Highest Paying Medical Assistant Specialties

If you are looking into medical assisting as a career, you’ll soon find that there are many different types of medical assistants

Medical assistants can work in family practice offices and clinics, but can also specialize in optometry, cardiology, chiropractic medicine, podiatry, pediatrics, and many others. 

Your pay as a medical assistant depends on your education, experience, location, and what type of medical assistant you choose to become. Some specialities may require extra education or certifications.

Let’s take a look the highest-paying medical assistant specialities: 

Highest-Paying Medical Assistant Specialties

The average pay for a medical assistant in the United States is around $37,190 per year. Based on our research, here are some of the higher paying medical assistant salaries: 

1) Podiatry Medical Assistant – $65,000 per year

Podiatry is the care of feet. As a podiatry medical assistant you will help with bedside procedures like ingrown toenail removal and bunion correction. 

2) Ophthalmology Medical Assistant – $46,377 per year

Most ophthalmology medical assistants must be specially certified in ophthalmology. They will assist with basic eye exams and help patients find well-fitting eyeglasses. 

3) Fertility Medical Assistant – $45,387 per year 

Fertility clinics help people struggling to become pregnant. They might help with things like in-vitro fertilization or giving hormone injections. They may get to work with expecting parents as they progress through pregnancy. You can learn more in our OB-GYN medical assistant guide.

4) Cardiology Medical Assistant – $41,600 per year

As a medical assistant in cardiology, you will spend your days caring for people with heart problems. You may need special training to perform ECGs, which record heart rhythms, and can look for problems like heart attacks.

5) Dermatology Medical Assistant – $37,525 per year

In a dermatology clinic, you might see people with all kinds of different skin conditions. You will assist the physician by taking photographs of concerning areas of skin and taking biopsies to look for cancer. You can learn more about dermatology medical assistants in our full guide.

>> Another option: Pediatric Medical Assistant Guide

Medical Assistant Salaries by State

As is the case with most jobs, medical assistant salaries vary based on where you live. Here is the median annual and hourly wage for medical assistants by state:

  • Alabama – $29,920 ($14.38)
  • Alaska – $47,400 ($22.79)
  • Arizona – $37,390 ($17.98)
  • Arkansas – $29,970 ($14.41)
  • California – $38,780 ($18.65)
  • Colorado – $38,040 ($18.29)
  • Connecticut – $38,000 ($18.27)
  • Delaware – $36,470 ($17.54)
  • District of Columbia – $47,550 ($22.86)
  • Florida – $36,700 ($17.65)
  • Georgia – $36,190 ($17.40)
  • Hawaii – $38,860 ($18.69)
  • Idaho – $37,120 ($17.85)
  • Illinois – $37,500 ($18.03)
  • Indiana – $36,960 ($17.77)
  • Iowa – $37,660 ($18.11)
  • Kansas – $35,340 ($16.99)
  • Kentucky – $33,410 ($16.06)
  • Louisiana – $29,470 ($14.17)
  • Maine – $37,860 ($18.20)
  • Maryland – $37,530 ($18.04)
  • Massachusetts – $45,880 ($22.06)
  • Michigan – $37,120 ($17.85)
  • Minnesota – $46,920 ($22.56)
  • Mississippi – $29,760 ($14.31)
  • Missouri – $35,280 ($16.96)
  • Montana – $37,660 ($18.11)
  • Nebraska – $36,990 ($17.78)
  • Nevada – $36,960 ($17.77)
  • New Hampshire – $38,220 ($18.37)
  • New Jersey – $37,640 ($18.09)
  • New Mexico – $30,750 ($14.79)
  • New York – $37,860 ($18.20) (Learn more about medical assistant salaries in NY & NYC)
  • North Carolina – $36,790 ($17.69)
  • North Dakota – $37,310 ($17.94)
  • Ohio – $36,800 ($17.69)
  • Oklahoma – $30,030 ($14.44)
  • Oregon – $45,710 ($21.97)
  • Pennsylvania – $36,680 ($17.63)
  • Rhode Island – $37,860 ($18.20)
  • South Carolina – $34,710 ($16.69)
  • South Dakota – $30,540 ($14.68)
  • Tennessee – $36,280 ($17.44)
  • Texas – $35,520 ($17.08)
  • Utah – $37,120 ($17.85)
  • Vermont – $37,190 ($17.88)
  • Virginia – $37,070 ($17.82)
  • Washington – $47,460 ($22.82)
  • West Virginia – $29,740 ($14.30)
  • Wisconsin – $38,050 ($18.30)
  • Wyoming – $37,410 ($17.99)
  • Guam – $24,130 ($11.60)
  • Puerto Rico – $21,980 ($10.57)
  • Virgin Islands – $37,020 ($17.80)

How You Can Increase Your Salary as a Medical Assistant

Whether or not you work in one of the higher paying specialties, you can increase your salary by making yourself more valuable to the team you work with. You can keep yourself on the higher end of your pay scale by doing the following:

  • Earn your certification.  A certified medical assistant can make up to 10% more than someone who is uncertified. 
  • Work odd days/hours. Some medical assistant jobs offer night and weekend shifts for more pay than during regular business hours. 
  • Obtain extra certifications. Getting certified in phlebotomy, medical coding, or medical terminology can make you more valuable and increase your pay. 
  • Learn a second language. Bilingual medical assistants can ask for higher starting pay or larger raises than those who only speak one language. 
  • Become an instructor or manager. After you have some medical assisting experience, you may be able to become an instructor or leader for newer medical assistants. While this can be a big responsibility, it might also come with a considerable pay increase. 

Common Benefits for Medical Assistants

When you start a career, it is important to consider what kinds of benefits are offered. A benefits package usually makes up about 30% of an employee's earnings. 

Medical assistants can typically expect the following benefits: 

  • Dental insurance. 83% of full time medical assistants have dental insurance included as part of their benefits package. Dental insurance usually covers two check ups and cleanings per year. 
  • Paid Time Off (PTO). 83% of medical assistants receive vacation time, and 58% get a sick leave benefit in addition to their vacation time off.
  • Vision insurance. 78% of full-time medical assistants receive vision insurance that can help cover the cost of contacts, lenses, and eye exams.
  • Health insurance. 74% of full time medical assistants receive a healthcare benefits package. This generally means that the employer contributes to the cost of the employee's health insurance.  
  • Disability insurance. Over half of medical assistants, 64%, receive disability insurance as a part of their benefits package. 
  • Professional liability insurance. 24% of medical assistants receive liability insurance which can help cover you if you get sued by a patient or their family.

How to Become a Medical Assistant

  1. Get your high school diploma or GED (4 years). Medical assisting programs require a high school diploma or GED to get started. You can take a GED exam whenever you feel ready.
  2. Enroll in a medical assisting course (4 months to 2 years). If you choose an online certificate program, you can have your medical assisting certificate in as little as 4 months. If you would prefer to graduate with a medical assistant degree/diploma, you’ll spend about 2 years in school.
  3. Get work experience (optional). You can take a CCMA or RMA exam and become certified by gaining work experience instead of going through a program. You’ll need at least one year of work experience to be eligible to take the CCMA or RMA exam.
  4. Start work. Note that you can begin working right away without becoming certified if you would like. You can also complete a medical assistant externship to get some experience before you start full time.

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