Medical assistants play a crucial part among health services personnel worldwide thanks to their ability to master both clinical and administrative roles. Their judicious performance of numerous tasks under both categories means they are practically indispensable to any medical establishment’s day-to-day functioning.
Additionally, the medical assistant field remains one of the few under healthcare where one can begin a career with only a postsecondary degree and a few months of training.
So, a career as a medical assistant is an appealing and crucial one. But what exactly is the outlook for the field? And how much can one expect to earn as a medical assistant at various points in one’s career? We take a look at all of these below.
Medical Assistant Salary - Overview
Medical assistants in the United States earn an average of $37,190 annually. This is according to data revealed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. According to the same data, the top 10 percent of earners in the field take home more than $48,710 annually.
As we’ll see below, several factors affect how much you earn as a medical assistant and what percentile class you fall into. But, unsurprisingly, with enough time and dedication, it is possible and relatively easy to increase your salary as a medical assistant.
Medical Assistant Salary by Percentile
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, those who fall into the 10th percentile of medical assistants in terms of salary range earn $29,070 annually. Those in the 25th percentile take home $30,200 annually, while those in the 75th percentile take home $43,490.
At the top of the pyramid, in the 90th percentile range, medical assistants can look to earn around $48,170.
Medical Assistant Salary by State
Alaska remains the state with the highest median salary for medical assistants. Here, MAs earn an average of $47,400 annually, close to the highest pay in other states nationwide.
The top 10 percent of medical assistant salary earners in Alaska take home as high as $60,150. The bottom ten percent of earners in the state can still expect to take home at least $37,290.
In Alabama, the median salary is $29,920. The bottom ten percent earn $23,470, while the top ten earn $37,660.
Things are similar in Arkansas, where the median salary is $29,920, the bottom ten percent earn $24,680, while the top ten percent take home $37,990.
In Arizona, the median salary is a little higher than in Arkansas and Arizona at $37,390. The bottom ten percent earn $29,640, while the top ten earn $47,250.
Medical assistants in California can expect a median salary of $38,780, a bottom ten percent range of $30,210, and a top 10 percent range of $61,800.
Increasing Your Salary as a Medical Assistant
As mentioned earlier, several factors can affect how much salary you earn as a medical assistant. Understanding and optimizing these factors can help you quickly go from a bottom ten percent or median earner to a top 10 percent earner.
Among these factors are:
Medical assistants don’t just work in hospitals or doctor’s offices. They can work in various medical establishments, and their exact place of work plays a massive role in how much they take home every year.
While 57% of medical assistants work in a doctor’s office, 15% work in hospitals, 8% work in Outpatient Care Centers, and 4% work in Chiropractors’ offices.
While those who work in hospitals earn $39,550 a year, those who work in doctor’s offices earn $37,610, those who work in Outpatient Care Centers earn $44,680, while others earn about $33,710.
As we saw earlier, the exact state where a medical assistant works also dramatically affects their salary. BLS data shows that Alaska, Washington, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Oregon, Hawaii, California, Connecticut, and New York are the best states to work as a medical assistant.
Vallejo, Fairfield, San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, Santa Clara, Sunnyvale, Napa, and Sacramento are among the best metro areas in the nation to practice as a medical assistant for optimal salary.
Administrative medical assistants don’t earn the same as clinical medical assistants. And neither makes the same as those who take on multiple duties in both categories.
Additionally, full-time medical assistants tend to earn more than part-time workers. Those who work full-time can also look forward to benefits packages, including healthcare, paid holidays, sick leave, vacation, and a 401 (k).
Experience and education levels are other factors that affect how much you can earn as a medical assistant. Naturally, those with advanced certifications are in higher demand and tend to be compensated more.
Medical Assistant Career Outlook
The medical assistant field has a pretty impressive growth outlook. The area is expected to grow by 16 percent in the next ten years, providing job opportunities for more and more Americans.
This percentage is significantly higher than the national average for other occupations in the country.
Reasons for Outlook Projection
For several reasons, the medical assistant field is expected to enjoy such a profound growth rate. First, the population has been experiencing a baby boom that is expected to continue, creating more demand for medical services that MAs help perform.
Secondly, improved technology and the need to have technically sound assistants in this area also play a part.
Considering Your Salary & Career Outlook as a Medical Assistant
Becoming a medical assistant is relatively easy. It is also a field with a positive growth outlook and impressive salary ranges nationwide. Above, we have taken an in-depth look at how much you can expect to earn as a medical assistant, depending on your area of specialization, location, and establishment type, among others.
It is also worth noting that those who wish to further their careers can build on their experiences as medical assistants and pursue higher-paying jobs in healthcare.