New Jersey Medical Assistant Requirements and Approved CMA Programs

Healthcare is one of the fastest growing industries in the United States. The thousands of unsung heroes who make up the healthcare workforce in New Jersey have answered the call to enter a vocation with a purpose. Just as nursing, medical assisting is a special calling to deliver the highest quality of care to those in need. Medical assistants offer tireless support to physicians who work on the frontlines of care. They perform duties that are critical to the care that is delivered daily although they do not always provide direct patient care themselves. Medical assisting is one of a few occupations in the health care industry that does not require state licensure or certification, and the educational preparation is just a fraction of the time required for other professions in the industry. What’s more is that it is one of the fastest growing professions in the United States. As a medical assistant, you’ll receive much of the same rewards as other health care professionals in addition to several unique perks.

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Medical assisting could potentially be a great fit if you’re looking to get into the healthcare field. The American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) defines a medical assistant as someone who works alongside doctors, usually in a clinical or office settings, to manage both clinical and administrative duties as assigned by the supervising physician. Common duties include recording of patients’ medical information, answering the phones, managing correspondence, scheduling appointments, assisting physicians with examinations, and collecting samples for lab tests. Ultimately, the medical assistant will perform duties he/she is trained to perform based on the physician’s judgment. They ensure the efficient operation of the physician’s office of clinic and demonstrate compassion and empathy to patients throughout their visit. Close to 60 percent of medical assistants work in physicians’ offices but they may also work in hospitals, outpatient care centers, insurance companies, and medical laboratories.

Benefits of Becoming a Medical Assistant

Medical assistants are driving force behind the smooth and efficient management of medical offices and clinics. They manage the flow of patients throughout the facility and perform administrative and clinical duties for physicians of all specialties within the medical profession. The job outlook for most professions within the healthcare industry has been mostly positive over the previous decades. The outlook is especially promising for medical assistants. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of medical assistant jobs is expected to increase by 16 percent (more than three times the average rate) through 2031 due to the increased demand for support staff in medical offices and clinics. That will translate to an additional 117,800 during that period.

Medical assistants earn a salary that is on par with other health care professionals. The BLS recorded a median annual salary of $37,190 in 2021. The salary is excellent when compared to the educational preparation required for the role. Certified and experienced medical assistants can earn significantly more than the median salary.

As essential members of the healthcare team, medical assistants perform a range of clinical and administrative duties to support physicians and other staff. Their duties include but are not limited to measuring and recording vital signs, updating patient data, collecting samples for the lab, scheduling appointments, preparing insurance claims, and coordinating the activities of the health care team. Their multi-faceted role eliminates monotony and boredom. There will never be a dull moment; there will always be opportunities to learn something new. But variety is not just limited to the daily duties. Medical assistants can also enjoy diversity in the places of work. There’s a need for medical assistant services in hospitals and clinics, outpatient centers and emergency centers. There’s also some diversity in physicians’ practices. For instance, you can work with primary care physicians, podiatrists, gynecologists, optometrists, or chiropractors. Changing your place of work can result in a change of schedule and changes in the duties you’ll perform.

A choice of schedule is unfortunately not available for most health care practitioners. Doctors and nurses may often work round the clock; during the evening and on weekends when the need arises. Medical assistants can benefit from regular working hours depending on where they work. For instance, a traditional 9 to 5 shift may be available if working with a primary care physician. A stable schedule will give you the opportunity to embrace other pursuits such as continuing education for career advancement or extra time with family.

Medical assistants have the opportunity to form meaningful bonds with patients and their families as they provide professional and emotional support in potentially trying times. A medical assistant may provide a sympathetic ear and offer words of comfort. Their support and comfort could positively impact patient satisfaction and outcomes.

The joys of medical assisting can begin well before your first day of work. The medical assistant program provides the opportunity to engage with health care professionals and get a firsthand view of the role during the clinical aspect of the program. The clinical rotation will either confirm your career choice or direct you to another area. The exposure could also guide your decision to specialize in some part of the healthcare. This benefit is available within the healthcare profession; most other professionals must wait until they graduate from a postsecondary program to experience a day in life.

The short-term nature of the training is another reason to choose medical assisting. Medical assistant programs can be completed in 9 to 12 months – very short compared to other health care professions that require a 2-year or 4-year degree. The shorter training places you on the job in under a year and also reduces the excessive debt associated with longer educational programs.

Certified Versus Uncertified Medical Assistants

Many employers require a medical assistant to be certified. A certified medical assistant is someone who has passed an exam and met all the other requirements outlined by the certifying organization. The two most common certifying exams for medical assistants are the Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) and Certified Medical Assistant (CMA). CMA certification requires completion of formal classroom training and RMA certification accepts work experience (apprenticeship) from candidates who have not completed formal classroom training.

Certification is voluntary in New Jersey but many clinics, hospitals, and health facilities require medical assistant certification as a condition of employment. CMA certification is recognized as the most rigorous assessment and requires completion of an accredited program, which usually takes 12 to 18 months to complete. The AAMA exam assesses medical assistants’ clinical and administrative competencies, giving employers a level of confidence in the duties they can assign to CMAs.

Certified medical assistants earn higher salaries than those who are not certified. Employers often make the most of the abilities of certified medical assistants, integrating them into a team-based care model. CMAs who work consistently with the same physician and team will develop skills and earn a level of trust from members of the team. The expanding duties and value the CMA offers most often results in higher salaries.

The complexity of the health care delivery systems calls for continuous evaluation and adjustments to improve the delivery of care, patient outcomes, and patient satisfaction. A big part of the change involves the health care professionals who attend to patients. The educational, licensure, and certification needed to ensure public safety and reduce risks are always under review. Certification and licensure for medical assistants may not be mandatory today, but that can change in the future. Getting certified now means you’ll be suitably prepared to meet whatever changes arise in the future.

See the list of certifying organizations below to determine what is the best option for you.

Nationally Approved Certifying Organizations

American Association of Medical Assistants
20 N. Wacker Drive, #1575
Chicago, IL 60606-2963
(312) 424-3100

American Medical Certification Association
310 Passaic Avenue, Suite 204B
Fairfield, NJ 07004
(888) 960-2622

American Medical Technologists
10700 W. Higgins Road, Suite 150
Rosemont, IL 60018
(847) 823-5169

Multiskilled Medical Certification Institute, Inc.
P.O. Box 17
7007 College Boulevard
Overland Park, KS 66211
(888) 625-8408 or (913) 754-3287 

How to Become a Medical Assistant in New Jersey

Complete accredited training

A vital part of the preparation for a career as a medical assistant is to complete medical assistant training from an accredited postsecondary education institution. Medical assistant programs are available at many community colleges and vocational schools across New Jersey. Medical assistant training is shorter than that preparation required for nurses who must complete a 2-year or 4-year degree at a college or university. The shorter training means you can begin working much sooner than most other professions.

According to the New Jersey health code, a program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) will include a minimum of 600 clock hours of instruction and encompass training in the administration of intramuscular and subcutaneous injections and instruction and demonstration in: pertinent anatomy and physiology appropriate to injection procedures; choice of equipment, proper technique including sterile technique, hazards and complications; and emergency procedures.

The externship included as part of the accredited medical assistant program prepares graduates to transition seamlessly from the classroom to the workplace. At the conclusion of the program, students will receive the necessary preparation for success on a national certification exam. The externship and national certification will both bolster your resume and catch the attention of potential employers.

An accredited program will cover all or most of the points on the checklist below.

Duration of the medical assistant program: New Jersey medical assistants must receive additional training in intramuscular and subcutaneous injections to be able to administer injections. The health code recommends a minimum 600 hours of training for medical assistants, which should translate to 9 to 12 months depending on the program’s schedule.

Employer-centered curriculum: The program should focus on the wide array of skills that medical assistants can perform in various health care facilities. It should also include the state-recommended guidelines for training that will permit you to perform valuable tasks like the administration of injections.

Experienced instructors: Faculty should be aware of any state guidelines and industry specific needs that are specific to New Jersey and surrounding areas. Apart from knowledge of the industry, the instructor should be supportive and eager for your success in the field.

Flexible formats: The program’s schedule should align with your goals for educational advancement – whether it is to enroll full-time and complete the requirements in the shortest possible time or part-time to balance an existing job. Hybrid programs support the need for flexible and convenient studies. The theory will be delivered online and practical sessions will occur on-site on the school’s campus and at local health care facilities.

Hands-on experience: The externship provides the opportunity to put the theoretical concepts into practice under the guidance of experienced faculty. The lessons you’ll learn here will aid you in the workplace and will add valuable experience to your resume.

Financially viable: Accredited medical assistant programs are eligible for financial aid. Financial aid eligibility will help you to pursue your dream of becoming a medical assistant if you don’t have the means to pay for the program out of pocket. As you compare program, see what’s included in the cost – sometimes an all-inclusive program may offer more value than a cheaper program that does not include textbooks, fees, and supplies.

Fringe benefits: A program that offers remedial training, job placement assistance, and other unique perks is worth its weight in gold.

Obtain Medical Assistant Certification

Certified Medical Assistant (CMA)

The Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) credential is a product of the American Association of Medical Assistants awarded to candidates who complete accredited training, pass the certification exam, and meet all other requirements for certification.

The CMA certification exam consists of 200 multiple-choice questions that will test your knowledge of pharmacology, safety and infection control, legal and ethical issues, communication, and much more.

The exam assesses three principal categories:

Clinical Competency (59%)

  • Clinical Workflow: Patient Intake and Discharge
  • Safety and Infection Control
  • Procedures/Examinations
  • Pharmacology

General (21%)

  • Legal and Ethical Issues
  • Communication

Administrative (20%)

  • Billing, Coding, and Insurance
  • Schedule Appointments and Health Information Management

Eligibility Requirements

You can sit for the exam if you meet one of the criteria outlined below:

  1. Must be completing or a recent graduate of a CAAHEP or ABHES accredited medical assistant program. If you’re enrolled in a medical assistant program, you can take the exam no more than 30 days prior to completing the program and practicum. If you’ve graduated from a program, you must take the exam within 12 months of your graduation date.
  2. Must be a nonrecent graduate of a CAAHEP or ABHES accredited medical assistant program. You’re considered a nonrecent graduate, if you apply for the exam more than 12 months after graduation.
  3. Must be a CMA (AAMA) recertificant. Use this option if you previously passed the CMA Certification Exam and want to recertify the CMA credential.

Application Steps

  1. Verify that you are eligible to take the exam
  2. Review the exam policies and information
  3. Gather your documentation for your eligibility category
  4. Determine the start date for 90-day testing period – this will determine when you apply for the exam.
  5. Submit your application, pay the application fee of $125 for AAMA members or $250 nonmembers
  6. Make name, email, and postal address corrections in a timely basis
  7. Schedule your exam appointment after your application and payment are processed
  8. Complete the exam and receive a pass/fail notification
  9. Watch for your official score reports – within three weeks after your exam
  10. Watch for your certificate or digital badge via email

Registered Medical Assistant (RMA)

The American Medical Technologists (AMT) awards the Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) credential to persons who meet the eligibility criteria and pass the RMA exam. The RMA credential is also accepted by healthcare employers across the nation. RMAs have the abilities, knowledge, and commitment to quality care.

Following are some other requirements for RMA certification:

Through formal education-

  • Must have graduated, within the past 4 years, or scheduled to graduate from an accredited MA program or program that is housed within an accredited institution.
  • Must have completed 720 hours of instruction that includes at least 160 hours of externship

Other training –

  • Must have completed a medical assisting work-study/training program within the last 4 years such as:
    • An apprenticeship program registered with the US Department of Labor (DOL)
    • A federally recognized State Apprenticeship Agency (SAA)
    • Workforce Development/Employer program

Work Experience

  • Must be employed as a medical assistant for a minimum of 3 years within the past 7 years – 3 years of full-time employment at 36 hours per week is the equivalent of 5,616 hours. Provide documents of both administrative and clinical duties on the employment letter
  • Experience must include both clinical and administrative duties
  • Must have a valid CPR card (copy of front and back). CPR training must include both theoretical and in-person demonstration of CPR proficiency.


  • Must be a recent graduate, or scheduled to graduate from a formal medical services training program of the United States Armed Forces – Must have graduated within the last 4 years.


  • Must have worked as a medical assistant educator for a minimum of five years, and have previously completed a course in a healthcare related discipline.

The application fee for the RMA exam is $135. You must schedule your exam online after you receive approval from the RMA.

The official certification will be supplied within 7 to 14 days after you pass the exam.

Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA)

The National Healthcareer Association (NHA) is another nationally recognized certifying organization for medical assistants. Candidates who successfully meet all the requirements will receive the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) credential. Candidates for certification may fulfill the requirements for certification via work experience or practical training.

To take the CCMA credentialing exam, you must:

  • Possess a high school diploma/GED equivalent AND
  • Have completed a medical assistant training program (within the last 5 years) OR
  • Have one year of supervised medical assisting experience, in the last 3 years

The exam is administered either at your school, a PSI testing center near you, or through live remote proctoring at the location of your choice.

For online CCMA exams, NHA will officially post your certification results to your account page within two days of scoring your test.

New Jersey Medical Assistants FAQs

Are medical assistants required to be licensed or certified by the State of New Jersey?

Medical assistants are not required to be licensed or certified by the State of New Jersey. Certified medical assistants may administer injections on the condition that they complete extra hours of training and maintain national certification.

What duties are medical assistants allowed to perform?

New Jersey medical assistants are permitted to administer injections independently after completing at least 10 hours of training in giving injections and be observed giving 10 subcutaneous, 10 intramuscular, and 10 intradermal injections.

They may also perform venipunctures independently after completing 10 hours of training in venipuncture and performing 10 observed venipunctures.

Physicians are allowed to delegate a wide array of tasks to medical assistants if they are confident of the medical assistant’s ability and training to perform the tasks safely. They must not delegate tasks that require advanced medical knowledge.

Medical assistants in NJ can:

  • Draw blood (after proper training)
  • Administer injections (after proper training)
  • Take vital signs
  • Remove stitches
  • Record health history reports
  • Assist physicians with medical procedures
  • Collect lab samples

Medical assistants in NJ are not permitted to:

  • Administer any controlled substance
  • Perform invasive procedures
  • Administer any medication intravenously
  • Diagnose a patient
  • Prescribe medications

Contact the New Jersey Society of Medical Assistants


CAAHEP & ABHES Accredited Medical Assisting Programs New Jersey

Blackwood, NJ Medical Assistant Programs:
Pennco Tech
99 Erial Rd,
Blackwood, NJ 08012
(856) 677-5176

Blaoomfield, NJ Medical Assistant Programs:
AMG Medical Institute
554 Bloomfield Ave Ste 3D
Bloomfield, NJ 07003

Branchburg, NJ Medical Assistant Programs:
Raritan Valley Community College
118 Lamington Rd,
Branchburg, NJ 08876

East Orange, NJ Medical Assistant Programs:
National Career Institute
134 Evergreen Place, 2nd Floor,
East Orange, NJ 07018

Eatontown, NJ Medical Assistant Programs:
ACI Medical & Dental School
215 Broad Street
Eatontown, NJ 07724

Jersey City, NJ Medical Assistant Programs:
Hudson County Community College
70 Sip Ave,
Jersey City, NJ 07306

New Jersey City University
2039 Kennedy Blvd
Jersey City, NJ 07305

Newton, NJ Medical Assistant Programs:
Sussex County Community College
1 College Hill Rd,
Newton, NJ 07860

Ocean Township, NJ Medical Assistant Programs:
Medical Career Institute
901 West Park Avenue, Cobblestone Village
Ocean Township, NJ 07712
(732) 695-1190

Paramus, NJ Medical Assistant Programs:
Bergen Community College
400 Paramus Rd,
Paramus, NJ 07652

Paterson, NJ Medical Assistant Programs:
Passaic County Community College
1 College Blvd,
Paterson, NJ 07505

Piscataway, NJ Medical Assistant Programs:
American Institute of Medical Science and Education
4500 New Brunswick Avenue,
Piscataway, NJ 08854
(908) 222-0002

AIMS Education
4500 New Brunswick Ave.
Piscataway, NJ 08854
(908) 222-0002

Toms River, NJ Medical Assistant Programs:
Ocean County College
College Drive,
Toms River, NJ 08754

Woodland Park, NJ Medical Assistant Programs:
Berkeley College
44 Rifle Camp Rd,
Woodland Park, NJ 07424

Washington, NJ Medical Assistant Programs:
Warren County Community College
475 NJ-57,
Washington, NJ 07882