The range of salaries for the middle 50% of medical assistants is between $29,000 and $34,000 per year. This is an hourly pay rate between $14 and $16. Therefore, the median annual medical assistant salary is $31,600, or $15 per hour. Medical assistants who are just starting out and those working in the lowest 10th percentile can expect an annual salary of around $26,600 or less. This is also $13 or less per hour. Those working in the top 10th percentile, seasoned professionals, can expect an annual salary of at least $37,000, or $18 or higher per hour.
Many factors will determine the income of a medical assistant. Geographic location and type of employment play a role, as they do in many industries. Specifically, medical assistants working in Alaska receive the highest income, while those working in West Virginia received some of the lowest incomes per year. Type of employment is also very important to a medical assistant’s salary. Wages tend to be higher for professionals working in psychiatric hospitals rather than those working in general hospitals or physician’s offices.
The total compensation package for a medical assistant after benefits is on average about $48,000. Paid benefits from an employer may include health insurance, paid time off, social security, and pension, to name a few.
Job Description of a Medical Assistant
There are three types of medical assistants: administrative, clerical, and clinical. Administrative and clerical medical assistants tend to complete roughly the same tasks. These tasks may include scheduling appointments, completing insurance forms, composing letters, typing patients’ charts, recording medical records, and keeping up with accounts payable/receivable.
Clinical medical assistants will be more involved in the medical part of the physician’s office or hospital. Some duties involved in the daily tasks of a clinical medical assistant may include assisting in examinations, sterilizing equipment, obtaining vital signs, helping in lab procedures, and others jobs.
How to Become a Medical Assistant
- Programs include Bachelor of Science in Health Care Administration, Bachelor of Science in Health and Wellness, Master of Health Care Administration, and more.
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- Associate of Science in Health Science - Medical Assisting
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Some employees may provide on-the-job training to a medical assistant. For aspiring MAs that are short on cash, this may be a great way to receive the proper training and education needed for higher positions within the field. There are certifications available that will help a medical assistant obtain higher job positions. These include becoming a registered medical assistant (RMA) or a certified medical assistant (CMA).
There are medical assistant training programs available for those looking to begin a career in the medical field as medical assistants. These programs can be found in community colleges, technical schools, or vocational schools. Some of these programs are specifically designed to prepare students for the certification exams.
Medical Assistant Salary in Other Countries (Australia, UK and Canada)
Salaries for medical assistants working in settings outside the United States may be quite high. For instance, the average annual salary for a Canadian MA is C$35,000 per year. Australia pays her medical assistants even better wages: around AU$49,000 per year on average.
As per usual, the United Kingdom tends to pay lower wages to professionals working in the health care industry. This could be due to standards of living in the U.K., as well as the outline of the health care system within the various countries. A medical assistant working in the U.K. can expect an average annual income of about £30,000. This equates to only $24,000 in America.
Verdict on Medical Assistant Salary
Becoming a medical assistant is a great stepping stone into the health care field. Training only takes a year or two to complete, providing a fast-track into the career field of aspiring medical professionals. While the starting medical assistant salary may be low, there are opportunities for raises in pay, as well as better job positions upon experience and further education/certification. Becoming a medical assistant is also a great way to receive experience in the medical field, so as to move up the ladder to better professions in the health care industry.