How to Become an AMT (CMLA) - Certified Medical Laboratory Assistant

American Medical Technologists (AMT), founded in 1939, is a globally recognized membership society that provides certification for allied health professionals. Some of the certifications it provides are in the following three categories: medical and dental office (registered medical assistant, certified medical administrative specialist, and registered dental assistant), laboratory (medical technologist, medical laboratory technician, registered phlebotomy technician, certified medical laboratory assistant, and clinical laboratory consultant), and health education (allied health instructor).

American Medical Technologists (AMT) encourages allied health professionals to provide the best quality of patient care. Its certification exams ensure that certified candidates are well-qualified and have the necessary technical skills, knowledge, and professionalism expected from both patients and employers.

Getting an AMT certification is a mark of competency and carries value. Additionally, AMT provides educational opportunities for those it certifies, so they can continue honing their skills and making an impact in any healthcare setting.

AMT’s certification exams have been accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA). Those who certify with AMT automatically become a member of this professional society and can avail themselves of some benefits.

Why Certify with American Medical Technologists (AMT)?

  • Required by employers – Certification with the AMT shows commitment to professionalism and quality patient care. Thus, employers require that their allied health professionals possess this certification. Certification is also important for professionals to keep pace with the latest developments in their field. Further, it proves that a candidate has the required skills and knowledge to do the job.
  • Recognition – AMT exams are accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA), a recognition reserved only for organizations meeting NCCA standards.
  • Professional Administration – American Medical Technologists (AMT) certification examinations are administered and developed by AMT psychometricians. They also have inputs from a committee of subject-matter experts who either teach or work within their respective fields.
  • Secure Exam Delivery – For maintaining the authenticity of AMT exams, considerable resources are employed to ensure there is maximum security and standard procedures have been duly followed. All the exams are conducted in strictly monitored academic sites and Pearson VUE testing centers worldwide. Moreover, Pearson VUE is globally recognized for its accessibility and quality.
  • Solid Industry Reputation – AMT-certified professionals are preferred by several governing bodies and healthcare systems across the country. Its reputation is well known among employers, students, and training programs.

Medical Laboratory Assistant (CMLA) Certification Eligibility

Medical laboratory assistant (CMLA) certification applicants should meet one of the following eligibility criteria to qualify for certification:

Route 1 – Education: The applicant should be a graduate of (or scheduled to graduate from) a program including at least 200 didactic clock hours and a minimum of 120 documented and approved hours of clinical laboratory experience. In addition, at least 100 of the 200 didactic clock hours must be devoted to fundamental laboratory technology studies. They must have completed this within the previous five years.

Route 2 – Work experience: Applicants must have completed at least 1,040 hours of work experience within the previous three years, with a major focus being on laboratory technology. A minimum of 520 of those hours must be specifically in clinical lab duties.

AMT (CMLA) for International Applicants

Candidates who have completed their education abroad must submit a course-by-course evaluation process through an approved agency such as World Education Services (WES) or Educational Credential Evaluators, Inc. (ECE).

Please note that the AMT (CMLA) credential is only valid in the U.S.

How to Become an AMT Certified Medical Laboratory Assistant (CMLA)

Here are the steps to applying for the certified medical laboratory assistant (CMLA) certification:

  1. Submit an application – Students must obtain the application and review the eligibility requirements for the designation in which they wish to be certified. Candidates should pay special attention to the documents required when submitting the application. Candidates also must track the status of their application via the AMT website. It must be noted that the $135 application fee for the CMLA certification is non-refundable.
  2. Await an email confirmation from AMT indicating that you have been approved to sit for the certification exam – After submitting a completed application, candidates should look forward to an email confirmation from the AMT indicating that they have been approved to test. On receiving approval, an “Authorization to Test” letter will be issued, including all the details necessary to schedule an examination.
  3. Schedule a test administration session – All AMT examinations are administered by computer at a Pearson VUE testing center. After receiving an “Authorization to Test” letter from AMT, students can make an appointment at the testing center. Candidates are advised to make appointments to test as soon as possible to select a time, date, and test center location that best accommodates their schedules.
  4. Attend the examination administration – When attending the examination administration, candidates must bring two forms of identification, bearing their name and signature, and at least one with a photograph. They are also advised to bring a watch. Please note that calculators are not permitted in the exam room. Examinees should be present at the administration site at least 30 minutes prior to the scheduled examination time; late arrivals may be refused admittance. They would then have to pay a reexamination fee and reschedule their test.
  5. Receive examination results – Candidates will receive the results of their test immediately, as soon as their computer-based test is complete. Results will not be relayed to the candidates via email, phone, transmission, or facsimile.

Candidates that fail their test and still wish to be certified will have to retake the entire exam. They are allowed to retake the exam three additional times, up to a total of four times, to receive certification. The examination may be rescheduled and retaken 45 days after the failed attempt.

AMT (CMLA) Exam Format and Content

The AMT certification examination consists of 200 four-option, multiple-choice questions. Examinees will be required to select one from among the four alternatives. Multiple answers will be scored as incorrect. The minimum passing score for an examination is translated into the number 70 (on a scale ranging from 0 to 100).

To pass the examination, a candidate must obtain a scaled score of 70 or higher. Candidates who receive a failing score will need to retake the entire exam. Retesting fee for CMLA certification is $100. Candidates can retake the exam no sooner than 45 days from the previous attempt.

The general content outline for the CMLA certification examination is divided into the following four work areas:

  1. Laboratory Safety and Quality (45 questions – 22.5 percent of the exam)
    This area includes topics such as safety standards, infection control procedures, OSHA regulations, quality assessment, quality control, and confirmatory testing.
  2. Pre-examination (Preanalytical) Considerations (36 questions – 18 percent of the exam)
    This area includes topics such as phlebotomy, patient test management, and specimen collection.
  3. Examination (Analytical) Considerations (83 questions – 41.5 percent of the exam)
    This involves topics such as chemistry, hematology, immunology, serology, immunohematology, microbiology, urinalysis, and basic anatomy and physiology.
  4. Patient Test Management, Communications, and Foundations (36 questions – 18 percent of the exam)
    This work area includes topics such as legal, ethical, confidential, and professional considerations, HIPAA, patient’s bill of rights, clerical skills, communications, and interpersonal relations.

Attending the AMT (CMLA) Exam

Examinees are advised to be present at the administration site at least 30 minutes before the scheduled examination time. Examinees arriving late may be refused admittance by the Pearson VUE proctor. Late arrivals may not be allowed to enter the center, and if they still wish to take the exam, they will have to pay a reexamination fee and schedule another testing appointment.

As mentioned above, all candidates are required to carry two forms of matching identification, and at least one with a photograph. Examinees not providing acceptable identification will not be allowed to sit for the test. It is advisable that the candidates bring a watch along; however, calculators are not permitted. Also, candidates are not allowed to have visitors in the examination room.

Candidates will have two-and-a-half hours to complete this examination. Examinees are not permitted to continue taking the test beyond the given time limit.

AMT (CMLA) Examination Results

Candidates will receive their exam results immediately after completing the test. Test results appear on the screen and a paper copy of the results is provided by the proctor. The results are provided to examinees in writing only and are not available via telephone. Once certification is granted, applicants automatically become members of the AMT and can then take advantage of the various benefits it offers.

Maintaining & Renewing AMT (CMLA) Certification

Candidates who meet all application requirements and pass the certification examination become certified by AMT. They will then receive materials and information describing the benefits and responsibilities bestowed on them. In addition, they will be given a membership certificate and a digital member card. As certified members of AMT, candidates can participate in the organization’s professional activities.

To maintain an active certified status, a candidate must:

  • Pay an annual fee – Certified candidates must pay an annual fee to keep their membership status in the AMT active. This fee pays for all the benefits that members enjoy. The fee for a medical lab assistant (CMLA) is $60.
  • Comply with the Certification Continuation Program (CCP) – The program requires all certified candidates to participate in, and document activities supporting the continuation of AMT certification every three years. There are no fees associated with the Certification Continuation Program in particular, although an annual renewal fee is required to maintain an active certified member status. Depending on the certification that a member has acquired, they will have to collect a given number of points over a period of three years. For instance, the points needed for a medical laboratory technician (MLT) or medical technologist (MT) are 45 and those for a medical lab assistant (CMLA) are 30. Certified members not meeting CCP requirements, or members who are audited and do not provide documentation, will be considered non-compliant and lose their certified status.
  • Abide by the AMT Standards of Practice – The AMT Board of Directors has adopted Standards of Practice which define the pillars of competent, ethical, and honorable behavior for AMT-certified allied healthcare professionals.

Recertification for AMT (CMLA)

If candidates lose their active status and wish to recertify with the AMT, they must comply with the CCP or pass the AMT certification exam again. The recertification fee for a medical technologist (MT) or a medical laboratory technician (MLT) is $310, and for a medical assistant (RMA) or a medical laboratory assistant (CMLA) is $205. If it has been longer than ten years since a candidate’s certification lapsed, they may only recertify via examination.

Online Practice Exams – AMT (CMLA)

American Medical Technologists (AMT) offers online practice exams that benefit candidates preparing for the certification exam. Whether one is preparing for the medical assisting (RMA), phlebotomy, medical technologist (MT), or medical laboratory technician (MLT) exams, the AMT practice exams will help candidates review the material, gain confidence, and essentially be at ease about the exam.

Farheen Gani
Farheen Gani Writer

Farheen Gani has immense knowledge about medical technology schools, having researched topics such as medical billing and coding, health information management, nursing informatics, and biotechnology degree programs since 2018. She is a freelance writer, marketer, and researcher. She writes about healthcare, technology, education, and marketing. Her work has appeared on websites such as Tech in Asia and Foundr, as well as top SaaS blogs such as Zapier and InVision. You can connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter (@FarheenGani).