Medical Assistant Salary
National growing demand for healthcare services puts more and more pressure on the healthcare system to provide top-quality care. As a result, there is more need for educated medical assistants to help manage healthcare facilities and assist with patients. In turn, these medical assistants are seeing larger salaries.
In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) anticipates that the medical assisting field will grow by 23 percent through at least the year 2024. This is one of the fastest growing areas of healthcare, especially when you consider that the growth rate for all other occupations rests at seven percent for the same time period.
How Much Do Medical Assistants Make?
According to the BLS, the median annual salary for a medical assistant is $30,590, with the top 10 percent in the field earning more than $43,880. Most assistants are also compensated with yearly or quarterly bonuses, healthcare packages and other benefits. Some employers may even help their assistants expand their skills and knowledge with tuition reimbursement plans. Considering that this profession only requires a certificate to start, the ratio of compensation to education cost is favorable.
Not every medical assistant makes the same salary. Like most professions, what you earn is influenced by factors such as these:
- Years on the job
- Education level attained
- Where you work
- Geographical location
Keep in mind that some of the areas that pay more for medical assistants may also have a higher cost of living. However, salaries may vary according to your specific location and employers in large cities often realize that their workers must be better paid.
Let’s look at some geographical data from the BLS.
States with the Highest Employment Level
Here are the top five states who employ the most medical assistants and their median annual salaries:
- California: $35,440
- Texas: $29,180
- Florida: $30,170
- Pennsylvania: $30,590
- New York: $34,280
Highest Paying States and Cities
- District of Columbia: $39,780
- Alaska: $38,800
- Massachusetts: $38,090
- Washington: $36,400
- Minnesota: $36,200
- San Jose, CA: $44,590
- San Francisco, CA: $43,190
- Fairbanks, AK: $41,840
- Santa Rosa, CA: $40,480
- Boston, MA: $39,700
The BLS reports these industries who employ medical assistants as the best paying:
- Outpatient care centers: $32,060
- Hospitals: $31,410
- Physicians’ office: $30,830
- Offices of other health practitioners: $27,980
Another factor that might positively impact your salary is education. Professionals with more education tend to be better paid. While you can enter the field with a one-year certificate, you can also work towards a full, two-year degree. An associate’s degree from your local community college or university can provide a foundation of learning that can be built upon later. Plus, when you want to advance your career and specialize later—and earn a better salary—you’ll be halfway toward your bachelor’s degree.
What Do Medical Assistants Actually Do?
A medical assistant performs a wide range of support tasks in a doctor’s office, clinic or other healthcare facility. Their job is at the crossroad of clinical and administrative support. They might work on patient scheduling or records for their morning work, but then perform diagnostic tests in the afternoon. Sometimes, the environment requires a constant shift between all of the assistant’s duties.
As a medical assistant, the daily scope of your job is likely to include some or all of the following:
- Lab Work: you might perform simple tests in the lab
- Pharmacology: you may need to discuss medicines with patients – how to take them, how to avoid negative drug interactions, etc.
- Surgery: Medical Assistants frequently assist with minor surgeries in a doctor’s office
- Insurance coding: in order for your office to be paid by insurers, you must know the insurance codes for the purposes of billing
- Reporting: You will need to know how to write effectively to sum up a report in a patient’s chart
- Office Management: You may need to do bookkeeping and other tasks in the office
If you like what you see as far as education options and salaries, why not begin researching medical assisting programs in your area or online today?
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