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How to Pass the PMAC Certification Exam

Advance Your Career as a Medical Assistant by Earning PMAC Certification from the American Society of Podiatric Medical Assistants (ASPMA)

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Throughout the field of healthcare, the role of the Medical Assistant (MA) continues to expand and include more complex administrative and clinical duties. For this reason, most employers now require or prefer MAs who have earned certification. But which MA certification is most relevant and helpful to your career objectives? What’s involved in earning the various certifications? How often must you recertify and how much does it cost to become certified?

This article is part of a series describing the specific advantages of six widely recognized and highly regarded MA certifications. For an overview of all six certifications, click here to read our guide on the best certifications for your Medical Assistant career.

(Click here to learn how to become a Medical Assistant).

Each article in this series discusses the specific competencies covered by one of the MA certifications, details about the certification exam, and the value of that certification to your MA career. This article provides all the information you need on the Podiatric Medical Assistant Certified (PMAC) certification.

Why Earn a Medical Assistant Certification?

Medical assistants (MAs) are technically allowed to practice without a state license or certification. However 89% of today’s employers either require or strongly prefer MAs with at least one certification. MAs who perform specific duties (such as phlebotomy or x-rays) or who work in specialized fields (such as podiatry or ophthalmology) may be required to have specific training and certification in their area of specialty. In 2012, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services also ruled that only credentialed MAs are allowed to enter laboratory, radiology, and medical orders into their computerized system.

Even if not required, certification shows that you have met specific, industry-recognized standards for competence as a medical assistant. It also assures your employer that you are prepared to begin work in a medical assisting position or take that role to the next level of performance. As a result, certification can offer opportunities for greater responsibility, more career options, and higher income.

What is the Podiatric Medical Assistant Certified (PMAC) Exam?

The Podiatric Medical Assistant Certified (PMAC) exam is offered by the American Society of Podiatric Medical Assistants (ASPMA). There are three exam options, focusing on three different areas of podiatric medical assisting: Administrative, Clinical, and Radiology. Professionals who earn the PMAC certification have the knowledge and skills to perform a full range of podiatric MA responsibilities safely.

About The American Society of Podiatric Medical Assistants

The purpose of the ASPMA is to promote, foster, improve, sustain, and advance the profession of Podiatric Medical Assistants. Their goal is to elevate the standard of education of Podiatric Medical Assistants. The ASPMA also plays a role in the advancement of the podiatric medical profession and to the improvement of public health.

Why Choose PMAC Certification?

According to the ASPMA website, the benefits of the PMAC Certification include:

  • Increase your prestige and status among your peers
  • Gain satisfaction in the proof of your expertise
  • Enjoy additional competence in your work
  • Upgrade the professionalism of podiatry in your office
  • Enhance your credibility in caring for patients in your doctor’s practice

Because the PMAC is focused specifically on podiatric MAs, it may offer an important advantage for medical assistants pursuing a career in podiatry. Furthermore, the PMAC offers three areas of specialty within the podiatric MA field: administrative, clinical, and radiology.

To earn the PMAC certification, you must become a member of the ASPMA, and this membership may provide additional benefits, including:

  • Making connections in the podiatry profession
  • Opportunities to obtain continuing education and certification
  • Keeping you informed with educational articles from the ASPMA Journal
  • Professional recognition and prestige
  • Professional liability and health insurance

As always, be sure to check with your current or future employer to make sure they recognize the PMAC certification.

Stethoscope draped over a laptop

Key Advantages of PMAC Certification

  • Certification specific to podiatric medical assisting
  • Certification can be specialized in areas of administration, clinical, and radiology
  • Validates current knowledge and skills in key areas of podiatric MA responsibilities
  • Two ways to take the exam: Online or Written Form at several conference locations
  • The ASPMA exam is accredited and the only MA certification recognized by the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA)
  • Comprehensive Study Guide included with exam ($150 to purchase separately)
  • One year from registration date to take the exam
  • Recertification completed online

How Many Questions Are on the PMAC Exam?

There are three different PMAC exams. The number of questions on each exam are listed below.

Administrative: 390 questions

  • With online certification, you have 30 days to complete all sections of the exam from the start date of the first exam.

Clinical: 339 questions

  • With online certification, you have 30 days to complete all sections of the exam from the start date of the first exam.

Radiology: 135 questions

  • Both online and written exams are set for a 90-minute time limit. If you don’t pass the exam, you will have 30 days (from the day you took the exam) to do ONE free retake.

What Is on the PMAC Exam?

Eligible candidates can obtain the PMAC certification through three exam options: Administrative, Clinical, and Radiology. Each exam’s content is outlined below:

Administrative: 390 questions

  1. General Background
  2. Anatomy/Biomechanics
  3. Terminology
  4. Emergency Med & CPR
  5. Medical Jurisprudence
  6. Office Policy and Procedure
  7. Billing and Coding

Clinical: 339 questions

  1. General Background
  2. Anatomy/Biomechanics
  3. Terminology
  4. Emergency Med & CPR
  5. Clinical Testing & Procedures
  6. Surgical Assisting

Radiology: 135 questions

  1. Fundamentals of Healthcare and Podiatry
  2. A Brief History of the X-Ray
  3. Radiation Physics and Creating an Image
  4. Ionizing Radiation and Biological Effects
  5. Radiation Exposure
  6. X-Ray Equipment
  7. Radiation Safety and Protection
  8. Film Radiography
  9. Digital Imaging (including both Computed and Direct Radiography Systems)
  10. Quality Control and the Diagnostic Medical Physicist
  11. Anatomic Planes and Motion (including Directional Terminology)
  12. Positioning Techniques and Radiograph Views
  13. Advanced Imaging (including Directional Terminology)
  14. A Review of Radiology Terms
  15. Understanding Medical Terminology
  16. Anatomy and Physiology

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How Is the PMAC Exam Scored?

To pass the PMAC exam and become a certified podiatric medical assistant, you must obtain an overall score of at least 70% and not lower than 60% in any category. The exam includes six or seven categories, depending on which exam you take: Administrative, Clinical, or Radiology.

PMAC Exam Statistics

Below are the statistics on the PMAC Certification Exam for 2020.

Exams Administered: N/A

Exam Pass Rate: N/A

Total PMACs as 2020: N/A

PMAC Exam Locations

Two ways to take the exam:

  1. Online certification.
  2. Written form with a review course at several conference locations.

What are the Prerequisites for the PMAC Exam?

To be eligible for the PMAC exam, you must be a podiatric medical assistant employed in a podiatry office that is in good standings with the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA). You must also become a member of THE American Society of Podiatric Medical Assistants (ASPMA).

How to Register for the PMAC Exam

The PMAC exam is administered by the American Society of Podiatric Medical Assistants (ASPMA). You can register for the exam at the ASPMA website. You first need to become a member of ASPMA. Then register at least 30 days before any scheduled exam by submitting the registration form and fee to the Qualifying and Examining chairperson (contact information on website).

How Much Does It Cost to Take the PMAC Exam?

To take the PMAC exam, you must be a member of ASPMA. The new membership price is $120. The fees for the three PMAC exams are shown below (you only have to take and pass one of the three exams for certification):

  • Administrative: $400 (on hold for updating)
  • Clinical: $400
  • Radiology: $400

In addition, PMAC certification must be maintained annually in two ways:

  1. Annual membership renewal: $120
  2. Annual recertification fee: $65
  3. 20 Annual recertification credits (earned through Journal questionnaires answered and seminars and conferences attended the previous year)

How Many Times Can You Take the PMAC Exam?

Don’t worry. If you fail the PMAC exam, you can retake it. The rules for retaking the PMAC exam vary depending on the exam option, shown below.

Administrative: You must have an average score of 70% for all six sections to pass the entire exam. You are only allowed to retake two sections at $50 each. If you fail more than two sections, you must retake the entire test. All exams, including retakes must be completed within one year from date of exam purchase.

Clinical: You must have an average score of 70% for all six sections to pass the entire exam. You are only allowed to retake two sections at $50 each. If you fail more than two sections, you must retake the entire test. All exams, including retakes must be completed within one year from date of exam purchase.

Radiology: You must have a score of 80% or better to pass the exam. If you fail the exam, you will have 30 days to retake it for free. The entire exam, including the retake if required, must be completed within one year from date of exam purchase.

Nurse typing on a laptop

How Do I Study for the PMAC Exam?

There doesn’t appear to be any free study materials or practice tests available for the PMAC online. Also, we couldn’t find any training courses (online or on campus) specifically designed to prepare candidates for the PMAC exam.  To help you pass the PMAC exam on your first attempt, here are some helpful study tips:

  1. Know the Exam Topics: When you register for the PMAC exam, you will receive a comprehensive study guide. Study the guide thoroughly. Then review the guide, and re-study any of the topics you are not sure of.
  1. Schedule Study Times: Schedule set times each week to study for the PMAC exam. Remove all distractions during these periods. Start studying as soon as possible to avoid last-minute cramming and give yourself more time to review areas you are not confident about.
  1. Talk to Other PMAC Exam Takers: If you can find someone within your practice or another ASPMA member who has passed the PMAC exam, ask for their advice. Do they have any tips? Were they surprised by any questions? Are there areas they would suggest for added study?
  1. Treat Yourself Right: It’s important to be in good mental and physical shape when taking a test. Here are a few tips:
    • Before the test, get a good night’s sleep, eat a healthy meal, and drink plenty of water.
    • Pack smart snacks for ongoing energy.
    • Avoid stress as much as possible.
  1. Avoid Test Anxiety: Test anxiety can be debilitating during an exam. The symptoms can include the inability to concentrate, feelings of dread, fast heartbeat, headache, and nausea. Here are a few steps you can take to avoid test anxiety.
    • Study the material thoroughly. It may seem obvious, but nothing cures test anxiety like confidence in knowing your stuff.
    • Don’t worry about the other test takers. Scope out the whole test before you start, and allocate enough time for all sections.
    • Breathe calmly and think positively. The very act of concentrating on breathing and thinking can physically reduce anxiety.
    • Read the questions thoroughly and read all answers before making a choice.
    • Get to the test early, so there’s no rush.
    • Don’t worry! If you’ve studied the material, you should pass the test with flying colors.

Start by Earning Your MA Diploma at Eagle Gate College

Founded in 1979, Eagle Gate College has provided thousands of graduates with the knowledge and skills they need to pursue a rewarding career in nursing and healthcare. With a curriculum continually updated to meet the needs of healthcare, state-of-the-art labs, and hands-on training from experienced healthcare professionals, we prepare graduates to make a positive impact starting with their first day on the job. Our robust Medical Assisting program combines virtual instruction, hands-on lab exercises, and supervised externship and can be completed in as little as 9 months. Eagle Gate College, in conjunction with Provo College, offers a premier healthcare education at five campus locations in Utah and Idaho.