New York Medical Assistant Guide

Career Description

Medical assistants in New York can be found in clinics, doctors’ offices and other medical settings.  They work in a controlled environment (as opposed to an EMT on an ambulance).  There are both administrative and clinical aspects to a medical assistant’s position.

Administrative Aspects of Being a Medical Assistant:

  • Updating records
  • Mailing files to other doctor’s offices
  • Filing insurance forms

Clinical Aspects of Being a Medical Assistant:

  • Assisting doctors with exams
  • Giving patients medications
  • Drawing blood from patients

(These are not intended to be a comprehensive list).

Certified Medical Assistants in New York

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Medical assistants can work in New York without being certified.  In fact, there are often job descriptions that say, “Will train.”  Certification, however, gives a medical assistant an edge in the job market.  There are four primary agencies that provide certification equal to a medical assistant.

Of these agencies, the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) is the most respected, with the American Medical Technologists (AMT) being a close second.

The AAMA’s certification steps are as follows.

1.  Enroll in a CAAHEP Course

All certified medical assistants (CMAs) must attend a class.  The AAMA only recognizes curriculums that the CAAHEP has accredited.  Tuition at these programs can vary, so students should investigate several before settling on one.

Optional:  Two Scholarships

CMA students in New York are eligible for two scholarships, provided they meet the individual scholarship’s criteria.

The Dorothy Ross Scholarship is a $500 award given by the New York State Society of Medical Assistants (NYSSMA).  Eligible students can download an application or obtain one from their instructor.

The Maxine Williams Scholarship is a national award of $1,000 given by the AAMA.  Students must email the AAMA for a scholarship form to apply.

Second:  Exam Application

The exam application is available as a PDF.  The following is a timeline of how applications are processed by the AAMA.

  • Day 1: Applicant sends in application
  • Day 30:  AAMA confirms receipt
  • Day x:  Application is approved
  • 20 Days after Day x: Applicant is notified by email of approval

Third:  Exam Center

Students must go to one of their local exam centers to take the exam.  However, they cannot just walk in and sit for the test.  Applicants must have an appointment.  They have 90 days to make an appointment and take the exam.

Fourth:  Practice

One of the best ways to prepare for the real test is by taking fake tests. Course instructors and AAMA chapters (listed below) should have practice exams for students.

Fifth:  Test

The final step in certification is passing the exam.  Those who pass can identify themselves as CMAs and will be listed as such on the appropriate page of the AAMA’s site.

CMA Jobs in New York

The following two charts can be found on

United States



Job Openings 1



Medical Assistants





New York



Job Openings 1



Medical Assistants





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

Growth for medical assistants in New York is currently slower than the national average.  But a 23 percent increase, which means 670 open positions each year, is nothing to be worried about.  Few CMAs are currently facing layoffs.  With more than 20,000 medical assistants employed in the state, New York has one of the largest state-wide CMA networks.

CMA Salaries in New York

Location Pay







United States Hourly












New York Hourly












Overall, CMAs earn more in New York than in most other states.  They can make anywhere between $11.50 an hour and $21.00 an hour.

However, as any New Yorker knows, there is often a large discrepancy between Upstate New York and Downstate New York wages.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics has some geographic salary information.  In 2011, these were the median wages for CMAs in certain New York cities.

  • Syracuse, NY: $27,790 (yr.) / $13.36 (hr.)
  • Buffalo, NY: $31,660 / $15.22
  • Rochester, NY: $28,630 / $13.76
  • Poughkeepsie, NY: $33,210 / $16.06

Data is not specific enough to break down for New York City, NY.  But most CMAs in New York City earned over $16.00 an hour and made between $32,000 and $44,000 in 2011.

Transfer Information and Recertification Information

The AAMA handles both recertification and transferring.  For recertification information, people can visit the Recertification Page of the AAMA’s website.  Transfer information is harder to come by, so most CMAs begin the process by talking to their local chapter (listed in next section).

Local AAMA Chapters in New Mexico

  • Broome County
  • Capital District
  • Erie County
  • Finger Lakes
  • Monroe County
  • Nassau County
  • Onondaga County
  • Ulster County

The NYSSMA can be found online and on FaceBook.