GUIDE
November 15, 2020
Medical assistant salary

There are many people who seem made to work in healthcare. Some spend decades adding to their education and gaining experience to become specialist physicians, advanced practice nurses, or to pursue other high-level professional skills. If you have an interest and passion for medicine but don’t have the time or resources to invest, or are looking to gain clinical hours for a nursing or physician assistant program, then a career as a Medical Assistant may be the right answer for you. 

One major factor people need to consider when thinking about becoming a medical assistant is how much you can make in this career! To help you understand your earning potential as a medical assistant, we’ve put together this Medical Assistant salary guide. 

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Part One What is a Medical Assistant? 

The Medical Assistant role consists of patient care duties such as taking and recording vital signs and other medical data, as well as front- and back-office duties like scheduling appointments, billing, and answering patient inquiries.

Medical Assistants have a unique and invaluable role in the operation of the facility in which they work. They assume responsibilities for both clinical and administrative duties, splitting their time between direct patient engagement and performing the tasks that keep things running smoothly. 

Employment

Becoming a Medical Assistant is not only an appealing career path for people interested in healthcare, but it is also a smart decision in terms of career stability. Not only do Medical Assistants earn solid compensation and benefits, but according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for Medical Assistants is extremely strong. There is an expectation that over the next ten years it will add 139,200 new jobs, representing an astounding 19% increase. 

Medical Assistants are most likely to find work in private physician’s offices but are also employed in nursing home facilities, clinics, long-and short-term healthcare centers and hospitals. 

Responsibilities

Though their responsibilities will change based on their work environment, over the course of a single day, a Medical Assistant is likely to interact directly with physicians and other members of the patient care team, as well as with the office manager, outside vendors, and insurance companies. As a result, they need to be attentive, organized, detail-oriented and flexible. 

Part Two Average Medical Assistant Salary

According to Forbes.com, Medical Assistant was ranked as the second-best job available to those without a college degree. It also ranks sixth among best healthcare support jobs and as one of the top 100 best jobs in the country. 

How Much Do Medical Assistants Make?

Medical assistant salaries vary based on a lot of factors but the BLS reports that the median average salary for Medical Assistants in 2020 was $35,850 per year.  

  • What Does a Medical Assistant Make Per Hour?
    • According to the BLS, the median average hourly pay for Medical Assistants in 2020 was $17.63.  
  • What is the Most You Can Make as a Medical Assistant?
    • According to the BLS, Medical Assistants have the potential to make close to $50k, with the highest 10 percent of Medical Assistants earning more than $50,580 in 2020.

Medical Assistants earn significantly more in some states than others, and those who work in metropolitan areas tend to earn higher incomes as well.  

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Part Three What Benefits Do You Get as a Medical Assistant?

It is important to remember that in addition to their base salary, Medical Assistants who work full-time are usually eligible for additional benefits as part of their compensation, including life and health insurance, paid days off for vacation, personal time and sick time, tuition reimbursement, and more. 

Part Four Medical Assistant Salaries by State 

If you are considering a career as a Medical Assistant, it is extremely helpful to know what kind of income you can expect based upon where you live. Below you will find the average salary that Medical Assistants earned in each state in 2019, according to the BLS.

State Annual Mean Wage
Alabama $29,950
Alaska $46,610
Arizona $35,670
Arkansas $31,530
California $42,990
Colorado $39,040
Connecticut $41,070
Delaware $34,750
District of Columbia $45,340
Florida $34,800
Georgia $34,250
Guam $26,270
Hawaii $40,620
Idaho $36,760
Illinois $37,190
Indiana $34,790
Iowa $37, 660
Kansas  $32,030
Kentucky $33,450
Louisiana $31,110
Maine $37,820
Maryland $38,480
Massachusetts $43,090
Michigan $34,830
Minnesota $43,090
Mississippi $30,550
Missouri $33,540
Montana $36,980
Nebraska $35,810
Nevada $35,970
New Hampshire $38,860
New Jersey $37,920
New Mexico $32,340
New York $39,850
North Carolina $34,540
North Dakota $38,380
Ohio $34, 270
Oklahoma $31,790
Oregon $41,700
Pennsylvania $34,670
Puerto Rico $24,430
Rhode Island $38,510
South Carolina $33,010
South Dakota $31,910
Tennessee $33,990
Texas $33,700
Utah $35,170
Vermont $37,190
Virgin Islands $34,030
Virginia $36,730
Washington $45,700
West Virginia $29,820
Wisconsin $38,800
Wyoming $35,660

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Part Five Highest Paying Cities for Medical Assistants 

Metropolitan areas have a well-earned reputation for paying higher incomes than more rural areas. There are several reasons for this, including a higher demand and greater competition for experienced professionals, as well as a higher cost of living.  

Below you will find the five cities that pay the highest salaries to Medical Assistants according to the BLS and where each ranks in terms of their cost of living compared to the rest of the country. 

  • Vallejo, California - $46,170 (cost of living is 31.3% higher than the U.S. average)
  • San Francisco, California - $45,640 (cost of living is 169.3% higher than the U.S. average)
  • Anchorage, Alaska - $45,110 (cost of living is 23.5% higher than the U.S. average)
  • Seattle, Washington - $44,410 (cost of living is 72.3% higher than the U.S. average)
  • Barnstable Town, Massachusetts - $44,300 (cost of living is 21.5% higher than the U.S. average)

Part Six Medical Assistant Salary by Place of Employment 

In addition to experience, credentials and geographic location, the salary that a Medical Assistant earns is impacted by their work environment.  

Though the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that more than half of Medical Assistants in the United States work in private physicians’ offices, those who receive the highest compensation work in outpatient care centers. 

Those who work in hospitals (whether state, local or private) earn almost the same median annual wage, while those who work in physicians’ offices earn roughly five percent less. 

Top Paying Industries for Medical Assistants 

  • Outpatient care centers: $36,810 annual median salary
  • Hospitals; state, local, and private: $36,080 annual median salary
  • Offices of physicians: $34,870 annual median salary
  • Offices of chiropractors: $30,870 annual median salary

*Data via BLS

Part Seven How to Increase Your Salary as a Medical Assistant 

One of the reasons that becoming a Medical Assistant is so popular is the ease of entry into the career.

Make More Money by Getting Certified 

Though some employers will offer on-the-job training to those with a high school degree, candidates who are interested in earning a higher salary will not only pursue one of the many high-quality training programs available but will select one that offers professional certification. 

Not only will certification validate your professionalism and expertise, but it will also make you a more desirable applicant for a job and is likely to result in a higher salary. 

Higher Earnings Come With Experience 

The longer you work within the profession, the more you will be valued and the higher your salary is likely to rise. 

Medical Assistants with ten or more years of experience are generally paid as much as 20% more than those who are new to the field and are also eligible for higher-paying management positions as they arise. 

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Part Eight How to Get Started as a Medical Assistant 

If you’ve decided that becoming a Medical Assistant is the right career path for you, you can learn more about the process in our handy guide!

The basic steps you’ll take are:

  1. Finding a Medical Assistant Program
  2. Become credentialed as a Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) 
  3. Start job hunting!

Part Nine Medical Assistant Resources

Interested in learning more about becoming a Medical Assistant? Check out some of our other articles and guides:

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