Becoming a medical assistant is a great career choice for anyone looking to get started working in the healthcare industry.
Medical assistants work in in doctors offices, outpatient clinics, hospitals, and other healtchare facilities, and they perform a mix of patient care and administrative duties. Work schedules may allow for some flexibility with evening and weekend options for those who want them.
But what is the average medical assistant salary?
The median salary for a medical assistant in the United States is $37,190 annually which comes out to $17.88 per hour. Outpatient care centers generally pay the most ($38,270/yr) and chiropractic offices offer the least ($30,100/yr).
Other factors like experience, where you live, and your credentials also affect pay for medical assistants. Being certified and living in a large city will probably mean you are paid more than someone uncertified in a rural area.
Medical Assistant Salary Overview
As mentioned, typical medical assistant salaries are around $37,000 per year or $18 per hour. This is a decent starting wage and there is a lot of room for growth in the career.
The highest 10% of medical assistants earned more than $48,170 in 2021, or about $23 per hour. The lowest 10%, on the other hand, made $29,070 annually (about $14/hr).
Note that your salary is affected by things like what type of medical assistant you are, how much experience you have, where you live, and much more.
Now is a great time to start training to become a medical assistant. The job outlook is great and many training programs are accepting new students. From 2020-2030, employment opportunities for medical assistants are expected to increase by 18%—much faster than the nationwide average for all careers.
Not only is the job outlook for medical assistants great, there are also lots of opportunities for career growth.
Many medical assistants go on to have careers in healthcare and health information management, nursing, and health sciences. Starting out as a medical assistant serves as a springboard into a potentially lucrative career in healthcare.
Medical Assistant Salary by State
As is the case with most jobs, medical assistant salaries vary considerably 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) (Learn more about medical assistant salaries in CT)
- 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) (Learn more about medical assistant salaries in MD)
- 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) (Learn more about medical assistant salaries in NJ)
- 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) (Learn more about medical assistant salaries in PA)
- 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)
Medical Assistant Salary by City
Looking at city-specific data can help you see what you’ll likely earn as a medical assistant. Below you can see average medical assistant salaries at some large cities across the U.S.
To see all city data, check out the BLS’ Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics page and search “Metropolitan and nonmetropolitan area”.
Here is the median medical assistant salary at some of the nation’s largest metropolitan areas:
- New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA – $42,390 ($20.38)
- Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA – $41,390 ($19.90)
- Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX – $36,690 ($17.64)
- Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI – $38,910 ($18.71)
- Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA – $36,870 ($17.73)
- Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX – $36,920 ($17.75)
- Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL – $37,950 ($18.25)
- Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ – $38,630 ($18.57)
- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA – $54,930 ($26.41)
- Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD – $39,450 ($18.97)
>> Read More: Medical Assistant in NYC Salary & Jobs
Do Medical Assistants Make Good Money?
The median wage for a full time worker in the United States in the second quarter of 2022 was about $54,132. This includes all workers from all educational backgrounds.
For workers without a Bachelor's degree or higher education level, the average wage is around $20 per hour. This is fairly close to the average for a medical assistant, at about $18 per hour.
Compared to similar healthcare jobs, medical assistants do pretty well. They make about $7,000 per year more than certified nursing assistants. Medical assistants, dental assistants, pharmacy technicians, and phlebotomists all earn very similar wages when compared to each other.
Other healthcare jobs do earn significantly higher wages than medical assistants, but they require a lot more schooling. The average registered nurse earns $77,600, for example. However, they complete about twice as much schooling as a certified medical assistant.
>> Learn More: Highest-Paying Medical Assistant Specialties
Certified Medical Assistant vs. Medical Assistant Salary
Certified medical assistants make up to 10% more than medical assistants without a certification. Being certified gives your employer reassurance that you are qualified and have the training to do the job well.
In order to become a certified medical assistant you must complete a training program and pass an exam given by the American Association of Medical Assistants (CMA), American Medical Technologists (RMA), or National Healthcareer Association (CCMA).
How Much Medical Assistant School Costs
Going to school to become a medical assistant can be expensive. For a one year certificate program, expect to pay $2,500 to $10,00. Associate degrees in medical assisting from a Community college cost between $6,000 and $15,000 per year.
However, with a 10% increase in pay, even the lowest paid medical assistant would recuperate their schooling costs within about two to three years.
Luckily, there are online medical assistant training programs that cost much less, can be done completely online, and can even help you get a job. Our program here at Stepful costs under $2,000, only takes 4 months, and comes with a 100% job guarantee.
Many healthcare facilities also have tuition reimbursement programs. If you agree to work for their corporation for a certain period of time, many companies will pay for some or all of your schooling. You can also try to get federal grants and scholarships to put towards schooling costs.
>> Learn More: How Much Medical Assistant Programs Cost
How to Improve Your Chances of Getting a Better Medical Assistant Salary
Just like any job, you’ll want to be on the higher end of a medical assistant salary range.
Simple things like being responsible and reliable make it more likely that you’ll get things like raises, bonuses, and promotions.
Besides being a generally good employee, there are a few ways to make yourself more valuable in the industry:
- Get certified. Although it takes some work and commitment, being certified pays off in the long run. Learn more about medical assistant certifications here.
- Stay on the top of the industry. Making suggestions to improve efficiency or patient care is a great way to position yourself for future raises.
- Learn about new technologies. Add to your resume by learning about how to use new tools and software that come out.
- Ask your manager about opportunities for advancement. If you feel like you do excellent work, don’t be afraid to ask for raises and new opportunities for growth.
Medical assistant jobs are a good way to earn a decent wage and make a difference in the world. It’s a fulfilling job where you spend your days helping people who need it the most.
>> Interested in Becoming a Medical Assistant? Check out Stepful's Online Medical Assistant Program