General Information on Medical Assistant Certification
In most states, certification is not required for medical assistants. However, many employers prefer certification, and it can sometimes lead to more duties on the job, such as giving injections. This is true in the state of New Jersey. There are several organizations that offer national certification for medical assistants, such as:
- American Association of Medical Assistants
- National Center for Competency Testing
- American Medical Technologists
- National Healthcareer Association
Each organization has its own requirements for earning certification, such as graduating from an accredited program, accumulating a certain number of hours of work experience, and passing an exam. There are several certificate programs in the healthcare field that can help individuals gain medical assistant certification. Some of these programs can be done online, but many will require students to attend in-person classes and labs as well in order to gain hands-on experience that is critical to the healthcare field.
List of Online Programs for Medical Assistant Certification in New Jersey
There are a few programs in the state of New Jersey with online options that can prepare students to take a medical assisting exam and become nationally certified. These programs typically only require individuals to have a high school diploma or GED and can take 1-2 years to complete.
Brookdale Community College
Brookdale Community College offers a hybrid Medical Assistant Certification program that is designed to prepare students to take the National Certified Medical Assistant (NCMA) and ECG (electrocardiogram) Technician exams through the National Center for Competency Testing. Students can learn about a number of topics, such as front desk etiquette, patient interactions, phlebotomy, minor procedures, and infection control, among others. The program consists of 94 online hours, 383 classroom and lab hours, and 160 clinical externship hours. Upon successful completion, students can be eligible for up to 3 college credits.
Rutgers University's Continuing Studies department offers an online CPC Certified Medical Administrative Assistant with Medical Billing and Coding program. The program is self-paced, but students are given 12 months to complete it. Students can gain a foundational education in medical vocabulary, medical office management, ethical, legal, and regulatory concepts that are relevant to the healthcare field, and hands-on experience in medical billing and coding. Students are also taught job-seeking skills. Upon successful completion of the program, students can take the Certified Professional Coder (CPC) exam from the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) exam from the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Berkeley Community College
Berkeley Community college offers two medical assistant programs; a certificate and an Associate of Applied Science. Both programs require on-campus class and laboratory participation, as well as clinical practicums, but many of the core classes can be done online. Students learn about topics such as medical terminology, medical office administration and procedures, as well as clinical topics such as pharmacology and specimen collection. The associate program gives students a liberal arts and business education in addition to core classes. Upon successful completion, students could be eligible to take a variety of certification examinations, including the Certified Medical Assistant exam from the American Association of Medical Assistants, the Registered Medical Assistant exam from American Medical Technologists, and the Certified Phlebotomy Technician exam from the National Healthcareer Association.
Career Outcomes for Certified Medical Assistants
Medical assistants combine administrative and clinical responsibilities to help run physician's offices, hospitals, and other healthcare centers. Their specific job duties can vary depending on who they work for and if they're certified or not. Many of their tasks involve working directly with patients, from filling out information such as insurance forms and scheduling appointments to measuring vital signs and preparing patient samples for testing. In some states, such as New Jersey, certified medical assistants can give patients injections and medications. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual wage in 2019 for medical assistants in New Jersey was $35,840. The profession is expected to grow by 23% from 2018-2028.
In the state of New Jersey, medical assistant certification isn't required, but it can be beneficial for career advancement and increased job duties. Several online and hybrid programs in New Jersey can prepare students to become certified medical assistants.