How to Become a Medical Assistant in New York
Many people get their start in the healthcare industry by getting a medical assistant job.
Performing the various duties for this role can help aspiring nurses and healthcare administrators become familiar with the clerical and patient care aspects of the medical field.
However, those who enjoy this fast-paced and challenging job may decide to earn the necessary credentials to become certified medical assistants.
Education and Training
Those wondering how to become a medical assistant in New York could volunteer or get an entry-level housekeeping or patient transport job at a doctor’s office or hospital and receive on-the-job training until they develop the skills they need for an official medical assistant role. However, this method could take several years.
Complete a Medical Assistant Program
One of the quickest ways to qualify for medical assistant jobs in New York is to enroll in an accredited course at a New York trade school or college. Students can complete a medical assistant certificate program in about a year, or earn an associate’s degree in two years.
What Courses Do You Take?
During these programs, aspiring medical assistants take classes like:
- Medical Terminology
- Anatomy and Physiology
- Medications and Pharmacology
- Charting and Medical Histories
- Patient and Exam Room Prep
- Laboratory Testing
- Office Tasks and Bookkeeping
- HIPPA Regulations and Patient’s Rights
- Standard Safety Protocols
Many medical assistant schools also offer classes on EKG administration, specimen handling and phlebotomy, and wound dressing and injections so they can help LPNs and registered nurses with various medical tasks.
After learning the necessary information from textbooks and lectures, those who enroll in medical assistant training courses gain hands-on experience in real-life or simulated settings. Some schools have campus labs where students can complete practice scenarios that require them to use the patient care and administrative skills they learned in class.
Supervised Clinical Experience
Other schools partner with local clinics, nursing homes, and rehabilitation centers so medical assistant students can earn their clinical hours in actual healthcare facilities. To obtain their certificate or degree, aspiring medical assistants in New York must complete 108 hours of supervised clinical experience.
Obtaining Specialty Skills
If you’re hoping to work in a specific field of medicine, such as pediatrics, oncology, radiology, family medicine, or pathology, you may need to take additional classes. Having experience in your chosen specialty can prepare you to work in a particular type of medical lab, clinic, or hospital ward.
New York Medical Assistant Requirements
Some facilities are willing to hire medical assistants who lack official credentials. A small nursing home or clinic in your area may take on non-certified medical assistants to work at the front desk, stock storage rooms after medical equipment deliveries, and clean and prepare exam rooms after each use.
Although non-certified applicants can find medical assistant jobs in New York, most employers prefer to hire individuals with an official license.
Eligible candidates can apply to take certification exams through organizations like the National Healthcareer Association (NHA) or the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA).
Additional Skills Needed
Most medical assistants in NY will also need to know CPR and first aid or have other Basic Life Support credentials if they want to get a job in a hospital or clinic.
Some trade school programs include the necessary classes and certification exams as part of the standard curriculum. However, you can also complete this training on your own through the American Red Cross or the American Heart Association.
Medical Assistant Salaries in NY
How Much Can You Make?
Medical assistant salaries in New York vary by location. For example, the average medical assistant salary in New York State is $44,904 per year. However, those living in the Mohawk Valley area typically earn closer to $38,154 annually. The following list shows the average annual earnings for medical assistants in different regions of New York.
- New York City $46,964
- Syracuse $40,329
- Albany $39,110
- Yonkers $45,531
- Ithaca $37,647
- Long Island $46,231
More experienced medical assistants in NY may earn as much as $50k per year, especially if they specialize in a particular medical discipline. Salaries for assistants working in private doctor’s offices are also generally higher than wages for those with hospital and nursing home jobs.
What Do They Do?
Working alongside nurses and physicians, medical assistants perform a wide range of administrative duties.
In clinic, hospital, and doctor’s office settings, assistants may be responsible for:
- Answering phones
- Scheduling appointments
- Greeting patients and helping them fill out paperwork
- Admitting and discharging long-term care patients
- Arranging laboratory services and medical tests
- Organizing medical records
Patient Care Duties
Medical assistants also perform several patient care duties, such as taking medical histories, preparing patients for examinations, explaining treatment plans, and submitting prescription refill requests to pharmacy techs.
Some assistants may also earn additional credentials so they can collect blood samples, perform stress tests, and change bandages in facilities lacking phlebotomists, EKG techs, and CNAs.
Whether they’re handling clerical or patient care work, a medical assistant’s most important task is helping patients feel more at ease.
A friendly and professional attitude is essential when explaining tests and treatments to patients. Medical assistants also need to develop a soothing and comforting bedside manner to encourage patients to relax during procedures.
Because of New York’s size and dense population, the state has many ill, injured, and older people who require assistance and care. Medical facilities throughout New York need qualified professionals to assist with daily operations and help patients receive the care they need. As a result, medical assistants in New York are almost always in demand.
Experts at the Bureau of Labor Statistics predict the need for medical assistant jobs to grow by about 16 percent between 2021 and 2031. Qualified candidates looking to work in a hospital, outpatient clinic, research lab, or nursing home may have access to as many as 123,000 employment opportunities per year over the next decade.