GUIDE
January 10, 2023
Medical assistant salary

There are many people who seem made to work in healthcare. Some spend decades adding to their education to become specialized physicians, advanced practice nurses, or pursue other high-level healthcare careers. 

If you have a passion for medicine but don’t have the time or resources to invest, or want to gain clinical hours for a nursing or physician assistant program, then a career as a Medical Assistant may be right 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, we’ve put together this Medical Assistant salary guide.

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 where they work. They assume responsibilities for both clinical and administrative duties, splitting their time between direct patient engagement and performing tasks that keep things running smoothly. 

Employment

Becoming a Medical Assistant is also a smart decision in terms of career stability. Medical Assistants earn solid compensation and benefits, and according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the job outlook for Medical Assistants is extremely strong. They expect that over the next ten years there will be an additional 139,600 jobs, representing an astounding 18% increase. 

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

Responsibilities

Though responsibilities vary based on work environment, Medical Assistants frequently interact with:

  • Physicians and other members of the patient care team

  • Office managers

  • Outside vendors, and 

  • Insurance companies 

As a result, they need to be attentive, organized, detail-oriented, and flexible.

Common Medical Assistant tasks include:

  • Collecting patient medical histories 

  • Managing health care records

  • Assisting patients with making medical office appointments

  • Billing patients and managing insurance 

  • Collecting and transporting patient specimens

  • Assisting physicians with procedures

  • Preparing and administering immunizations

  • Taking electrocardiograms

  • Transmitting prescription refills

  • Performing an inventory of supplies and routine maintenance of equipment.

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Part Two Average Medical Assistant Salary

The US News and World Report, Medical Assistant is ranked #9 on their list of best jobs without a college degree.

How Much Do Medical Assistants Make?

The BLS reports that the median average Medical Assistant salary was $37,190 in 2021 . However, income can vary based on several factors, such as:

  • The type of healthcare facility where you work

  • The city and state where you live, and

  • Whether you work full-time or part-time

What Does a Medical Assistant Make Per Hour?

According to the BLS, the median average hourly pay for Medical Assistants in 2021 was $17.63.  

What is the Most You Can Make as a Medical Assistant?

ZipRecruiter reports that Medical Assistants in the US earn annual salaries as high as $43,000. 

However, the BLS found that Medical Assistants in the following states earn an even higher median annual income:

  • Washington: $47,320

  • District of Columbia: $46,690

  • Alaska: $46,390

  • California: $44,780

  • Massachusetts: $44,200

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

According to the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA), as of 2021, about 96% of Medical Assistants receive some type of benefits package from their employers. Some of the benefits may include:

  • Healthcare 
  • Holiday pay
  • Sick leave
  • A retirement plan
  • Paid vacation time
  • Dental coverage
  • Disability insurance
  • Prescription discounts

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 on where you live. Below you will find the average salary that Medical Assistants earned in each state in 2019, according to the BLS.

2022 Medical Assistant Salary by State

State

Annual Salary

Hourly Wage

New Jersey

$34,638

$16.65

Wyoming

$34,611

$16.64

Arizona

$34,535

$16.60

Montana

$33,821

$16.26

Indiana

$33,483

$16.10

Massachusetts

$33,483

$16.10

Tennessee

$33,282

$16.00

Hawaii

$33,156

$15.94

Nevada

$32,798

$15.77

Connecticut

$32,528

$15.64

Minnesota

$32,489

$15.62

Washington

$32,474

$15.61

New York

$32,385

$15.57

Rhode Island

$32,012

$15.39

Alaska

$31,737

$15.26

Oregon

$31,537

$15.16

North Dakota

$31,191

$15.00

Wisconsin

$31,082

$14.94

Ohio

$30,729

$14.77

Alabama

$30,565

$14.69

New Hampshire

$30,510

$14.67

Maryland

$30,435

$14.63

Utah

$30,089

$14.47

Iowa

$30,040

$14.44

Virginia

$29,901

$14.38

California

$29,810

$14.33

New Mexico

$29,666

$14.26

South Dakota

$29,656

$14.26

Vermont

$29,654

$14.26

Florida

$29,623

$14.24

Idaho

$29,496

$14.18

Nebraska

$29,193

$14.04

Delaware

$28,968

$13.93

Colorado

$28,904

$13.90

South Carolina

$28,530

$13.72

Kansas

$28,506

$13.70

Arkansas

$28,126

$13.52

Maine

$27,965

$13.44

Mississippi

$27,793

$13.36

Georgia

$27,620

$13.28

Oklahoma

$27,570

$13.25

Michigan

$27,309

$13.13

Kentucky

$27,274

$13.11

West Virginia

$27,223

$13.09

Pennsylvania

$26,723

$12.85

Illinois

$26,558

$12.77

Missouri

$26,346

$12.67

Texas

$26,119

$12.56

Louisiana

$26,012

$12.51

North Carolina

$24,047

$11.56

Part Five Highest Paying Cities for Medical Assistants 

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

Here are the five highest-paying cities in the US for Medical Assistants, per the BLS.

  • Vallejo-Fairfield, CA: $58,670

  • San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA: $54,930

  • San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA: $53,870

  • Santa Rosa, CA: $53,530

  • Sacramento-Roseville-Arden-Arcade, CA: $51,530

Part Six Medical Assistant Salary by Place of Employment 

The BLS reports that the industries with the highest concentration of Medical Assistants include:

  • Outpatient care centers: $38,270

  • Hospitals: $37,800

  • Offices of physicians: $37,150

  • Offices of chiropractors: $30,100

However, the BLS also reports that the top-paying industries for Medical Assistants include:

  • Agencies, brokerages, and other insurance-related activities: $52,970 annually

  • Professional and commercial equipment and supplies merchant wholesalers: $48,940 annually

  • Outpatient care centers: $44,680 annually

  • Electronic shopping and mail-order houses: $44,420 annually

  • Insurance carriers: $44,390 annually

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. However, once you become a Medical Assistant, there are several great ways to increase your income!

Get Certified 

The Certified Medical Assistant, or CMA, credential represents a medical assistant with credentials awarded by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). The credential is awarded to candidates who pass the CMA certification exam.

Candidates for the CMA exam must meet the following requirements:

  • Be a recent graduate or a soon-to-be graduate of an accredited medical assisting program

  • A non-recent graduate of a medical assisting program that became accredited within 36 months of the candidate's graduation.

Medical Assistant programs must be accredited by:

Higher Earnings Come With Experience 

According to Indeed, 2022 Medical Assistant income is determined by years of experience.

  • Less than 1 year: $16.77/hr

  • 1 to 2 years: $17.49/hr

  • 3 to 5 years: $18.76/hr

  • 6 to 9 years: $19.12/hr

  • More than 10 years: $21.15/hr

In other words, 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 often paid as much as 20% more than those who are new to the field and are also eligible for higher-paying management positions. 

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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:

  • Earn your high school diploma or GED

  • Finding a Medical Assistant program

  • Enroll and complete your program

  • Become credentialed as a Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) 

  • Start job hunting

  • Keep your CMA certification current and continue learning on the job!

Part Nine Medical Assistant Resources

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

Part Ten Is it Worth it to Become a Medical Assistant?

If you are wondering if going to school to become a medical assistant is worth it, it helps to compare the cost of education with your yearly earning potential. 

The good news is that the cost of school is significantly less than what a medical assistant can earn working full-time in one year. According to the BLS, Medical Assistants earned a median annual salary of $37,190, or $17.88/hr in 2021.

Cost of Medical Assistant Programs

Vocational Schools

Medical assistant programs at vocational schools are usually about eight to twelve months long. This time frame allows students to start their careers more quickly. Vocational programs typically cost somewhere between $3,000 to $10,000.

Community College

Some community colleges offer an associate's degree in medical assisting. These programs typically take two years to complete and students usually attend full-time for the duration of the program. Most associate degree programs at a community college cost between $4,000 and $15,000 per year to complete.