How to Become a Medical Assistant in New York

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The U.S. Department of Labor reported that as of May 2013, there were 23,170 medical assistants employed in the state of New York. This represented a ratio of 2.68 medical assistant jobs for every one thousand jobs in the state.

New York’s medical assistants earned at an average of $33,370 that same year, an average annual salary that is considerably higher than the national average for this profession. Medical assistants in certain areas of the state did even better. For example, medical assistants in the White Plains area averaged $34,060 per year; and those working in the Nassau-Suffolk area earned an average of $34,370.

Although medical assistants are not licensed in New York, the New York State Board of Medicine has outlined some duties that medical assistants may and may not perform as unlicensed healthcare professionals. The Board notes that all unlicensed medical assistants must be supervised at all times by the licensed healthcare practitioners that delegate tasks to them.

Follow these steps to become a highly qualified medical assistant in New York:

Complete a New York Medical Assistant Education Program
Consider Taking a Certification Examination
Maintain Your Medical Assistant Credential



Step 1. Complete a New York Medical Assistant Education Program

Without formal education and training, you would find it difficult to meet the job qualifications that employers in New York have in place for medical assistants.

When searching for medical assistant education programs in New York, consider those that are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). Choosing an accredited program will make it easier to become nationally certified later, if you so choose.

CAAHEP-accredited programs in New York are found within these cities:

  • New York
  • Buffalo
  • Binghamton
  • Poughkeepsie
  • Forest Hills
  • Sanborn
  • Levittown
  • Rochester
  • Williamsville
  • Elmira
  • Syracuse
  • Rochester
  • Buffalo
  • Albany
  • Brooklyn

ABHES-accredited programs in New York are found within these cities:

  • New York
  • Jamaica
  • Rego Park
  • Staten Island
  • Brooklyn
  • New Rochelle

Accredited medical assistant education programs in New York lead to the following outcomes:

  • Associate of Occupational Science – Medical Assistant
  • Associate of Applied Science – Medical Assisting
  • Certificate – Medical Assistant
  • Diploma-Medical Assistant

Many medical assistant schools in New York require that you complete coursework in biology and mathematics prior to enrolling. Courses that will be part of your medical assistant curriculum include:

  • Medical Law and Ethics
  • Medical Administrative Practice
  • Medical Terminology
  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Clinical Office Procedures
  • Coding, Classification and Reimbursement Systems
  • Pharmacology
  • Microbiology
  • Interpersonal Communication
  • Electronic Medical Records
  • Medical Documentation
  • Professionalism in the Medical Office

You will also participate in a practicum in which you will be placed into a real-life medical office or facility to perform the duties of a medical assistant. This internship will be unpaid and usually last for a minimum of 160 hours. Examples of possible placement locations include:

  • Our Lady of Lourdes Memorial Hospital – Binghamton
  • St Francis Hospital – Merrick
  • Long Island Plastic Surgical Group P.C. – New York
  • NYU Langone Medical Center – New York
  • Orthopedic Associates of Dutchess County P.C. – Poughkeepsie
  • South Shore Neurologic Associates, P.C. – Southampton
  • AdvantageCare Physicians – Valley Stream
  • North Shore LIJ Health System – New Hyde Park
  • Guthrie Healthcare System –Corning
  • White Plains Hospital- White Plains



Step 2. Consider Taking a Certification Examination

Just as New York State government does not mandate education, neither does it require national certification for medical assistants practicing in the state. However, most medical groups, including the New York State Society of Medical Assistants, recommend Certified Medical Assistant (CMA certification through the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA).

In order to receive this credential, you must pass the CMA Certification/Recertification Exam. This exam will test your knowledge of what you have learned in your medical assistant education program:

  • General medical knowledge, such as:
    • Anatomy
    • Physiology
    • Terminology
    • Medical law and ethics
    • Behavioral science

  • Clinical knowledge, such as:
    • Preparing and administering medications
    • Examination room techniques
    • Pharmacology
    • Laboratory Procedures

  • Administrative knowledge, such as:
    • Collections
    • Medical records management
    • Insurance processing

The test is administered at Prometric test centers. In New York, these are found in:

  • Queens
  • New York
  • Brooklyn
  • Westbury
  • Purchase
  • Melville
  • Poughkeepsie



Step 3. Maintain Your Medical Assistant Credential

Congratulations! You are now a Certified Medical Assistant in New York!

Some of the duties that medical assistants in New York may perform include (but are not limited to):

  • Assisting a licensed practitioner to carry out a task (such as positioning a patient for bandaging)
  • Taking laboratory specimens such as blood work
  • Performing ECGs
  • Measuring vital signs
  • Administrative work such as billing or medical records

Some duties medical assistants in New York may not perform include (but are not limited to):

  • First assisting in surgical procedures
  • Applying casts
  • Taking x-rays
  • Independently positioning patients for x-rays
  • Placing or removing sutures
  • Administering contrast dyes or injections
  • Administering medications
  • Triage

Your CMA credential is valid for 60 months. At the end of this renewal period, you may either re-take the recertification/certification exam, or complete 60 continuing education units (CEUs) to maintain your credential. Consult the AAMA continuing education website for more information.

Professional Organizations for Medical Assistants in New York

The leading professional society for New York medical assistants is the New York State Society of Medical Assistants. Its purpose is to support medical assistants in the state as they work to demonstrate the professionalism, knowledge and skills that New York’s employers require. The New York State Society of Medical Assistants also works to protect the rights of New York’s medical assistants and promotes the hiring of certified medical assistants throughout the state.

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