Since medical assistants are one of the fastest growing jobs in North America, it is worth investigating how much money you could actually make if you were to enter one of these positions. Fortunately, certified medical assistants are very well paid, much better than typical administrative assistants. In this article, I will discuss the different salary ranges you can expect to find, depending on what location you choose to work in, what kind of medicine you will be assisting with, and how much experience you have in your profession.
Let’s just start with the basics. The average medical assistant salary in 2010 in the United States was $30,709. This includes all certified medical assistants from all regions for all specialties and at all levels of experience. Note that it does not include any non-certified people who refer to themselves as medical assistants, only those who have gone through a certification process. Non-certified medical assistants can expect pay scales that are lower.
Geography is one important factor in the salary that you can expect to make as a medical assistant. The Pacific states, including Alaska and Hawaii, have the highest medical assistant salary, with an average of $34,136, over ten percent above the national average. The Northern Atlantic States of Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey are a close second, providing an average salary of $33,308, less than $1000 less.
The lowest-paying states are the southern states, running from Texas to Atlantic states all the way up to Maryland. The salaries there range from $28,694 to $29,914. East North Central states like Michigan and Ohio are similarly low, at $29,135. Though lower than the national average, these salaries are not substantially below that average. Instead, there are a few higher paying areas of the United States and many other areas that are either average or slightly below average. The remaining regions, such as New England and the Midwest are almost exactly at the national average.
What makes as much of a difference as geography is the kind of work setting that a certified medical assistant enters. Doctor’s offices pay slightly below the average, at $30,425. Wages are highest in emergency and outpatient hospital departments, providing an average salary of $34,110. In general, the more specialized the work and the less attractive the hours, the higher the salary for a certified medical assistant will be.
Finally, experience will affect the salary that you can expect as a certified medical assistant. Entry-level positions have lower salaries, in part because the first year or two includes a lot of on-the-job training. For an entry-level position, you can expect an average salary of $25,304, dependent again on geography and on specialty. However, this goes up fairly quickly, reaching the average medical assistant salary after about six years of experience. Senior certified medical assistants who have sixteen or more years of experience make on average $35,862.
There is one more thing to note about a medical assistant salary. Most medical assistants are paid by the hour, rather than as a wage. While this may sound like a downside, it need not be. It allows for the possibility of overtime pay, especially in hospital settings. In fact, overtime is one of the main reasons why medical assistants who work irregular hours are generally paid more than those who do not.