A Guide to Medical Assisting Education in New York

With 10,000 baby boomers entering the Medicare age of 65 every day, the U.S. 65+ population, now comprising 15% of all Americans, is projected to double over the next decade.

This rapidly aging group holds great promise for those entering the medical field at practically any level (specialist doctors, general physicians, nurses, medical assistants, and others). [Leer en español]

Earning your diploma is a great first career step that embarks you into this vastly promising medical field. Medical assistants are critical to the effective functioning of most medical centers, whether in doctors’ offices, hospitals, and wherever else people go for their health needs.

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Types of Medical Assistants

There are three types of medical assistants: certified, registered, and licensed.

The duties of each vary slightly, but all work under the supervision of a licensed physician and perform both clinical and administrative tasks.

Medical assistants may be responsible for a wide variety of tasks in their day-to-day work, from greeting patients as they come into scheduling appointments, and handling insurance paperwork.

In some states, medical assistants may be able to perform more advanced tasks like taking x-rays or administering immunizations, but this varies by state.

Clinical Duties of a Medical Assistant

The clinical duties of a medical assistant include:

  • Vital signs – taking patients’ blood pressure, temperature, and heart rate
  • Recording medical histories
  • Preparing patients for examination
  • Assisting the physician during examinations
  • Drawing blood and performing laboratory tests
  • Administering medications as directed by a physician
  • Instructing patients on taking medications and special diets
  • Scheduling follow-up appointments

Administrative Duties of a Medical Assistant

The administrative duties of a medical assistant include:

  • Answering phones
  • Greeting patients
  • Updating and filing patient medical records
  • Billing and coding insurance forms
  • Scheduling appointments
  • Arranging for hospital admissions and laboratory services
  • Completing insurance forms

New York State Requirements for Medical Assistants

There is a distinction in New York between “medical assistant” and “certified medical assistant”.

Medical assistants

For medical assistants, the State of New York does not have any specific licensing or certification requirements, other than being aware of the regulations of the New York Medical Board. The Board empowers licensed health care providers, at their discretion, to train employees, either through a formal study program, by way of hands-on training, or both. The licensed health practitioner can however require that the medical assistant they hire be certified.

Certified medical assistants in New York

While the State of New York does not have any certification requirements, you can obtain a certificate through one of these two certifying institutions, both accredited by the New York Medical Board:

  • You can get a national certification as a Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) from American Medical Technologists (AMT). AMT provides a list of study requirements that lead to the exam you must pass to obtain your certification.
  • Or you can also get nationally certified as a Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). They require that you first graduate from an accredited medical assisting program (CAAHEP1 or ABHES2), then sit for their exam.

Exams for the AMT’s RMA certification are performed at Pearson VUE test centers.

The national AAMA Certified Medical Assistant exams are performed at Prometric test centers.

Registered medical assistants in New York

Registered Medical Assistants (RMAs) are those who have met the requirements to take and pass the national certification exam administered by the American Medical Technologists (AMT).

You must have graduated from a medical assisting program that is accredited by either the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES).

You will then need to submit an application to AMT along with the required fee. Once your application has been processed, you will be given a date and time to take the certification exam.

The RMA credential is valid for 5 years, after which you will need to retake the exam to maintain your credential.

There are no specific requirements from the state of New York to become an RMA, but many employers prefer to hire those who have this credential.

Licensed medical assistants in NewYork

There is no specific license required to work as a medical assistant in New York, but some employers may prefer to hire those who are licensed.

The State of New York does have licensing requirements for other allied health professions, such as nurses and physical therapists.

However, the state does not have a licensing process for medical assistants.

Instead, the state relies on certification from national organizations, like the American Medical Technologists (AMT) or the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA).

These organizations have their requirements for certification, which generally include completing an accredited medical assisting program and passing a national exam.

Once you have met these requirements, you will be able to use the credential “RMA” (Registered Medical Assistant) or “CMA” (Certified Medical Assistant), respectively.

The job outlook in Medical Assisting

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay for medical assistants in the U.S. was $18.20 per hour, or $37,860 per year, with a typical entry-level education of post-secondary vocational.

For the entire country, the demand for assistants is estimated to grow by 16% over the period 2021 to 2031.

There were 743,500 medical assistants in New York in 2021, estimated to grow by 117,800 by 2031, for a total of 861,300. This represents a growth rate of 27% for those years.

Salaries for Medical Assistants in New York

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), salary ranges are as follows:

New York’s overall mean hourly wage =  $18.20 (this compares with $18.65 in California, $17.08 in Texas, and $17.65 in Florida). The corresponding mean annual wage for New York is $37,860.

The New York annual mean entry-level wage (lowest 10%) is $14.42 ($29,990 on an annual basis). This goes up to a mean hourly wage of $17.77 for the first 25% ($36,960 on an annual basis).

The Florida annual median hourly wage for the first 25% is $14.27, increasing to $18.20 for the first 75% ($37,860 annually), and $22.23 for the first 90% ($46,240 annually). The top 10% can naturally earn more.

New York entry-level (First 10%) wages break down into the following sample of regions:

  • New York-Newark-Jersey City: hourly mean wage of $18.29 ($38,040 annually)
  • Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Niagara Falls: hourly mean wage of $17.97 ($37,380 annually)
  • New York-Jersey City-White Plains, NY-NJ Metropolitan Division: hourly mean wage of $17.13 ($35,630 annually)
  • Rochester: hourly mean wage of $17.59 ($36,590 annually)
  • Utica-Rome: hourly mean wage of $17.48 ($36,360 annually)

Well-Known Schools in New York

The first thing to do is pick from the list we provide those schools that are close to you and research them carefully. Generally, a one-year diploma at a vocational school costs $1,200-$4,000+, depending on each program. The same can cost $2,500-$10,000 for an associate’s degree at a community college. Given these disparities, you will need to contact the school of your choice and ask about tuition costs and other expenses.

Description of what a few typical schools offer:

Allen School- Brooklyn

Located at 188 Montague Street, Brooklyn, New York 11202 (888-620-6745), and with other campuses in JamaicaQueens, and Phoenix (Oswego County), Allen School, in operation for over 60 years, offers a Medical Assistant program that takes 9 months. They are accredited by the Council on Occupational education. This program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (www.caahep.org).

Branford Hall Career Institute-Albany

Located at 500 New Karner Road, Albany, New York 12205 (800-959-7599), and with other campuses in Bohemia-New York, nearby Connecticut, and New Jersey, this institute offers a one-year certificate program in day or evening classes. Their campus consists of 11 classrooms and labs that are fully equipped, including EKG instrumentation, blood chemistry machines, microscopes, and oscilloscopes. Their program is accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools.

Bryant & Stratton College-Amherst (and Online)

Helping students pursue their careers since 1854, this college is located at 3650 Millersport Highway, Getzville, New York 14068 (716-625-6300). They also have other NY campuses in AlbanyRochesterSyracuse, and Western New York. They offer a 38-credit Associate Medical Assisting degree that is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (www.caahep.org), as well as the New York State Board of Regents, and the Commissioner of Education.

Hunter Business School-Levittown

Located at 3601 Hempstead Turnpike, Unit 19, Levittown, New York 11756 (516-796-1000), and with another campus in Medford, this school offers a 910-hour Medical Assistant Diploma program that can be completed in 7.5 months of daytime classes or 15 months of evening classes. This program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (www.caahep.org),

Employment Options for Medical Assistants

Employment options are plentiful in New York. To cite just one example of the Queens/Brooklyn area, there are numerous hospitals, specialized doctors’ offices, and other medical centers to which you could apply. Here are but a few:

  • Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
  • New York University hospital
  • Adventist Health
  • Mount Sinai Hospital
  • Queens Medical & Cardiology clinic
  • LabCorp – R. Hill
  • Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center
  • Maimonides Medical Center
  • The Center for Allergy, Asthma, and immunology
  • Shiel Medical Laboratory

References

1 CAAHEP refers to the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs

2 ABHES refers to Accredited Bureau of Health Education Schools

Popular Medical Assistant Schools in New York

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FAQs

How much do medical assistants earn in the state of New York?

According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical assistants in the state of New York made an average of $37,860 per year in 2021. Entry-level medical assistants earned around $29,990 and some experienced professionals earned salaries as high as $48,510.

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