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How to Become a Medical Assistant in New Jersey

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that as of May 2013, there were 14,240 medical assistants working in the state of New Jersey, earning an average annual salary of $32,400, slightly higher than the national average for the profession.

Medical assistants working in different parts of New Jersey earned salaries even higher than the state average:

  • Those working in the Trenton-Ewing area earned $34,420 yearly
  • Those working in the White Plains, NY-Wayne, NJ metropolitan area averaged $34,060 per year
  • Those working in the Newark, NJ-Union, PA area earned an average annual salary of $33,510 annually

To become a highly qualified medical assistant in New Jersey, consider the steps shown in this guide:

Complete a Medical Assistant Education Program
Pass a Certification Examination
Pursue a Medical Assistant Job in New Jersey
Maintain Your Medical Assistant Credential

 


 

Step 1. Complete a Medical Assistant Education Program

Although New Jersey law does not require medical assistants to have any specific post-secondary education, the New Jersey Board of Medical Examiners promotes certification for medical assistants, which requires completion of an accredited medical assistant education program.

In order to become nationally certified through one of the organizations recognized by the New Jersey Board of Medical Examiners, you must graduate from a school accredited by one of the following organizations:

  • Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP):

    • Programs are located in:
      • Phillipsburg
      • Newton
      • Branchburg
      • Trenton
      • Clifton
      • Paramus
    • Programs lead to:
      • Medical Assistant Certificate
      • Medical Assistant Diploma
      • Associate of Science- Medical Assistant
      • Associate in Applied Science- Medical Assisting
      • Associate in Applied Science – Health Science

  • Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES):

    • Programs are located in:
      • Wayne
      • Morristown
      • Iselin
      • Lawrenceville
      • South Plainfield
      • Ocean Township
      • Egg Harbor Township
      • Voorhees
      • North Brunswick
    • Programs lead to:
      • Medical Assistant Certificate
      • Medical Assistant Diploma

Your medical assistant education must be at least 600 clock hours total. Courses that are found in medical assistant education programs in New Jersey should include titles such as:

  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Microbiology
  • Introductory Chemistry
  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Pathology
  • Pharmacology and Medication Administration
  • Health Care Law and Ethics
  • Therapeutic Communications
  • Computerized Office Procedures
  • Insurance, Coding and Managed Care
  • Clinical Assisting

Additionally, you must participate in an internship, or field experience, as part of your New Jersey medical assistant education. During this time, you will be placed into one of the many medical settings and facilities that work hand-in-hand with schools offering medical assistant education programs in New Jersey. You will demonstrate the competencies and perform the skills that you have learned in your program. Your performance will be graded by a hands-on supervisor (usually a licensed healthcare practitioner) and by a representative from your school.

 


 

Step 2. Pass a Certification Examination

National certification is not a must for medical assistants in New Jersey. However, in position statements, the New Jersey Board of Medical Examiners has made it clear that they recommend certification through one of the following organizations:

  • American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) – Certified Medical Assistant (CMA)
  • National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT)- National Certified Medical Assistant (NCMA)
  • American Medical Technologists (AMT)- Registered Medical Assistant (RMA)

Certification by all of the above organizations involves passing an examination. Prospective CMAs must pass the CMA Certification/Recertification Exam. It is offered at the following New Jersey Prometric test centers:

  • Laurel Spring
  • Hamilton
  • Clark
  • Fairlawn

Aspiring NCMAs must pass the NCMA Exam. It is offered at NCCT test sites, which are usually found in schools. Check with your school’s medical assistant education director to see if your school serves as a test site.

Prospective RMAs must pass the RMA Exam. It is administered at Pearson Vue testing centers in:

  • Princeton
  • Lincroft
  • Somerset
  • Edison

 


 

Step 3. Pursue a Medical Assistant Job in New Jersey

If you do not already have a medical assistant job lined up after passing your certification examination, your college’s career and counseling office should be able to help you to find one. Medical assistant jobs are found across the state of New Jersey in various types of medical settings.

Employers that support many of the medical assistant jobs in New Jersey include:

  • Newark Beth Israel Hospital – Newark
  • Patient First – Woodbury
  • Healthy Woman OBGYN – Freehold
  • Kennedy Health System- Voorhees
  • Atlantic Health System – Morristown
  • Catholic Health Initiatives – Denville
  • Essex Diagnostic Group – Point Pleasant Beach
  • Barnabas Health – Livingston
  • Department of Veterans Affairs – East Orange
  • Lourdes Health System – Woodbury
  • Fresenius Medical Care- Princeton

 


 

Step 4. Maintain Your Medical Assistant Credential

Congratulations! Your education, training and hard work has paid off, and you are now a medical assistant in New Jersey! Make sure to follow the proper steps to maintain your credential.

The CMA certification is valid for five years, during which time you must either re-take the certification/recertification exam again or complete 60 continuing education units (CEUs) (with at least half of your total CEUs approved by the AAMA).

Your NCMA credential renews annually. You must complete online continuing education courses and pay a renewal fee to maintain it.

Your RMA credential renews annually. Additionally, you must complete 30 certification points every three years per the AMT’s Certification Continuation Program (CCP).

Professional Organizations for Medical Assistants in New Jersey

CMAs in New Jersey should consider joining the New Jersey Society of Medical Assistants, the state’s AAMA chapter. This association is designed to bolster the knowledge, skills and professionalism of practicing certified medical assistants in the state.

RMAs in New Jersey might want to join the New Jersey State Society of AMT. The purpose of this association is to protect the rights of and further the professionalism of registered medical assistants in New Jersey.

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