New Jersey Medical Assistant Guide

Career Description

Medical assistants in New Jersey work for doctors and under nurses’ supervision.  They help take care of patients and run an office efficiently.  The duties given to medical assistants can be easily divided between clinical and administrative responsibilities.

Clinical Responsibilities:

  • Clean medical instruments
  • Administer shots
  • Record medical histories
  • Help during patient examinations

Administrative Responsibilities:

  • Bill patients
  • Gather insurance information
  • Update records

Certified Medical Assistants in New Jersey

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Certification is not required of medical assistants, but most employed assistants are certified with one of the following organizations.

The AAMA’s certification steps, which are listed below, are indicative of how one would become certified with any of these agencies.

First Step:  Find a Training Program

CMAs must attend an approved training program, which will be accredited by the Commission of Accreditation on Allied Health Educational Programs (CAAHEP).  Classes are taught throughout New Jersey.  Since there is not a uniform tuition or schedule, students should compare several different programs.

Optional Step:  Complete the Scholarship Application

The Maxine Williams Scholarship is a $1,000 award given to medical assistant students by the AAMA each spring.  To qualify for this award, students must maintain a “B” average and have completed 25 percent of their training.  There is not a published, standard scholarship application, so interested parties should email the AAMA.

Step Two:  AAMA Application

When people complete the AAMA application, which is available in a PDF, they are requesting permission to take the CMA exam.  The AAMA will confirm receipt of the application within a month, but applicants may not learn of their approval for some time (up to 20 days after they were approved).

Step Three:  Call a Local Test Center

Many training facilities also act as testing centers for the AAMA.  When people receive the approval email containing a permit to take the test, they can schedule a test date at one of these centers.  The test must be taken within 90 days of approval.

Step Four:  Take Practice Tests

Practice exams are the best way to prepare for the real exam.  Local chapters (below) and training programs can help students obtain practice exams.

Step Five:  Take the Test

After passing the CMA test, applicants can celebrate.  They are now certified medical assistants and will be identified as a CMA on the Employer Verification Page.

New Jersey’s CMA Employment Outlook

United States

Employment

Percent
Change

Job Openings 1

2010

2020

Medical Assistants

527,600

690,400

+31%

24,380

New Jersey

Employment

Percent
Change

Job Openings 1

2008

2018

Medical Assistants

12,500

15,200

+22%

410

1Job Openings refers to the average annual job openings due to growth and net replacement.

(Career One Stop)

The medical assistant is growing at a slower rate in New Jersey than in other states; however, a 22 percent increase in 10 years is solid growth.  Few jobs offer as many employment opportunities as this career.  Each year, there are more than 400 openings for CMAs at facilities across New Jersey.

New Jersey’s CMA Salary Information

Location Pay
Period

2011

10%

25%

Median

75%

90%

United States Hourly

$10.04

$11.86

$13.99

$16.87

$19.62

Yearly

$20,900

$24,700

$29,100

$35,100

$40,800

New Jersey Hourly

$11.66

$12.92

$15.02

$17.62

$20.70

Yearly

$24,300

$26,900

$31,200

$36,600

$43,100

(Career One Stop)

As would be expected, due to the high cost of living in New Jersey, CMAs who work in New Jersey earn more than the national average.  Most CMAs made more than $13.00/hr. in 2011, and half of them made more than $15.00.  These are very respectable wages for a career that does not require a college degree.

The figures below, which come from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, show the median wage for CMAs in select New Jersey cities.

  • New Brunswick, NJ: $31,220 (yr.) / $15.01 (hr.)
  • Newark, NJ: $33,490 / $16.10
  • Trenton, NJ: $33,170 / $15.95
  • Atlantic City, NJ: $30,110 / $14.48

How to Recertify or Transfer

The AAMA has standardized both the process for recertification and for transferring across state lines.  The recertification page is where people should start investigating recertification, which CMAs must go through every five years.  For transfer information, people should find the closest AAMA chapter (listed below) and contact them.

Local AAMA Chapters in New Jersey

  • Bergen County
  • Burlington County
  • Camden-Gloucester
  • Essex
  • Hudson County
  • Monmouth County
  • Morris County
  • Ocean County
  • Somerset
  • Sussex County
  • Union County
  • Warren County

The state’s New Jersey Society of Medical Assistants (NJSMA) is also on the web.

Sources: