Medical assisting is a fast-growing healthcare career field in New Jersey. Health settings like outpatient clinics and physicians’ offices hire medical assistants to enhance and streamline the operations of their practices. These cross-trained professionals are highly valued employees, because they serve both administrative and clinical support roles. Medical assistant office duties include medical billing, insurance coding and appointment scheduling. Clinical duties include administering injections and taking patients’ vital signs.[Leer en español]
Becoming a Medical Assistant in New Jersey
Requirements for Becoming a Medical Assistant in New Jersey
Unlike other states, New Jersey has strict regulations regarding the duties of medical assistants. For example, the New Jersey State Board of Medical Examiners requires medical assistants who administer injections to hold Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) credentials. Because healthcare offices prefer to hire medical assistants with more skills, those in New Jersey who wish to become medical assistants should pursue an accredited training program and obtain their CMA.
Medical Assistant Training and Educational Programs in New Jersey
Because the CMA credential is so valued in New Jersey, accredited training programs are available across the state.New Jersey medical assistants who will administer injections must obtain credentials through a program accredited by any of the following associations: National Healthcare Association (NHA), Committee on Allied Health Education and Accreditation (CAHEA), Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES).
- Bergen Community College. This school, located in Paramus, offers a Medical Office Assistant Associate Degree and a Medical Office Administrative Assistant Certificate. While the associate degree prepares students to take the CMA exam, the certificate option focuses training more on office duties.
- Berkeley College.With locations in Newark, Woodbridge and Woodland Park, this school offers a 30-credit Medical Assistant Certificate program as well as a two-year Medical Assisting Associate Degree. Graduates of these programs become eligible to take the CMA exam and earn further medical assistant credentials.
Certification for Becoming a Medical Assistant in New Jersey
The most commonly sought medical assistant credential is the CMA, which requires training through a CAAHEP- or ABHES-accredited program. Additional certifications are available to increase medical assistants’ qualifications.New Jersey CMAs must also maintain certification with the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA), National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT), American Medical Technologists (AMT) or any other state-approved association.
Career Outlook and Salary Expectations for Medical Assistants in New Jersey
Because of massive growth in the healthcare sector, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that New Jersey medical assistant employment will grow by 23 percent from 2016 to 2026. With an estimated 2,730 annual medical assistant job openings, New Jersey is an ideal place to get started in the field.
Medical assistant pay in New Jersey is also stronger than the national average. In 2017, New Jersey medical assistants earned a mean income of $17.20 per hour, while the national mean income rate for medical assistants was $16.15 per hour. This pay rate is double New Jersey’s minimum wage of $8.60 per hour.
Working as a Medical Assistant in New Jersey
When seeking employment, New Jersey medical assistants may be likely find jobs in Newark, which employed 5,550 medical assistants in 2017. The BLS also reported that the highest paid medical assistants in New Jersey were in Newark and Trenton, with mean income rates of $17.87 and $17.44, respectively.
Since medical assistant requirements are stricter in New Jersey, certification fees can be competitive. There are several medical assistant scholarship programs available to residents of New Jersey, to help students pay for training and certification costs. A benefit to New Jersey’s strict regulation of medical assistants is that pay is more competitive as a result. The state of New Jersey takes medical assisting seriously, and with the field’s projected growth, this career may be a great option for those in New Jersey who are interested in pursuing a healthcare career.
How much do medical assistants earn in the state of New Jersey?
According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical assistants in the state of New Jersey made an average of $37,330 per year in 2019. Entry-level medical assistants earned around $27,620 and some experienced professionals earned salaries as high as $49,390.