In New Jersey, aspiring medical assistants can pursue studies through undergraduate certificate or associate degree programs, most commonly offered at community or county colleges. Courses explore administrative topics, including medical office procedures, records management, medical ethics and medical coding. Participants also study health care terms, phlebotomy, specimen collection and electrocardiography. Some programs allow students to gain hands-on skills through the completion of an externship or a practicum. Depending on the school, students may be able to complete some courses online.
Bergen Community College
Paramus' Bergen Community College offers a 30-credit hour medical office administrative assistant certificate program, as well as a medical office assistant associate's degree program that requires 64-66 credit hours. Both programs cover diagnostic and procedural coding, medical terminology, cardiopulmonary resuscitation and first aid, medical economics and medical assistant administrative procedures. Associate's degree students also encounter courses in anatomy and physiology, pharmacology, clinical office practice, clinical lab technology and document processing. Prior to graduation, students participate in hands-on training through 2 medical office assistant externships.
Camden County College
Camden County College in Blackwood offers a medical assistant program through the Technical Institute of Camden County. This 720-hour program trains students in venipuncture, urinalysis procedures, hematology, sterilization techniques, clinical office and diagnostic procedures, microbiology and medical insurance management. A 5-week externship allows students to develop professional skills. Graduates of this program can take the Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) exam given by AMT.
Hudson County Community College
Prospective students can enroll in a medical assisting associate's degree program at Hudson County Community College in Jersey City. Courses include microbiology, medical terminology, clinical and medical office procedures, anatomy and physiology, medical machine transcription and pharmacology. Participants must also meet general education and medical assisting externship requirements.
Mercer County Community College
West Windsor-based Mercer County Community College offers students a medical office assistant certificate program. Students complete courses in medical coding procedures, transcription, office law, ethics and terminology. Additional classes train students to use computer software to schedule appointments, ensure patient record confidentiality and input patient information.
Ocean County College
A clinical medical assistant course is offered at Toms River's Ocean County College. Students must have completed this school's medical office specialist program no longer than 2 years prior to applying for this course. The program uses a hybrid format that combines online coursework with weekly clinical practice. Students study topics such as therapeutic communication, sterilization procedures, phlebotomy, medical law and ethics, pharmacology, medical administration and specimen collection. Graduates have the option of taking the exam for becoming a Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA), which is administered by NHA.
Raritan Valley Community College
The medical assistant certificate program at Branchburg's Raritan Valley Community College is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs. Students study phlebotomy theory, pathophysiology, pharmacology, medical terminology and medical assistant principles. A medical assistant professional practicum is required in the final semester. Graduates are qualified to sit for the RMA and CMA (Certified Medical Assistant) certification exams. These are given by the AMT and American Association of Medical Assistants accordingly.
Sussex County Community College
Sussex County Community College can be found in Newton. This school's medical assistant certificate program requires students to participate in a practicum to apply concepts learned in the classroom. Students fulfill the 910-program hour requirement by completing courses in medical computer applications, medical insurance and coding, human anatomy and terminology, patient relations, hematology, electrocardiography and phlebotomy.
Warren County Community College
A total of 63 credit hours are needed to complete the medical assisting associate's degree program at Washington's Warren County Community College. Students are educated in pharmacology and medical administration concepts, computerized and medical office procedures, insurance and medical coding, healthcare law and ethics, medical terminology and pathology. This program is rounded out by a practicum and medical office laboratory component. Graduates can take the CMA exam.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), one only needs a high school diploma or its equivalent to be hired as a medical assistant, though those with formal training and certification may be preferable to employers. While medical assistants are not required to be registered or certified, professional certification is available from organizations such as the National Healthcare Association (NHA), American Association of Medical Assistants, National Center for Competency Testing and American Medical Technologists (AMT).
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type and Setting||Medical Assistant Programs Offered||Undergraduate Tuition and Fees (2015-2016)|
|Bergen Community College||2-year, public; large suburb|| Certificate in Medical Office Administrative Assistant,
Medical Office Assistant Associate of Applied Science
|$7,686 (in-state)*, $8,046 (out-of-state)*|
|Camden County College||2-year, public; large suburb||Certified/Registered Medical Assistant Program||$4,440 (in-state)*, $4,440 (out-of -state)*|
|Hudson County Community College||2-year, public; large suburb||Medical Assisting Associate of Applied Science||$8,743 (in-state)*, $12,403 (out-of-state)*|
|Mercer County Community College||2-year, public; fringe rural||Medical Office Assistant Certificate of Proficiency||$4,788 (in-state)*, $6,900 (out-of-state)*|
|Ocean County College||2-year, public; large suburb||Clinical Medical Assistant Hybrid Course||$5,035 (in-state)*, $7,735 (out-of-state)*|
|Raritan Valley Community College||2-year, public; fringe rural||Medical Assistant Certificate||$4,768 (in-state)*, $4,768 (out-of-state)*|
|Sussex County Community College||2-year; public; large suburb||Medical Assistant Certificate of Completion||$7,950 (in-state)*, $9,900 (out-of-state)*|
|Warren County Community College||2-year, public; fringe rural||Medical Assisting Associate in Applied Science||$4,710 (in-state)*, $5,310 (out-of-state)*|
Sources: * NCES College Navigator'