Insights Into Medical Assistants’ Salary And How Much They Earn

As members of the federated health occupation, medical assistants perform administrative and clinical work to support physicians, chiropractors, podiatrists and other health practitioners. In the United States, medical assistants have a salary of $36,472 per year on average. This figure can also depend on many other important factors, such as level of education, demand for medical assistants in a geographical area, additional skills and certifications, area of speciality, as well as the number of years of experience.

What is Medical Assistant’s Average Salary?

The median annual wage for medical assistants is $36,472 as of 2021. The lowest 10 percent earning medical assistants make less than $31,037 on average while the highest-earning 10 percent medical assistants average more than $36,356 per annum.

The salary for medical assistants could differ by country and location as well. In general, a medical assistant has a salary of $16 per hour with a range usually between $15 – $17.

Average Medical Assistant Salary by State

State Annual Salary Monthly Pay Weekly Pay Hourly Wage
Wyoming $33,182 $2,765 $638 $15.95
Massachusetts $31,578 $2,631 $607 $15.18
Montana $31,267 $2,606 $601 $15.03
Arizona $30,945 $2,579 $595 $14.88
Hawaii $30,920 $2,577 $595 $14.87
Indiana $30,747 $2,562 $591 $14.78
New Jersey $30,683 $2,557 $590 $14.75
Connecticut $30,407 $2,534 $585 $14.62
Washington $30,373 $2,531 $584 $14.60
New York $30,320 $2,527 $583 $14.58
Georgia $29,852 $2,488 $574 $14.35
Rhode Island $29,711 $2,476 $571 $14.28
Wisconsin $29,485 $2,457 $567 $14.18
Tennessee $29,407 $2,451 $566 $14.14
Minnesota $29,344 $2,445 $564 $14.11
Alaska $29,342 $2,445 $564 $14.11
New Hampshire $29,258 $2,438 $563 $14.07
North Dakota $29,246 $2,437 $562 $14.06
Ohio $29,193 $2,433 $561 $14.03
Alabama $29,154 $2,429 $561 $14.02
Nevada $29,111 $2,426 $560 $14.00
Maryland $28,818 $2,401 $554 $13.85
Utah $28,671 $2,389 $551 $13.78
Louisiana $28,457 $2,371 $547 $13.68
South Dakota $28,392 $2,366 $546 $13.65
Nebraska $28,334 $2,361 $545 $13.62
Florida $28,135 $2,345 $541 $13.53
New Mexico $28,035 $2,336 $539 $13.48
Oregon $27,999 $2,333 $538 $13.46
Virginia $27,962 $2,330 $538 $13.44
Iowa $27,824 $2,319 $535 $13.38
Kentucky $27,784 $2,315 $534 $13.36
Kansas $27,648 $2,304 $532 $13.29
California $27,535 $2,295 $530 $13.24
Vermont $27,507 $2,292 $529 $13.22
South Carolina $27,124 $2,260 $522 $13.04
Colorado $27,060 $2,255 $520 $13.01
Delaware $26,940 $2,245 $518 $12.95
West Virginia $26,356 $2,196 $507 $12.67
Oklahoma $26,333 $2,194 $506 $12.66
Pennsylvania $26,228 $2,186 $504 $12.61
Mississippi $25,908 $2,159 $498 $12.46
Idaho $25,782 $2,148 $496 $12.40
Maine $25,671 $2,139 $494 $12.34
Arkansas $25,442 $2,120 $489 $12.23
Michigan $25,387 $2,116 $488 $12.21
Illinois $25,304 $2,109 $487 $12.17
Texas $24,889 $2,074 $479 $11.97
Missouri $24,814 $2,068 $477 $11.93
North Carolina $23,114 $1,926 $444 $11.11

Below are The Best Paying Industries for Medical Assistants

Scientific Research and Development Services $17.63 $36,670
Personal Care Services $17.32 $36,030
Insurance Carriers $16.87 $35,090
Colleges, Universities and Professional Schools $16.69 $34,720
Offices of Dentists $16.62 $34,570

Data Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

What do Medical Assistants do?

Medical assistants perform routine clinical and administrative works under the supervision of a healthcare professional. Their duties include filing medical records, scheduling appointments, arranging hospital admission, handling billings, administering medications and injections, etc.

If they work with a dental hygienist, they keep the patients informed about diets and nutrition as recommended by the hygienist. Generally, it is expected that a medical assistant would help in drawing blood for tests, take electrocardiograms, change dressings, perform X-ray tests and also communicate in between the patient and the physician or a healthcare professional who they work under.

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Medical assistants cooperate with medical professionals to take responsibility for several clinical and administrative tasks. In their professional practice, medical assistants are expected to:

  • Keep Records of patient personal information and details;
  • Measure vital signs of blood pressure, sugar level, etc;
  • Give injection to patients as directed by physicians;
  • Help physicians in examination and surgery processes;
  • Prepare samples for laboratory tests;
  • Handle administrative duties including receiving calls and managing appointments.

How to Become a Medical Assistant

One does not need a bachelor degree or higher studies to become a medical assistant. With post-secondary education, or high school diploma and related training, you are set to become a medical assistant.

However, one needs to take courses like biology, chemistry, and anatomy in their high school to get into the field of medical assistant. Several medical programs are run by community colleges, universities, technical and vocational schools. These programs provide education for a year long so as to help interested students become medical assistants.

The training and programs will lead to a certificate level or diploma. However, in most states in the USA, there are no requirements of having a formal education to become a medical assistant. Nevertheless, one would be required to go through a suitable program, take related exams and be able to perform simple tasks as required to be done.

A medical assistant should also have some qualities that include analytical skills. It is believed that this will make it possible for them to understand the prescriptions and medical charts for diagnosis. More to that, they will be detail oriented to be able to rely on correct records. Interpersonal skills are also important as it will help them co-operate with the patients. Above all, they must have adequate technical skills to be able to use clinical instruments and perform measurements of vital body signs.

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Meanwhile, there are different types of medical assistants and, they are grouped according to the performance they carry alongside a physical or a healthcare professional. They include:

  • Administrative medical assistantswho carry out office work like keeping records, answering telephones, etc
  • Clinical medical assistantswho perform laboratory tests, handle medical instruments and perform simple medical tasks like removing stitches, dressings etc.
  • Ophthalmic medical assistants and optometric assistantswho help optometrists and ophthalmologists on guiding patients regarding their eye care by teaching them how to use contact lenses, and assists the professionals in surgery.
  • Podiatric medical assistantswho work on making the casting of feet, taking X-rays, etc.
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Best Medical Assistant Certification And Schools

There are many health-related organizations that certify medical assistants. The first to do so was the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) in the USA in 1956 which requires interested candidates to take the CMA (Certified Medical Assistant) exams.

Some of the best medical assistant schools that provide certification and accreditation are-

  • Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College – offers 33 credits in several clinical and general education courses
  • Bryant & Stratton College – offers an associate of applied science (AAS) degree in medical assisting through a two years program that also includes the study of liberal arts
  • Kaplan College – provides diploma in medical assisting that can be completed in a year
  • Globe University – offers a 21 months program to earn an AAS in medical assisting


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