Female healthcare professional on a laptop

How to Pass the PMAC Exam

Advance Your Medical Assisting Career by Earning the Podiatric Medical Assistant Certification

Female healthcare professional on a laptop

Medical Assistants (MAs) can often find better jobs—or advance the position they already have—by earning optional certifications. Certification shows they possess the knowledge and skills needed to excel at their job. Some employers require these credentials for all new MAs. You’ll also find that some certifications are more valuable for the type of physician’s office in which you want to work.

The Podiatric Medical Assistant (PMAC) is a specialized certification for MAs who work in a podiatrist’s office. The PMAC exam is offered through American Medical Technologists (AMT) and was featured in our article about the five best Medical Assistant certifications for your career. The report provides an overview of certification options and some of the advantages of each.

This article serves as a PMAC exam study guide that includes detailed information on the format and content of the exam, as well as valuable PMAC exam tips and study suggestions on how to pass the PMAC exam the first time.

What Is the PMAC Exam?

Passing the Podiatric Medical Assistant Certified (PMAC) exam distinguishes MAs with the standard for excellence in the profession of Podiatric Medical Assisting. This test is for podiatric Medical Assistants employed in a podiatry office that are in good standing with the American Society of Podiatric Medical Assistants (ASPMA).

The ASPMA promotes, fosters, improves, sustains, and advances the profession of Podiatric Medical Assistants. Their goal is to elevate the standard of education of PMAs. The ASPMA also plays a role in advancing the podiatric medical profession and improving public health.

If you would like to know more about getting on the path to a new career as a Medical Assistant, you can read more about How to Become a Medical Assistant.

Is the PMAC Exam Hard?

The PMAC exam is three different exams: you can choose to take one or more of them. Each requires preparation and study. When candidates prepare diligently, they can successfully pass the exam on the first attempt. So, the honest answer is that the exams are only challenging if you fail to prepare. But if you take advantage of the study guides and reinforce your knowledge, you’ll find you can earn a passing score.

How Many Questions Are on the PMAC Exam?

The answer varies for each of the three exams. The Administrative exam includes 390 questions (pending the new update), the Clinical Exam is 339 questions, and the Radiology exam has 135 questions.

What Score Do You Need to Pass the PMAC Exam?

  • To pass the Administrative exam, you must achieve an overall 70% or higher score.
  • To pass the Clinical exam, you must achieve an overall score of 70% or higher and no lower than 60% in any category.
  • To pass the Radiology exam, you must score 80% or higher.

Who Is Qualified to Take the PMAC Exam?

The PMAC certification is for Medical Assistants who work in a podiatry office with a DPM in good standing with the American Podiatric Medical Association. You must become a member of ASPMA to register for and take the exam.

How Do You Register for the PMAC Exam?

Healthcare professional typing on a laptop

Once you’ve reviewed some tips on how to pass the PMAC exam, the next step is registering for it. You must be a member of ASPMA to sign in and register for an examination. A one-time membership fee is $100.

There are two ways to take the PMAC exam:

  1. Online certification: The Clinical and Radiology certification exams can be taken online. You have 30 days to complete all sections of the exam from the start date of the first exam. To register, visit the online portal
  2. Written form with a review course at several conference locations: Check the ASPMA calendar for possible PMAC exam test dates by checking to see if your state has an upcoming review and exam scheduled.

How Much Does It Cost to Take the PMAC Exam?

The cost of the PMAC exam depends on which of the three exams you plan to take. You must complete the exam within one year of purchase. Currently, the costs are as follows:

Administrative exam: To be announced after the current update

Clinical exam: $400

Radiology exam: $400

What Is on the PMAC Exam?

The PMAC exam tests applicants in many aspects of podiatric medicine. The three exam options are:

The Administrative exam (390 questions), the Clinical Exam (339 questions), and the Radiology exam (135 questions).

Administrative Exam: 390 questions

  • General Background
  • Anatomy/Biomechanics
  • Terminology
  • Emergency Med & CPR
  • Medical Jurisprudence
  • Office Policy and Procedure
  • Billing and Coding

Clinical Exam: 339 Questions

  • General Background
  • Anatomy/Biomechanics
  • Terminology
  • Emergency Med & CPR
  • Clinical Testing & Procedures
  • Surgical Assisting

Radiology Exam: 135 Questions

  • Fundamentals of Healthcare and Podiatry
  • A Brief History of the X-Ray
  • Radiation Physics and Creating an Image
  • Ionizing Radiation and Biological Effects
  • Radiation Exposure
  • X-Ray Equipment
  • Radiation Safety and Protection
  • Film Radiography
  • Digital Imaging (Computed and Direct)
  • Quality Control and the Diagnostic Medical Physicist
  • Anatomic Planes and Motion
  • Positioning Techniques and Radiograph Views
  • Advanced Imaging
  • A Review of Radiology Terms
  • Understanding Medical Terminology
  • Anatomy and Physiology

How Do You Study for the PMAC Exam?

Following are some tips on how to pass the PMAC exam—including using the study guides provided by ASPMA. The best PMAC exam strategies include studying from the applicable study guide and other resources, such as current medical assisting publications and textbooks.

Close up of stethoscope and textbooks

1. Create Your PMAC Exam Study Plan

As with most MA certification exams, studying is key to passing the PMAC exam. A great way to learn is to create and follow a study plan. First, identify the time of day and the number of hours you plan to study each day or week. Next, decide which topics or resources you will review during each study period.

2. Review the Exam Content

Review the exam topics for each test you plan to take: The Administrative exam (pending the new update), the Clinical Exam, and the Radiology exam. You can also opt for dual certification, which means you’ll want to study both the Clinical and Radiology topics.

3. Get Familiar with the Exam Study Guides

We suggest you purchase the comprehensive study guides as part of your study plan. You can buy the Administrative Study Guide (after the Administration materials are updated), the Clinical Study Guide, or the Radiology Study Guide. Each study guide is $150. Remember, for dual certification, you’ll want to purchase both the Clinical and Radiology Study Guides.

4. Review Third-Party Resources

You can also supplement your studies with third-party materials. This can include publications, textbooks, and interactive resources. One example of an interactive resource is the PMAC exam flashcards by Quizlet. This can help you quickly learn standard podiatric terms and definitions. You can then take a practice test to help you gauge your level of mastery.

5. Get Ready for Exam Day

If you follow your study plan, you’ll find that you’ll feel confident and ready well before exam day arrives. When it does, get plenty of sleep the night before. Arrive focused and prepared to do your best. Take your time and answer every question. Your hard work will pay off.

How Many Times Can You Take the PMAC Exam?

If you don’t pass your exam the first time, you can retake an exam. You can retake two sections of the Administrative or Clinical exams for $50 each. If you failed more than two sections, you must retake the entire exam.

You can retake the Radiology exam within 30 days for free (this is the only exam that offers this option). Otherwise, you must retake the entire exam within a year.

Once certified, you will be required to obtain an annual total of 20 recertification credits to maintain your certification. You can do this by participating in seminars, conferences, and journal questionnaires.

Why Enroll In a Medical Assisting Program?

Mini graduate cap balanced on a stethoscope

Even if you’re considering working in a specialized clinic such as a podiatrist’s office, a program like the medical assisting program at Brookline College will provide a solid foundation for preparing to take and pass the PMAC exam.

Completing a program accredited by an approved regional or national accreditation agency helps you qualify for the PMAC exam. It’s also the best type of PMAC exam prep and—combined with creating a study plan—can help you pass the exam on your first try.

Brookline College’s Phoenix, Tucson, Tempe, and Albuquerque campuses are accredited by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES).