Medical assistant Salary and Career guide

Since 2008, the medical assistant career has been recognized as one of the fastest growing professions in the healthcare industry. The medical assisting salary has consistently risen over the past decade. In 2004 medical assistants earned an average income of $23,332 according to the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) which regularly conducts income surveys. Compare this to the 2011 nationwide average annual salary of $30,170 supplied by the US Bureau of Labor.

Because this is the average salary for the medical assistant sector, some assistants earn more and others earn less than this average. In fact, the pay range among medical assistants is significant. Some earn as little as $20,810 annually, while other experienced medical assistants enjoy an income as high as $40,190.

average Salary of a Medical Assistant

Highest Medical Assistant Salaries Depending on Experience
YEARS
HOURLY RATE
ANNUAL SALARY
Under 2 years
$13.23
$15,000 - $35,000
3-5 years
$14.26 - $15.70
$25,000 - $38,000
10+ years
$15.25 - $18.90
$30,000 - $50,000
Source: Payscale.com 2012

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics doctors' offices are the industry with the highest level of employment followed by hospitals and other health practitioners' offices. But the top earners in this occupation are those that work in the psychiatric and substance abuse hospitals.

What Influences a Medical Assistant's Salary?

As mentioned earlier, medical assistants perform very diverse tasks. Their average medical office assistant salary will depend primarily on the education and experience of the candidate. Furthermore, their remuneration may also vary depending on their work environment and whether they are certified or not.

The geographic location may also affect the salary package for this occupation. Some of the medical assistants working in Alaska for example are earning an annual mean wage of $39,200 with an hourly pay rate of $18.84. The District of Columbia, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Hawaii are the other top paying states for this profession, based on the Occupational Employment and Wages Report of BLS in May 2011.

Increasing Demand for Medical Assistants Means Better Wages

The Department of Labour and Statistics continues to report that the demand for medical assistants is significant and ranks medical assisting among the fastest growing occupations over the 2008–18 decade.

What is important to emphasize is that the demand for qualified and certified medical assistants continues to rise. Because of that, the job opportunities are fairly high compared with other professions.

Increase Your Medical Assistant Salary Pack

There a number of things you can do to increase your salary:

1. Gain Certification

Licensing or certification whilst not compulsory- is also becoming desirable by employers and with it you really stand apart from the competition as it shows your commitment to this career.

After you have completed a medical assistant training program, you can take the certification examination and become a certified medical assistant and carry CMA designation. Certification opens up many more job opportunities and commands better salaries. See the table below:

Salary for Medical Assistants By Certification
CERTIFICATION
MEAN ANNUAL WAGES
Certified Medical Assistant (CMA)
$39,400
Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)
$39,100
Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) Basic
$41,200
Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)
$35,700
ASCP Certified Phlebotomy Technician (PBT)
$40,400
Source: Payscale 2012

2. Pursue formal medical assistant training and credentials

It is becoming increasingly clear that employers prefer to hire individuals who graduated from an accredited Medical Assisting program. Many can be done online if you have time restrictions or live far away from the nearest education facility building. These can be completed in either one year or less for a certificate or a diploma and two years for an Associate degree.

Courses will cover the following subject areas: Anatomy, Physiology, Medical terminology, They also teach the basics on typing skills, accounting, record keeping, insurance processing and transcription. You will also learn laboratory techniques, first aid, administration of medications and clinical and diagnostic procedures.