Are you thinking of a career as a medical assistant? If so, there has never been a better time to begin. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) the outlook for this profession is bright. Not only are they in high demand nationwide, but that demand is growing, and the salaries for medical assistants are rising as well.
Medical assistants ensure the business end of a medical practice runs smoothly. They complete administrative and clinical tasks in the offices of physicians, podiatrists, chiropractors, and other members of the healthcare industry. Their responsibilities will vary according to the specialty and size of the practice or office.
If you are looking for a positive career that will provide you with a good salary, you may find medical assisting to be your ideal job. The benefits of being a medical assistant include working in a professional and clean environment, full-time hours, and of course, a rewarding salary.
As the baby-boomer generation has aged, the demand for medical services and facilities to treat them has risen. Thus the call for medical assistants has increased nationwide, and their salaries have increased as well. According to the BLS, the median annual salary of medical assistants was just under $30,000 in 2013, which followed the trend of steadily rising median salaries for medical assistants since 2004. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and the other half earned less.
Of course, a rise in median wages also meant a rise in the highest salaries paid. In 2004, the highest paid medical assistants earned an average of $25,000 annually. By 2008, those top salaries jumped to $29,000, and then rose to $30,000 a year later. By 2013, the average salary of the top-earning medical assistants was $35,500, plus benefits.
At the opposite ends of the pay scale, the lowest 10 percent of assistants earned less than $21,280, and the top 10 percent earned more than $41,910. These differences in wages are usually dependent upon the specialty of the office or size of the practice, and in which part of the country it is located. While physicians’ offices and hospitals are the largest employers of medical assistants, insurance providers and personal care services pay the highest wages. The highest-paid positions are in the metropolitan areas of Champaign, Illinois, San Francisco, and Oakland, California.
According to the BLS, the median hourly wage for assistants is around $14.00 per hour. Certified Medical Assistants (CMA), those who have received certification through the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA), receive a higher hourly pay rate. Certification through the AAMA ensures that candidates have met strict training standards, demonstrated knowledge through testing, and are capable of providing professional quality services.
The salary of a medical assistant is one of the most satisfying when you consider the amount of education and training that is required for the position. Though some gain employment as medical assistants with little more than a high school diploma, earning a post-secondary (after high school) certificate or Associate’s Degree in medical assisting will increase your earning potential. It is also more likely that medical assistants with higher levels of training and education beyond high school will be considered the best candidates for managerial and supervisory positions.
Medical assistants also have the potential for additional opportunities to raise their take-home pay. It is not unheard of for a medical practice or physician’s office to offer enhanced benefits and add bonuses to their employment packages. These can include social security benefits, retirement plans, premium healthcare insurance, disability benefits, pension packages, and paid time off. These perks can potentially raise the total value of salary and benefits from just under $30,000 to around $45,000 a year. That is a great salary for a rewarding job.
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