Medical Assistant Scope of Practice by State

If you work in the medical field, you are probably aware that there are certain things that different professionals are allowed to do. For example, a registered nurse can give an injection but cannot perform surgery. This is because surgery is not within a nurse's scope of practice. 

Scope of practice laws and regulations are created to ensure that healthcare professionals only perform tasks that are appropriate for their level of training and skill set. 

In most states, a medical assistant's scope of practice includes things like taking vital signs and other basic clinical tasks. However, the laws in each state vary slightly. 

It is important to understand what falls under your scope of practice as a medical assistant so that you are always providing appropriate care. 

Medical Assistant Scope of Practice by State

Laws about medical assisting vary from state to state. Some states require medical assistant certification while others do not. Things like giving injections or drawing blood may be allowed with special training in some states but not others. 

Some states are very specific in their requirements and some are quite vague. Each state varies slightly in the language they use to describe a medical assistant’s scope of practice.

Let’s take a look:

Alabama Medical Assistant Scope of Practice

Medical assistants are able to perform most tasks safely delegated to them by a physician or other licensed care provider. In Alabama, this includes drawing blood and giving intramuscular injections including vaccinations. 

Alaska Medical Assistant Scope of Practice

In Alaska, a medical assistant can only perform tasks that have been delegated to them by a licensed provider. The Alaska standards of delegation state that before a provider can assign a task to an unlicensed provider (a medical assistant), they must assess the patient to make sure that the task is safe and appropriate. Medical assistants may not care for patients who are critically ill or unstable.

Arizona Medical Assistant Scope of Practice 

In Arizona, while medical assistants do not have to be certified, they are required to receive some training before they can work. Acceptable training includes either an accredited certification program or a program created by and supervised by a physician. 

If you are uncertified, your employer must provide proper education and training before you begin work. 

Arkansas Medical Assistant Scope of Practice

In Arkansas, the laws state that a medical assistant cannot delegate any tasks to another healthcare provider and can’t diagnose any illness or injury. 

They can administer medications and injections as long as an assessment of the patient has been completed by the licensed provider first. 

California Medical Assistant Scope of Practice 

California requires specific training hours to be met for a medical assistant who administers any medications. This training includes 10 hours of training in administering injections and performing skin tests; 10 hours of training in venipuncture and skin puncture for the purpose of withdrawing blood; at least 10 of each intramuscular, subcutaneous, and intradermal injections and 10 skin tests, and/or at least 10 venipuncture and 10 skin punctures; and 10 hours of training in administering medical by inhalation.

Colorado Medical Assistant Scope of Practice

Medical assistants in Colorado can perform tasks that are routine and do not require the special skills of a licensed physician. This includes tasks such as taking vital signs and changing simple bandages.

Connecticut Medical Assistant Scope of Practice

Connecticut requires you to be certified before working as a medical assistant. 

The Department of Health in Connecticut has specific language prohibiting medical assistants from administering medications. 

The Connecticut Department of Public Health states, “Examples of specifically prohibited activities are radiography and medication administration by any route (including oxygen, immunizations, and tuberculin testing).”

However, since the COVID-19 pandemic, medical assistants with special training have been allowed to administer vaccinations. 

Delaware Medical Assistant Scope of Practice 

Delaware law allows medical assistants to administer medications, perform blood draws, and complete any other tasks safely delegated to them by a licensed provider. A medical assistant can not perform clinical assessments, evaluations, or interpretations.

Florida Medical Assistant Scope of Practice 

Florida has specific language regarding what a medical assistant is allowed to do. The following tasks all fall within a medical assistant's scope of practice in Florida: 

  1. Performing aseptic procedures.
  2. Taking vital signs.
  3. Preparing patients for the physician’s care.
  4. Performing venipunctures and non-intravenous injections.
  5. Observing and reporting patients’ signs or symptoms.
  6. Administering basic first aid.
  7. Assisting with patient examinations or treatments.
  8. Operating office medical equipment.
  9. Collecting routine laboratory specimens as directed by the physician.
  10. Administering medication as directed by the physician.
  11. Performing basic laboratory procedures.
  12. Performing office procedures including all general administrative duties required by the physician.
  13. Performing dialysis procedures, including home dialysis.

Georgia Medical Assistant Scope of Practice

Georgia law allows medical assistants to perform venous blood draws and administer medications by intramuscular or subcutaneous injection. However, in order to perform these tasks, a licensed provider must be present in the building. 

A medical assistant can perform other tasks like taking vital signs without a provider in-house. 

Hawaii Medical Assistant Scope of Practice

In Hawaii, medical assistants are not allowed to perform any task which requires professional clinical judgment, evaluation, diagnosis, or interpretation. Medical assistants in Hawaii are allowed to give injections, perform aseptic procedures, and assist with procedures, as long as a licensed provider has assessed the patient and task to ensure that it is appropriate.

Idaho Medical Assistant Scope of Practice

Idaho requires you to be certified before working as a medical assistant. After a medical assistant has been certified, they can perform any reasonable task delegated to them by a physician.

Illinois Medical Assistant Scope of Practice

The Illinois nurse practice act prohibits licensed providers from delegating medication administration to medical assistants. Medical assistants should not be asked to administer medications, perform any task that requires interpretation of results, or care for critically ill patients.

Indiana Medical Assistant Scope of Practice

In Indiana, a medical assistant can administer medication and perform any task that a physician delegates to them. There is specific language stating that the physician is responsible for any action that they delegate to the medical assistant. Before a medical assistant gives medication or performs a task, they should obtain a written order from the physician. 

Iowa Medical Assistant Scope of Practice

In Iowa, the medical assistant can perform any task delegated to them, as long as they are supervised by a registered nurse or physician. The nurse or physician is responsible for delegating safe tasks to the medical assistant.

Kansas Medical Assistant Scope of Practice 

In Kansas, medical assistants can administer medication and give injections, unless there is a reasonable risk of harm with the medication. While this is up for interpretation, any provider should check medication and dosage before the medical assistant administers it. 

Kentucky Medical Assistant Scope of Practice 

In Kentucky, a medical assistant can help with most delegated tasks as long as the provider has assessed the patient. 

Louisiana Medical Assistant Scope of Practice

Louisiana has very specific regulations about which medications cannot be given by a medical assistant. These include oxygen, narcotics, blood products, intravenous medications, and insulin. Medical assistants must complete formal training in medication administration before they are allowed to administer any type of medication. 

Maine Medical Assistant Scope of Practice

In Maine, any task can be delegated to a medical assistant, but the delegating provider must assume all responsibility for any delegated task.

Maryland Medical Assistant Scope of Practice

In Maryland, the following tasks can be performed independently by a medical assistant; Patient preparation for physician examination, patient history interview, collecting and processing specimens, pregnancy tests, dipstick, and microscopic urinalysis, and rapid streptococcal testing and throat cultures; Application of tuberculin skin tests, Electrocardiography, Administering basic pulmonary function tests; and visual field tests.

Massachusetts Medical Assistant Scope of Practice 

The medical assisting scope of practice in Massachusetts is vague but states that no unlicensed personnel shall practice medicine. This limits medical assistants to tasks such as taking vital signs and preparing patient rooms.

Michigan Medical Assistant Scope of Practice

In Michigan, a medical assistant can help with most delegated tasks as long as the provider has assessed the patient and knows that the medical assistant has enough knowledge and skill to perform the task safely. 

Minnesota Medical Assistant Scope of Practice 

In Minnesota, a medical assistant can help with most delegated tasks as long as the provider has assessed the patient and knows that the medical assistant has enough knowledge and skill to perform the task safely. 

Mississippi Medical Assistant Scope of Practice 

There are no specific laws for medical assistants in Mississippi. Because of this, it is safe to assume that physicians can delegate most tasks to medical assistants, but will be held responsible for any task that they delegate.

Missouri Medical Assistant Scope of Practice 

Missouri medical assistants can give injections, medications, and any other task that a licensed provider feels is appropriate and safe for delegation.

Montana Medical Assistant Scope of Practice

Montana places all responsibility for delegation on the licensed provider. The licensed provider can delegate any task to the medical assistant but will be ultimately responsible for the tasks performed. 

Nebraska Medical Assistant Scope of Practice 

In order for medical assistants to pass medications in Nebraska, they must either be certified and pass a competency exam, or complete a 40-hour course and the exam. Medical assistants can legally perform any other task that is considered safe and routine for the patient. 

Nevada Medical Assistant Scope of Practice

Nevada law allows medical assistants to perform any reasonable task that is delegated to them, as long as the delegating licensed provider is present and can supervise the task. Nevada law specifically prohibits medical assistants from giving any kind of anesthetic agent.

New Hampshire Medical Assistant Scope of Practice 

There are no specific laws for medical assistants in New Hampshire. Because of this, it is safe to assume that physicians can delegate most tasks to medical assistants, but will be held responsible for any task that they delegate.

New Jersey Medical Assistant Scope of Practice 

New Jersey requires you to be certified before working as a medical assistant. After a medical assistant has been certified, they can perform any reasonable task delegated to them by a physician.

New Mexico Medical Assistant Scope of Practice 

New Mexico law states that medical assistants can perform any task that has been delegated to them by a licensed provider, but the provider will be held responsible for the delegated task.

New York Medical Assistant Scope of Practice 

New York law lists specific tasks that can be performed by a medical assistant. These include the following: 

  • Secretarial work
  • Measuring vital signs
  • Performing ECGs
  • Removing sutures or staples
  • Collecting and preparing laboratory specimens including: Urine dipsticks, phlebotomy, cheek swabs, throat swabs, superficial cultures
  • Performing basic hearing and vision tests
  • Providing prepared family education and instruction
  • Changing or applying wound dressings (not casts)
  • Applying an allergen patch test but not interpreting it

North Carolina Medical Assistant Scope of Practice

North Carolina law states that a medical assistant can perform any task that has been delegated to them by a licensed provider, but the provider will be held responsible for the delegated task.

North Dakota Medical Assistant Scope of Practice 

Medical assistants in North Dakota must be certified in order to administer medications. They can perform any other usual medical assistant tasks without certification.

Ohio Medical Assistant Scope of Practice 

Ohio law specifically states that a medical assistant can complete any task that does not require special training or ongoing assessment. Tasks cannot be delegated that would cause harm if performed incorrectly.

Oklahoma Medical Assistant Scope of Practice 

There are no specific laws for medical assistants in Oklahoma. Because of this, it is safe to assume that physicians can delegate most tasks to medical assistants, but will be held responsible for any task that they delegate.

Oregon Medical Assistant Scope of Practice

Oregon law states that medical assistants can perform any task that has been delegated to them by a licensed provider, but the provider will be held responsible for the delegated task.

Pennsylvania Medical Assistant Scope of Practice

Pennsylvania law states that medical assistants can perform any task that has been delegated to them by a licensed provider, but the provider will be held responsible for the delegated task.

Rhode Island Medical Assistant Scope of Practice 

Rhode Island has specific tasks that can be performed by certified vs uncertified medical assistants. Medical assistants must be certified in order to take laboratory specimens, administer vaccines, and administer medication.

South Carolina Medical Assistant Scope of Practice 

Medical assistants in South Carolina can independently perform tasks such as; meeting patients’ needs for personal hygiene, nutrition, ambulation, elimination, taking vital signs, and maintaining asepsis. Medical assistants can do anything that would not cause harm to the patient if done incorrectly.

South Dakota Medical Assistant Scope of Practice 

There are no specific laws for medical assistants in Oklahoma. Because of this, it is safe to assume that physicians can delegate most tasks to medical assistants, but will be held responsible for any task that they delegate.

Tennessee Medical Assistant Scope of Practice 

Missouri medical assistants can give injections, medications, and any other task that a licensed provider feels is appropriate and safe for delegation.

Texas Medical Assistant Scope of Practice 

Medical assistants in Texas can perform any task that a licensed provider deems appropriate. They must have the skills and knowledge to perform the task safely.

Utah Medical Assistant Scope of Practice 

In Utah, a medical assistant cannot; perform surgical procedures, prescribe medication, or administer anesthesia. All other tasks are acceptable under the supervision of the delegating licensed healthcare provider, as long as the medical assistant is competent and knowledgeable enough to perform the task safely. 

Vermont Medical Assistant Scope of Practice 

Vermont law states that medical assistants can perform any task that has been delegated to them by a licensed provider, but the provider will be held responsible for the delegated task.

Virginia Medical Assistant Scope of Practice 

Virginia medical assistants can perform all typical medical assisting tasks, with the addition of the administration of controlled substances. 

Washington Medical Assistant Scope of Practice 

Washington requires you to be certified before working as a medical assistant. After a medical assistant has been certified, they can perform any reasonable task delegated to them by a physician.

West Virginia Medical Assistant Scope of Practice 

West Virginia law specifically states that medical assistants cannot administer IV medications or fluids, take telephone orders from physicians, or perform any task that requires ongoing assessment. All delegated tasks should be supervised by a licensed provider. 

Wisconsin Medical Assistant Scope of Practice 

Medical assistants in Wisconsin can perform any task that a licensed provider deems appropriate. They must have the skills and knowledge to perform the task safely.

Wyoming Medical Assistant Scope of Practice

Medical assistants in Wyoming can perform any task that a licensed provider deems appropriate. They must have the skills and knowledge to perform the task safely

How to Get Your Medical Assistant Certification

Idaho, Washington, Connecticut, and New Jersey require medical assistants to be certified. This means that you cannot legally work as a medical assistant in these states without certification. 

Although it is not required in other states, becoming certified shows your future employers that you are committed to your job, and that you have the skills and knowledge to take care of patients safely and efficiently. 

Getting your medical assistant certification can be done fairly quickly and is usually inexpensive.

Here’s how to become a certified medical assistant:

  1. Get your high school diploma or GED. All medical assisting programs require you to have a high school diploma or GED before starting. You can practice for and take your GED exam in as little as four weeks. 
  2. Find a medical assisting program. Medical assisting programs can be completed online, through an in-person certification program, or through a medical assistant degree program. Try to choose a program that meets your educational needs and helps get you closer to your goal. 
  3. Apply for financial aid or scholarships. There are many financial aid and scholarship opportunities available, even for online and certificate programs. Apply through the FAFSA or search for grants and scholarships online.
  4. Complete your training program. Online programs can be completed on your own time, in as little as 6 weeks. Make sure you study hard and look for opportunities to practice your skills. 
  5. Complete an externship (optional). A medical assistant externship is a great opportunity for you to practice your skills in a real medical setting. It involves following a working medical assistant during their work day and having the opportunity to practice skills and ask questions 
  6. Take your exam. Taking one of the medical assisting certification exams is the final step to certification. There are three main types of certifications—CMA, RMA, and CCMA.

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