Medical Assistant Salary & Career Opportunities in New Jersey
You’ve decided that a career as a New Jersey medical assistant is the one for you, but now what? Taking the first step towards your future career can be overwhelming – there’s just so much to consider. This is why we’ve collected all the information you need to make the most of your new allied health career.
With stats and figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (and a host of other trusted and reliable sources), you’ll discover how to kickstart a rewarding career as a medical assistant.
What Is a Medical Assistant?
Before you enroll in a medical assistant training program, it’s important to learn how medical assistants (MAs) play a pivotal role within the healthcare team.
These professionals work closely with doctors, registered nurses, and other medical office personnel to deliver quality patient care. You might see them in physicians’ offices, hospitals, outpatient clinics, or other healthcare facilities.
What Does a Medical Assistant Do?
The medical assistant job description is extensive to say the least. In fact, you should really ask what they don’t do.
MAs have one of the most diverse responsibility lists in the allied healthcare sector. They perform administrative or clinical tasks (or a combination of both), depending on the size or type of facility.
The average medical assistant may be expected to handle the following tasks on a daily basis:
- Greeting patients and answering phones
- Explaining treatment and procedures to patients
- Scheduling appointments
- Checking insurance forms
- Stocking supplies
- Checking vital signs (eg. heart rate, blood pressure)
- Giving injections and vaccinations
- Preparing patients for X-rays
- Removing stitches
- Changing/removing dressings
- Electrocardiogram (EKG)
- Conducting basic laboratory tests
- Disposing of contaminated supplies
- Sterilizing medical instruments
Medical Assistant Career Prospects in New Jersey
If you think you can handle the fast pace of a medical assistant job, discover what New Jersey has to offer.
How Much Do Medical Assistants Make in NJ?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that the annual mean wage for a fully-qualified medical assistant in the state of New Jersey is $35,770 (a mean hourly wage of $17.20).
Depending on your location in the Garden State, salary opportunities can range quite a bit. For example, the average pay in the Vineland-Millville-Bridgeton area is $32,620, while in the state capital of Trenton it’s $36,280.
Job Opportunities in New Jersey
According to the BLS Occupational Handbook, the majority of medical assistants (57%) are employed within physician’s offices. Hospitals, outpatient clinics, chiropractor offices are other potential employers.
With over 2,000 medical care facilities in the state of New Jersey – including physician’s offices, licensed hospitals, and nursing homes – you’ll be able to find plenty of medical assistant job opportunities.
How Does New Jersey Compare to Other States?
What if you decide to spread your wings and take your medical assistant training elsewhere? How do the opportunities for medical assistants within New Jersey compare to those across the country?
Medical Assistant Employment Statistics
There are just under 650,000 medical assistants working throughout the nation, and more than half have found employment in physicians’ offices.
Seeing as how it’s the most populous state in the country, California understandably has the highest level of employment of medical assistants nationwide: about 90,000 of them.
According to the latest sources, the following top four states with the highest employment levels for the profession are Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania, and New York.
If you’re looking for a less-populated state which offers a high concentration of medical assistant jobs, New Mexico or Maine might be great fits. The Dairy State might be another great bet: The northeastern region of Wisconsin tops the list of non-metropolitan areas with the highest levels of employment for MAs.
Medical Assistant Salaries Across the US
Salaries can vary greatly and for a number of reasons, including job experience and level of education.
The lowest-percentile of medical assistants earn around $23,830. However, 50% of professional MAs earn approximately $32,480, while the top 90% can command around $46,000.
New Jersey offers an average salary, but which state offers the best opportunities and medical assistant salaries?
If you don’t want to stray too far from NJ, consider heading next door. Connecticut offers the highest average salary of the neighboring states, with MAs pulling in an average of $36,510.
New York follows closely behind with $36,220. If you decide to head across the Delaware River to Pennsylvania, expect just under $32,000.
Highest-Paying States for MAs
The five highest-paying states are spread across the country. Topping the list is Alaska, where medical assistants can earn an average of $42,000. Minnesota MAs receive an average yearly wage of around $39,000.
If you’re not a winter person, think about heading to the Pacific Northwest, where medical assistants can find expect just under $40,000 in Washington State.
If you prefer to remain on the east coast, then Massachusetts offers qualified MAs an average salary of around $39,310. That said, the state has one of the most competitive job markets around.
States With the Lowest Average Pay
Despite the high concentration of medical assistant jobs, Texas has a surprisingly below-average salary at $30,880.
Southern states tend to land on the lower end of the allied healthcare salary scale. Medical assistants residing in Mississippi receive an average of $30,390. Cross into Louisiana, and MAs can expect to earn around $27,810 per annum, while those in Alabama can conceivably earn an average salary of $27,730.
You can’t expect a high salary in the eastern state of West Virginia. There, you can rely on an average job offer of just $27,270.
How to Become a Medical Assistant
Note that medical assistants are not required by law to go through formal training or obtain a license prior to employment. They can also be trained with on-the-job programs.
However, a lack of formal training and/or certification can severely limit your job opportunities and impact your monthly paycheck. It’s great to consider medical assisting training programs in the form of an associate’s degree or certificate.
Most people choose to complete a short certificate program. You can find these programs in specialized medical assistant schools, community and technical colleges, educational institutes, and universities.
Having the opportunity to practice and develop your skills in a real healthcare environment will set you apart during the job search.
So when you select a program, make sure that it provides a great balance of classroom-based instruction and practical training. Medical assistant courses should offer a clinical rotation or ‘internship’ that provides valuable hands-on training.
To improve their standing with prospective employers, students can get registered through organizations such as the American Medical Technologists (AMT), the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA), or the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Not only does this show you have what it takes to be a professional medical assistant, but it also proves that you’re dedicated to learn and grow in your chosen career.
The National Job Outlook for Medical Assistants
The field of medical assisting has been predicted to increase by an impressive 29% between now and 2026. That’s an approximate surge of 183,900 jobs throughout the country. This increase is mainly due to baby-boomers beginning to require more medical care.
To put it in perspective, the average rate of growth for all other professions is around 7%. Clearly, there’s never been a better time to join the allied healthcare sector.
What About Career Advancement?
There are multiple reasons to choose a career as a medical assistant, and the great possibility of career progression is just one of them.
Thanks to the wide scope of duties performed by a medical assistant, there’s huge potential for career progression in a wide variety of avenues. Specializing in one or more fields of medicine (such as podiatry, optometry, and ophthalmology) is an option that many MAs move towards.
Medical and clinical experience that MAs gain also make nursing a viable and popular option. Excelling at administrative duties might mean a shift to the billing and coding field. Medical assistants can also move into supervisory roles (like lead medical assistant) or healthcare administration (like a clinical office manager).
Ready to Start Your Medical Assistant Career?
If you’re looking for a challenging and rewarding career in the New Jersey area, check out our medical assistant training program page. There, you’ll find the information you need to take the first step toward an exciting career in allied healthcare.