, only states are allowed to license personnel or people. If you are looking for your “license” – please visit your state board for licensing in your given profession. No industry credentialing agencies are legally allowed to provide a license.

39. Where can I find a master-list of industry credentialing agencies that are validated in the U.S?
We, as well as every other recognized industry-credentialing agency, may be found at: http://lwd.dol.state.nj.us/labor/lwdhome/coe/credentials.html At the home page, scroll down to paragraph 3 and click on the caption: “please click here”. An Excel spreadsheet will immediately download. The spread sheet provides all accepted New Jersey Industry Credential issuers. Our name appears there.

40. How does your examination and competency process differ from all other industry credential examination?
NCMA offers both a written and a practical national competency exam- to make sure that the candidate has the medical skills and industry protocols necessary to provide patient care and reduce pre-examination errors.

41. Can any student of any given institution challenge the NCMA competency exam?
No, even if you come from an approved school through the Board of Education our process is the following:

If you are a graduate from an academic institution, only the liaison person of that institution, could contact us on your behalf. But the school, instructors, teaching equipment, curriculum, and clinical externship must be validated first in order for any graduates to challenge our competency exam.

42. Can a doctor, nurse, or someone without experience teach using your credentials?
Instructors could only teach the programs that he or she has passed through our competency exams to a teacher’s level. Likewise, the instructor must be certified as both an instructor as well as in the profession he/she proposes to teach. Also, a minimum of two to five years of working teaching experience is required, in order to qualify.

43. Why is your agency’s process for approval so complex?
Our requirements exceed standards because our main goal is to reduce medical error due to unqualified academic and non-academic practitioners and educators.

44. Why is your re-certifation process better than the home-study type of re-certification courses most agencies offer?
Studies have shown that when you are in a live seminar in which you have direct contact with the subject matter expert, the cognitive experience facilitates retention of information into long-term memory.

Our re-certification process is not just an online course, like 90% of the industry credentialing agencies have. Our re-certification is a live workshop seminar re-certification with an online learning component, along with other requirements from The Center for Medicare Services, CLSI standards, Center for Phlebotomy Education (for phlebotomists), American Heart Association among others.

45. How is the NCMA testing site different from that of other agencies?
While other industry credentialing agencies look forward to promoting their accreditation, their name or simply membership, we are the only agency which has an on-site clinical lab setup for competency evaluation in all of our credential certifications.

46. Does the NCMA send the hand and paper portion of the examination directly to the school and allow them to choose a proctor, like other agencies?
No. We will provide the proctor alongside the exam. NCMA proctors are academic professionals with more than ten years’ experience in the field. No other personnel at the testing site is allowed to handle the exams or competency evaluations, thus ensuring the security, credibility and privacy of such. This is not the case with all other agencies.

47. Are your Advisory Board members composed of doctors and nurses?
No. Just because an individual is a doctor or nurse, it does not imply that he/or she has the technical knowledge to advise in terms of standards, guidelines, and/or protocols. Therefore, the Advisory Board of the NCMA are real subject matter experts.

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