If you are considering a job in the medical field, but you are not sure what path you might want to take, it might be worth considering becoming a medical assistant. While the pay is not as high as a family physician, surgeon, or other high-paying medical job, becoming a medical assistant also takes far less time. Plus, because of the high demand for medical assistants, job prospects in the field are good.
Of course, as with most jobs, one thing to take into consideration is what you will be paid. Medical assistant pay differs depending upon your education and experience as well as the location where you plan to work. For example, to get a good salary, a medical assistant must graduate from an accredited program. Along with that, although certification is not required to get a medical assistant job, it will increase your pay, and it is worth the cost.
As with most jobs, experience makes a difference. Whereas you can expect to make roughly $27,000 annually starting out as a medical assistant, with a year to five years of experience, medical assistants can expect about $28,500 annually. Pay increases to roughly $31,000 annually with five to nine years of experience. With ten to nineteen years of experience, medical assistants make about $32,500 each year. When a medical assistant has over twenty years of experience, the expected annual salary will increase to approximately $36,000.
Of course, these are simply averages. Some medical assistants will make significantly more or less than the national averages. For those working in dental offices or clinics, the annual salary is about $34,800. Those working in a hospital will make slightly less at roughly $31,000 annually. Medical assistants working in out-patient centers can expect about $30,400 annual pay. Those working in physicians’ offices will get around $29,800 yearly.
Pay rate also differs depending upon the state and city where you are getting a medical assisting job. According to the United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are certain parts of the country where you can expect to make more as a medical assistant. As of last year, the top five paying metropolitan areas were all located in California. The San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara area comes in as the top-paying metropolitan area. Medical assistants there can expect to make an average annual salary of $43,180. Those in the Santa Rosa-Petaluma area can expect an average of $42,560 annually. Medical assistants working in the San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City area make an average of $40,800 annually. In Oakland-Fremont-Hayward, the average pay for a medical assistant each year is $40,310. In the Santa Cruz-Watsonville metropolitan area, the pay is about $40,300 yearly. Other top paying metropolitan areas include Fairbanks, Alaska, with $40,180 annually; Rochester, Minnesota with $39,780 annually; and Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, Massachusetts, with an annual salary of $39,570.
Although highly populated areas generally pay better for medical assisting jobs, if you are someone who likes less populated areas, you can also find well-paying medical assisting jobs in more rural areas. For example, non-metropolitan areas in southwest Alaska have an average annual salary of $42,180 for medical assistants. In non-metropolitan southeast Alaska, $41,180 is the average salary. Medical assistants working in non-metropolitan North Central Colorado can expect roughly $40,350 annually. Many other smaller areas also have competitive pay for medical assistants.
The United States Department of Labor’s website has several maps to help you see the availability of jobs as well as the average pay for medical assistants in specific areas of the United States. Of course, it is also important to take into consideration the cost of living in an area. Some of the highest paying areas also have a higher cost of living. You may find working in an area with slightly lower pay actually works out to better pay comparably.
Contact us to learn more about how you can get a degree in medical assisting and to learn more about how much you can make in this job.