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Best Online Medical Assistant Programs in New York

Learn how online medical assistant programs in NYC offer a convenient and
affordable way start working in allied healthcare and making a difference in
patients’ lives.

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WRITTEN BY: Shannon Lee
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REVIEWED BY: Edumed Editing Staff

Last Updated: 12/05/2023

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There is a strong need for healthcare support professionals in the United States, particularly in states like New York. In fact, the NY Health Foundation reports that from 2020 to 2030, the number of medical assistants in the state is expected to grow by 27% — and much of this demand will be concentrated in New York City.The plethora of on-campus and online medical assistant programs in NYC and other parts of the state can prepare you to help meet this demand and embark on an exciting career in allied healthcare.

With so many choices, it can be challenging to figure out which is the best program to help you become a certified medical assistant — that’s why we’ve written this guide. We’ll offer you an overview of online medical assistant programs in New York, the characteristics that make them worth applying to, a list of steps you’ll take to earn and maintain your certification, and the kind of compensation and professional growth opportunities you will likely have after you graduate.

Spotlighting Top Medical Assistant Programs in New York City

To help get you started in your search and get a feel for top online medical assistant programs in the Empire State, we have identified three that stand out in terms of affordability, flexibility, student support, and quality training. Even if these programs aren’t ideal for you, they can give you a template on what to look for in other programs.

The City College of New York

The City College of New York offers a flexible and affordable Online/Hybrid Certified Clinical Medical Assistant that prepares students to become certified medical assistants in New York. Students can choose to attend online lectures in either a synchronous or asynchronous formats so they can experience the convenience of remote learning with the benefits of interactive learning. Most online courses are held on Zoom or Moodle.

The program’s curriculum covers medical terminology/anatomy and physiology; medical office administration; electronic health records; the role of the clinical medical assistant; and professional training and assistance. In addition to the online coursework, students must complete various laboratory and clinical-training sessions in person. All courses are taught by instructors who are certified medical assistants and have at least 15 years of real-world experience. By the end of the program, students will be fully prepared to take and pass the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) certification exam administered by the National Healthcareer Association.

Lehman College

The prerequisite-free Certified Clinical Medical Assistant Online program at Lehman College has several features that make it a solid choice for anyone looking for an online medical assisting program in New York City. Accredited by the National Healthcareer Association, this program prepares students with the administrative and clinical skills they need to succeed as well as a foundational understanding of patient care principles, clinical assisting, and administrative practices. All didactic training takes place online and can be completed synchronously through Zoom. Online coursework is supplemented by in-person training, including a 100-hour internship.

The program includes special certification exam preparation so graduates are ready to take the National Healthcareer Association’s Certified Clinical Medical Assistant certification exam. Students enrolled in this program may be eligible to pay for at least part of their education with the help of Workforce1 Individual Training Grant vouchers.

SUNY Corning Community College

SUNY Corning Community College’s Online Certified Medical Assistant prepares graduates to work in healthcare facilities in New York City and across the state. Students can complete this comprehensive program in as few as four months, during which time they receive thorough training in both clinical and administrative tasks. Upon completion of the program, students are ready to take and pass the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant certification exam administered through the National Healthcareer Association.

The curriculum consists of two main components: online classroom instruction and a 130-hour clinical externship. This online medical assisting program sets itself apart from other New York programs in that it includes phlebotomy and EKG training, preparing students not only to become certified medical assistants, but also to become EKG and phlebotomy technicians, too.

Must-Haves in Online Medical Assistant Programs in New York

What’s best for you in an online program will be different from what’s best for any other prospective medical assistant student. Even still, there are certain characteristics you should guarantee a program has. Checking these boxes will ensure that you learn everything necessary to become a certified medical assistant and impress potential employers in New York City and beyond.

Accreditation

Accreditation is granted by an independent body that reviews a program or institution to ensure it meets a minimum level of education quality. When choosing an online medical assistant program in New York, look for one that has programmatic accreditation from either the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) or the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs(CAAHEP). Even if a school does not have programmatic accreditation, you can feel confident in the quality of a school with institutional accreditation from a regional accrediting body recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

Eligibility for Certification Exams

There are several types of medical assistant certifications available, and they all have their own set of eligibility requirements. The American Association of Medical Assistants(AAMA), for example, requires applicants to have graduated from an ABHES or CAAHEP-accredited medical assistant program. In contrast, the American Medical Technologists(AMT) requires individuals to graduate from a program that offers a certain number of clinical and instructional hours to receive the Registered Medical Assistant credential.

Faculty Qualifications

The faculty members of online medical assistant programs in New York can make or break a program. Their academic background and professional expertise as former or current medical assistants make them qualified to guide you toward your own career.

Graduation and Certification Rates

Generally speaking, the better a program is at educating their students and providing them with thenecessary skillsto make the most of their education, the higher the program’s graduation and certification rates will be. Another helpful statistic to consider is the school’s retention rate. This refers to the number of first-year students who return for their second year of schooling. You can compare these numbers among schools you’re considering, and to national averages.

State-Specific Considerations

According to the New York State Education Department and the University at Albany’s School of Public Health, the state of New York does not require individuals to be licensed to work as medical assistants. Because of this, you don’t currently need to worry about meeting specific state requirements. Although this is subject to change, so be sure that you stay up-to-date on New York’s requirements.

Transferability

Online medical assistant programs usually last one to two years, but you want your credits to last longer. Attending a diploma, certificate, or associate degree program that allows you to transfer credits means they will be valid if (or when) you choose to continue your education, allowing you to seamlessly transition to another program without having to spend time or money on classes you’ve already aced.

Becoming a Certified Medical Assistant in New York

Being admitted to an online medical assistant program is just the first step in becoming a certified medical assistant in New York City or another part of the state. Your next steps include gaining hands-on experience, earning your certification, and continuing your education on your own. Take a closer look at what it takes to become a certified medical assistant in New York below.

Complete a Clinical Externship

Despite the fact that online medical assistant programs in NYC are largely online, there are still some in-person learning components, not least of which are skills labs and a clinical externship. You’ll complete your externship at a real-world healthcare facility to apply what you’ve studied with real patients under the careful supervision of trained physicians. The skills you gain during your externship will inform how you work — and how confidently — once you enter the real world. You can expect to spend roughly 160 hours (the minimum requirement at schools like Molloy University) earning this hands-on experience.

Graduate From an Accredited Program

Graduating from an accredited program is very important can dictate your certification exam eligibility. Even if the certification you seek doesn’t require you to have completed your training at an accredited program, your future employer might. Accreditation can also be helpful when applying for financial aid, especially from thefederal governmentor private companies and nonprofits.

Pass the Certificate Exam

After completing your online medical assistant program in NYC, you’ll have several certification exam options to choose from. In New York, two of the more common certifications are the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA)administered by the American Association of Medical Assistants and the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) administered the National Healthcareer Association. The certification exam you are eligible to take is often determined by the program you attend, as the curriculum is often geared toward one exam or another. You may also sit for the Registered Medical Assistant (RMA)through the American Medical Technologists or the Nationally Certified Medical Assistant (NCMA) through the National Center for Competency Testing.

Renew Your License and Take Continuing Education Credits

If you are employed by a facility that requires you to be licensed, you will have to renew and maintain your certification in line with the requirements set by the certifying body through which you earned it. You can do so by taking a certain number of continuing education classes or by retaking the certification exam periodically. The AAMA requires medical assistants seeking certification renewal to earn a set number of recertification points to prove that they are staying current in the field.

Answering Your Questions About NY Medical Assistant Programs Online

We’ve covered a lot of ground so far, but you may still have some questions before you’re ready to hit “submit” on your application to one or more online medical assistant New York programs. If so, there’s a good chance that the following section will answer one or more of them.

Are scholarships or grants available for online medical assistant students in NY?

Yes. Many of these are offered by third-party organizations like corporations and nonprofit organizations. Some are also available directly through programs themselves; Molloy University’s Workforce Development Scholarship is a good example. Another source of gift-based aid is the New York City Individual Training Grant which, with the help of Workforce1 Career Centers, helps eligible students pay tuition, registration and testing fees, and purchase books and other materials necessary for their online medical assistant training programs.

Are there professional organizations or networking opportunities for New York medical assistants?

Absolutely. The most prominent professional organization is the New York State Society of Medical Assistants. This is the state society arm of the AAMA; you can also join local chapters in Erie, Monroe, Nassau, or Onondaga. Regardless of where you join, you can take advantage of the organization’s education and networking opportunities to help take your career to the next level.

Do I need to complete any prerequisites before applying?

Prerequisites vary from school to school, however, most online medical assistant programs in NYC do not require any. Neither SUNY Corning Community College nor City College of New York list prerequisite courses as conditions for admission. However, the City College of New York strongly recommends that incoming students complete the Knowledge of Medical Terminology and Anatomy course before beginning the program.

How much should I expect to pay for my program?

The exact cost of your program will depend on factors as big as the type of degree you earn and as small as the amount of time you spend commuting. A one-year certificate or diploma program will generally be cheaper than a two-year associate degree program. To get a rough idea of what you can expect to pay, take a closer look at the City College of New York’s medical assistant program — this certificate program costs roughly $3,200 in total. Other programs, like the one at Lehman College, are closer to about $2,000. Don’t forget, the grants and scholarships we mentioned earlier can help offset these costs.

What are the admission requirements for New York medical assistant programs?

Generally speaking, applicants must submit an online application (and associated fee) and proof of having earned a high school diploma or GED. If you have completed any college courses, you must also submit your transcripts. Some online medical assistant programs in New York have additional admissions requirements, like a personal statement (which is required at City College of New York) and proof of vaccination (which is required at the University of Buffalo).

What does an online medical assistant curriculum in New York cover?

The typical curriculum covers two main areas: administrative support and clinical skills. Classes prepare you with a basic understanding of topics like medical terminology, electronic health records, billing, insurance reimbursement, basic medical procedures, anatomy, and the legal aspects of medical care. Most online programs deliver the didactic elements of the curriculum online and facilitate the hands-on clinical elements at on-campus labs and partnering clinical facilities.

Salary and Career Insights for New York Medical Assistants

The demand for medical assistants in New York is significantly stronger than the rest of the nation. As the table below shows, from 2020 to 2030, the number of medical assistants in the state is expected to grow by more than 27%. Much of this growth will be in New York City, which already employs more medical assistants than any other metropolitan area.

But while the number of job openings available to medical assistants in NY far outpaces other states, the salaries do not. The median annual salary across the state is $37,860, just under the national median of $38,270. New Yorkers, as you’re likely well aware, also have to contend with a higher cost of living than most of the country, with most living costs exceeding the national average by more than 20%.

That said, it’s important to note that these projected salaries can be expected to increase in the near future given the dire need for medical assistants in the state. In the meantime, we encourage you to take a closer look at your earning potential across the state and start thinking about where you want to begin your career as a medical assistant.

Occupation NameNew Jobs (2020-2030)Job Growth Rate (2020-2030)Average Annual Openings (2020-2030)
United States853,50018.40%104,400
New York35,82027.20%4,470

Source: Projections Central

Area10th PercentileMedian90th Percentile
New York$29,990$37,860$48,510
Albany-Schenectady-Troy, NY$29,040$37,310$46,530
Binghamton, NY$28,880$30,670$38,130
Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Niagara Falls, NY$29,490$37,380$48,160
Elmira, NY$26,940$30,160$38,280
Glens Falls, NY$29,390$36,890$47,230
Ithaca, NY$29,340$36,870$48,510
Kingston, NY$29,620$36,520$42,910
New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA$30,490$38,040$48,510
Rochester, NY$29,040$36,590$42,370
Syracuse, NY$29,090$37,360$48,230
Utica-Rome, NY$28,880$36,360$45,850
Watertown-Fort Drum, NY$29,350$36,690$38,980

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics