How Much Does a Medical Assistant Make?

A medical assistant’s salary varies by experience, location, and type of employer. Get a detailed breakdown of MA pay by hour, week, month, and year.

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Job Description

Medical assistants are healthcare professionals who provide basic patient care, take medical histories and perform administrative duties in clinics and physicians’ offices. They work under the supervision of licensed medical personnel, such as physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants.

Most Medical Assistants have postsecondary education such as a certificate or diploma from an accredited program. Some states have certification requirements for medical assistants. Many employers also prefer to hire candidates who have completed a formal education program.


Medical assistants are allied health professionals responsible for various clinical and administrative tasks in hospitals, clinics and other medical facilities. They perform duties such as measuring patients’ vital signs, administering medications, preparing patients for examinations, taking and recording medical histories and assisting with minor surgical procedures. They also may schedule appointments, bill insurance companies, transcribe doctors’ orders and do other routine clerical work. Many medical assistants have additional responsibilities, such as performing laboratory tests or giving injections.

Most medical assistants have postsecondary education, although some have only a high school diploma and receive on-the-job training. Most states regulate the profession and require medical assistants to complete an accredited program and pass a certified medical assistant exam before they can practice.


In order to become a medical assistant you need to have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are also formal education programs available that will give you the skills and knowledge necessary to perform the job, although they are not required. Most medical assistant programs take about one year to complete, although some may take up to two years. Once you have completed your training, you will need to pass a certification exam in order to be eligible for employment.


Medical assistants are vital members of the healthcare team, providing support to doctors and other medical professionals. Because of the wide range of duties they perform, medical assistants can earn a wide range of salaries.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for medical assistants was $34,770 in 2017. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $23,930, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $49,560.

Pay for medical assistants varies depending on a number of factors, including experience, location, and type of employer. For example, medical assistants who work in physicians’ offices tend to earn more than those who work in hospitals or other healthcare facilities. And medical assistants who work in high-cost-of-living areas like New York or San Francisco can expect to earn more than those in other parts of the country.

If you’re considering a career as a medical assistant it’s important to research salaries in your area and compare them to the national average. With the right training and experience, you can be on your way to earning a competitive salary in this growing field.

Job Outlook

Medical assistants are in demand. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment of medical assistants will grow by 29 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. This growth is attributable to an aging baby boomer population and their increased demand for health services as they live longer and more active lives.


Medical assistants must have at least a high school diploma, although many programs require completion of postsecondary education, and some medical assistants have completed formal training programs. Some states have certification requirements for medical assistants.


Medical assistants can become certified through an accredited program. Certification demonstrates to employers that the medical assistant has the knowledge and skills to perform the job competently. Most employers prefer to hire certified medical assistants, and some states require certification for certain job duties. Although certification is not required, it may give job seekers a competitive edge. The two main certifying organizations for medical assistants are the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) and the National Healthcareer Association (NHA). To become certified through either organization, candidates must pass a general knowledge exam as well as a clinical skills exam.

Advancement Opportunities

Medical assistants handle both administrative and clinical tasks in hospitals, clinics, and private practices. They may schedule appointments, take medical histories, record vital signs, prepare patients for examination, assist the physician during the examination, draw blood, instruct patients on taking medication or collecting specimens for testing. Some medical assistants specialize in areas such as optometry or podiatry. With experience and additional training, medical assistants may move into positions with more responsibility such as office manager or supervisor. They may also qualify to work as a Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) or a certified medical assistant (CMA).

Working Conditions

Medical assistants work in clean, well-lit offices and clinics. They spend much of their time on their feet.

They may have to take care of patients who are sick, injured, or disabled. They also may have to take care of patients who are angry, upset, or worried about their health.

Find a Medical Assistant School

If you want to become a medical assistant, you will need to find a good school that offers this program. There are many vocational schools, community colleges, and even some universities that offer this program. The length of the program can vary from school to school, but most programs take between one and two years to complete.

Once you have completed a medical assistant program, you will be eligible to take the certification exam. Once you have passed this exam, you will be a certified medical assistant (CMA). Most employers prefer to hire CMAs, so it is definitely worth your while to become certified.

So how much does a medical assistant make? Well, that depends on a number of factors such as experience, location, and employer. However, the median salary for a medical assistant is around $30,000 per year. So if you are looking for a good career with decent pay, becoming a medical assistant is definitely worth considering!

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