Medical assistants perform a variety of administrative and clinical tasks in different healthcare facilities. These could be offices of physicians, hospitals or clinics. The nature of the job would vary according to the size of practice, specialty and location. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics lists the job duties of medical assistants as follows:

  • Record patient history and personal information
  • Measure vital signs, such as blood pressure
  • Help physicians with patient examinations
  • Give patients injections or medications as directed by physicians and as permitted by state law
    Schedule patient appointments
  • Prepare blood samples for laboratory tests
  • Enter patient information into medical records

In addition to these, medical assistants are required to keep all patient data confidential. They now have to work with Electronic Health Records (EHR) on a frequent basis, so understanding the relevant software is a must.
In the state of New Jersey, the New Jersey Society of Medical Assistants (NJSMA) enables “medical assisting professionals to enhance and demonstrate the knowledge, skills and professionalism required by employers and patients.” The organization also protects the rights of medical assistants and helps them promote efficient healthcare systems.
If you want to become a medical assistant in the state of New Jersey, the following guide will be of great help to you. It provides detailed information on the steps to become a medical assistant in New Jersey, along with an in-depth analysis of the salary trends in recent years for this occupation.

How to Become a Medical Assistant in New Jersey

The following step-by-step guide provides a comprehensive understanding of the ways to enter the medical assisting profession.

  1. Get a High School Diploma

This will be required by any educational or training program you apply to. In case you do not intend on going for a formal training program, you can skip step 2 and go straight to step 3. If you choose this path, you are recommended to take up particular courses while in high school. These would be courses in anatomy, biology, chemistry, computers and business.

  1. Get into a Medical Assisting Program

These programs are usually available at vocational colleges, community colleges and technical institutes. Students can either go for a certificate program, which is typically one year long, or an associate’s degree, which can take up to 2 years to complete. All programs for medical assistant training involve a theoretical and practical section that covers subjects like medical terminology and anatomy.

  1. Get the Required Training

This step is particularly important for those who don’t have any formal postsecondary education. A training session can be completed under the supervision of a physician or a senior medical assistant. This training should ideally cover topics such as medical terminology, names of instruments, patient interactions and other tasks to keep office functions running smoothly. The length of this training can be a few weeks to several months long, depending on the facility.

  1. Get Certified

Even though most states do not make this mandatory, many employers have known to show preference for certified medical assistants. Several organizations offer certification options for medical assistants in New Jersey. The National Commission for Certifying Agencies, part of the Institute for Credentialing Excellence, accredits the following five certification options for medical assistants:

  • Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) from the American Association of Medical Assistants
  • Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) from American Medical Technologists
  • National Certified Medical Assistant (NCMA) from the National Center for Competency Testing
  • Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) from the National Healthcareer Association
  • Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) from the National Healthcareer Association

The above data has been extracted from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, for the occupation of medical assistants.

How Much Do Medical Assistants Make in New Jersey?

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics lists the 2018 annual mean salary figure for Medical Assistants in New Jersey as $35,840. The following table will help you understand this figure better, with a comparative analysis.

2016 2017 2018
Annual Mean Salary (MA) $35,250 $35,770 $35,840
Annual Mean Salary (US) $32,850 850 $33 $34,540

Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics
The table shows a gradual increase in the income of medical assistants in New Jersey, from the years 2016 to 2018. It also shows that the medical assistant salary in New Jersey has remained higher than the annual mean for the whole of USA.