Medical Assistant Salary Guide: How Much Do Medical Assistants Make
Reviewed by AIMS Education Staff
January 19, 2020
Healthcare workers may not have chosen the medical field for purely financial reasons. However, lucrative wages and employee benefits are undoubtedly influential factors in the decision-making process.
To help you make the right choice for yourself, explore this overview of the Medical Assistant salaries across the US. Keep in mind that the figures may vary depending on location, workplace, and experience within the field. Still, it is worth exploring the opportunities and requirements beforehand to set realistic expectations for your future career.
How Much Do Medical Assistants Start Off Making?
Entry-level Medical Assistants with less than 1 year of experience can expect to earn an annual salary of about $25,000. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports have shown that workers at the lower end of the pay scale received around $25,820 as of May 2019. It includes commission and overtime pay.
MA job prospects in the US are more than promising. The BLS projects growth of 19% between now and 2029. This means more opportunities for entry-level professionals. They can seek employment in physicians’ offices, hospitals, outpatient clinics, and other healthcare facilities.
Medical Assistants, at the start of their career, perform simple office tasks and medical care duties like taking patients’ blood pressure and preparing them for certain procedures. In the long run, their MA’s responsibilities become quite diverse, which makes them true multitasking experts in the healthcare industry.
CMA Salary vs. MA Salary
Although there are no formal educational requirements for becoming a medical assistant in most states, career prospects tend to be better for those who invest in training and certification.
The latest research data proves that obtaining a medical assistant certificate pays off in many ways. Firstly, certified medical assistants (CMAs) have better employment opportunities compared to their non-certified colleagues. Although medical assistants are not legally required to be licensed, many employers prefer candidates who have been certified through the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA).
What’s more, a certified medical assistant salary is reported to be higher than the one of the other specialists in the field. According to the 2019 CMA (AAMA) Compensation and Benefits Report, CMAs receive an average annual salary of $33,570. This figure is significantly higher than the national average for non-certified MAs.
Last but not least, students who pursue training and certification graduate with more practical experience in a real work environment. They follow the continuous learning model, which helps them make their way up the career ladder faster.
So, if you are going for a medical assistant program, consider taking the relevant certification exams upon completion. It will secure you better financial rewards and opportunities for progression in the long run.
Medical Assistant Salary per Hour
What does an MA do for a living? Medical assistants perform a variety of administrative and patient care tasks to support the work of physicians and processes within various healthcare facilities. Their training and experience are the main factors defining their hourly pay and benefits.
The 2019 CMA (AAMA) report shows that Certified Medical Assistants earn an average of $17.74 per hour. This figure can vary based on geographic region, work setting, years of practice, and the number of specialties. For example, people with less than two years of experience based in the South Atlantic region get $14.54 per hour. In comparison, those working in the Pacific region receive an hourly wage of $18.64, which is higher than the national average across all CMAs.
According to the same report, roughly 96% of all full-time medical assistants receive some form of a benefits package. It is one of the many great reasons to consider a medical assistant career in this promising and secure field.
Medical Assistant Median Annual Pay
According to the most recent BLS report, the 2019 median national annual salary for all medical assistants is $34,800. This figure varies across different states and places of work. For example, MAs employed in outpatient care centers earn $36,810 annually, while their colleagues in offices of chiropractors get $30,870.
Of course, the job duties and routines in hospitals, clinics, and offices are not always comparable. That is why the salary reflects not only the candidate experience but also the unique responsibilities related to the position. So, if you are applying for a job with a lower advertised annual rate, chances are there will be fewer requirements in terms of expertise and practice.