Medical assistant salary and hourly wages are influenced by many factors. The most significant is location, with medical assistant pay varying widely from state to state and from city to city. Many of the factors influencing a facility’s ability to pay medical assistants are tied to location, such as the cost of providing healthcare, business taxes, state and local economic health, and population metrics such as age and density.
Other factors affecting medical assistant salary include the level and quality of training achieved, level of job experience, and the presence of certification. The introduction of pay-for-performance reimbursement can also impact hospitals’ ability to pay medical assistants and other support staff.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical assisting is one of the fastest growing career fields. Growing demand for medical assistants will positively impact medical assistant salaries in the years to come, though demand is countered somewhat by the number of medical assistants joining this highly accessible career.
How Much do Medical Assistants Make?
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics for 2012, the average medical assistant salary is around $30,550 per year, while the average hourly wage is $14.69. However, salary varies widely based on location, type of work environment, and level of training and job experience. Medical assistant salary also depends on the specific job description, as medical assistants can perform many different duties.
Medical Assistant Salary and Hourly Wage by State
The largest factor impacting medical assistant salaries is geographic location. Generally, states containing major cities pay higher wages on average than mostly rural states. However in some cases, remote or sparsely populated states may pay higher average salaries than more populated states in order to attract more medical assistants.
Here are medical assistant salary and hourly wage figures for the ten highest paying states, based on 2012 data:
Medical Assistant Salary and Hourly Wage by City
How much medical assistants make is also influenced by the city they live in. World-class cities typically pay higher salaries than other cities, and most cities pay higher salaries than small towns and rural areas. This is due to a combination of higher demand within cities, and higher living costs which necessitate higher compensation for medical assistants.
Here are medical assistant salary and hourly wage figures for some of the highest paying major cities, based on 2012 data:
Medical Assistant Salary by Industry
Another factor influencing medical assistant salaries is the industry in which the medical assistant works. These industries are influenced by many factors on many levels, including location and the medical assistant being employed.
Here are average salary and average wage statistics for various industries that employ medical assistants:
How to Improve Your Medical Assistant Salary
There are several ways to earn a higher salary as a medical assistant. Most involve making yourself more valuable to your employer, which may allow you to ask for a higher wage or seek higher paying employment. Here are a few places to start:
Relocate to a higher paying area. Since location is the most impactful influence on medical assistant pay, the most simple way to improve your salary as a medical assistant is to move to a state or city that pays higher wages. In many cases you may be able to earn a higher salary for doing the same or similar work.
Gain more education. Since medical assistants with more formal training are preferred by employers, gaining further training may allow you to seek higher paying jobs or ask for a higher pay rate. Training in specialty areas is a popular way to increase your value as a medical assistant.
Obtain certification. Certification from one of the organizations that certify medical assistants can increase your value, also allowing you to seek higher paying jobs.
Build more experience. Specifically, gaining new experience in specialty areas such as phlebotomy, radiology and other areas can allow you to take on greater responsibility and earn a higher income.
Salary and wage statistics are based on 2012 data courtesy of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.