A Look at the Benefits and Salary of a Medical Assistant

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for medical assistants is expected to grow by 29% by the year 2022, which is much faster than average for all occupations. After learning that medical assistants are in high demand, most people then become interested in salary information. The benefits and salary of a medical assistant can vary a great deal depending on the location in which you work and a variety of other factors.

Median Annual Wage

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median annual wage for medical assistants was $29,370 in May 2012. The median annual wage is the amount at which half of all workers make more and the other half earn less. Medical assistants at the lower end of the pay scale earned around $21,080 annually, while those at the higher end made approximately $41,570.

Most medical assistants are employed full time, and may be required to work evenings or weekends to achieve 40 hours each week. The median hourly wage for medical assistants is $14.41, and can range from between $10.36 and $20.56 per hour.

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Highest Paying Industries

Medical assistants may work in a variety of industries, some of which pay more money than others. A few of the higher-paying industries for medical assistants are:

  • Scientific research and development services, which offers an average of $17.63 per hour
  • Personal care services, where medical assistants make $17.32 per hour on average
  • Insurance carriers, which offer an average of $16.87 per hour to medical assistants
  • Colleges, universities and professional schools, an industry where medical assistants average $16.69 per hour
  • Dental offices, locations where medical assistants can expect an average of $16.62 per hour

Most medical assistants are employed in the offices of physician or other health care practitioners, outpatient care centers or general medical and surgical hospitals. Ironically, professionals who work in one of these industries tend to earn somewhere close to the median annual wage rather than above or below it.

Top Paying States

Medical assistants in some states tend to make more than others due to the higher cost of health care in certain areas. As such, top paying states for medical assistants are:

  • District of Columbia ($19.16/hour or $39,860 annually)
  • Alaska ($19.08/hour or $39,680 annually)
  • Massachusetts ($18.09/hour or $37,640 annually)
  • Washington ($17.24/hour or $35,850 annually)
  • Connecticut $17.00/hour or $35,360 annually)

Salary of a Medical Assistant


Medical assistants are typically offered a benefits package that can amount to as much as 30% of their annual salary. Some things that might be offered in a benefits package include:

  • Paid vacation
  • Sick leave
  • Health, life and disability insurance
  • Retirement account
  • Holiday pay
  • Uniform reimbursement
  • Discounted healthcare services from the employer

How to Earn More Money

Medical assistants who are looking for a higher salary have a number of opportunities to do so. One way is by becoming certified through an agency such as the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA), American Medical Technologists (AMT), or the National Healthcareer Association (NHA). Certification from one of these agencies will help you demonstrate your proficiency, and can provide you with an advantage when seeking a higher-paying position.

The amount of experience you have will also affect your salary. Those who demonstrate leadership capabilities may eventually be promoted to a supervisory position, particularly in larger practices.

Getting Started

If you’d like to become a medical assistant, you must first complete a training program, which includes an internship inside a medical clinic. The right training program should ideally provide you with both administrative and clinical training, in addition to assistance in passing a certification exam. For help in finding the training program that is right for you, please contact us.

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