How Much Do Medical Assistants Make?

Medical assistants are in high demand and can command a good salary. But how much do they actually make? We break down the numbers so you can see what you can expect to earn as a medical assistant

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Job description

Medical assistants are unlicensed individuals who perform many tasks in a medical office. They may perform these tasks under the supervision of a licensed health care professional, or they may be allowed to perform them independently. Medical assistants generally work in physician’s offices, but they may also work in hospitals, clinics, or other health care settings.

The duties of medical assistants vary from state to state and from one employer to another. In some states, medical assistants are allowed to perform more complex tasks, such as administering injections and taking X-rays, than in other states. In general, medical assistants perform administrative tasks, such as scheduling appointments and handling insurance forms; clinical tasks, such as taking patients’ vital signs and preparing them for examination; and clerical tasks, such as maintaining medical records


Medical assistants are vital members of the healthcare team. They perform many duties in doctors’ offices and clinics, including scheduling appointments, taking medical histories, preparing patients for examination, and collecting laboratory specimens. They also may interview patients to obtain their health insurance information and measure their vital signs, such as height, weight, temperature, blood pressure, and pulse. Some medical assistants take X-rays and provide basic care to patients.


Medical assistants are in high demand and the job outlook is very favorable. In order to become a medical assistant, you will need to have at least a high school diploma or equivalent. Some medical assistants choose to pursue additional education and training beyond high school, but it is not required. Once you have completed your education or training, you will then need to obtain certification from a professional organization such as the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA).

Work environment

Medical assistants typically work in outpatient care centers, physician’s offices, and hospitals. They might also work in nursing homes residential care facilities, or for the government. Most medical assistants work full time.

Some medical assistants have shift work hours that include evenings, weekends, or holidays. They might work early morning shifts to start IV lines for surgery patients or late evening shifts to staff the telephone helpline for a healthcare organization. Many medical assistants work more than 40 hours per week.


Medical assistants are important members of any healthcare team. They perform both administrative and clinical tasks, which means they must be highly skilled and have a broad knowledge base. As a result, medical assistants are in high demand and earn good salaries.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median annual salary for medical assistants is $34,800. This means that half of all medical assistants earn more than $34,800 per year, while the other half earn less. Salaries for medical assistants can range from less than $22,000 per year to more than $49,000 per year.

Factors that can affect a medical assistant’s salary include their experience, education, location, and the type of facility where they work. Medical assistants who have completed formal education programs tend to earn more than those who have not. Medical assistants who work in large metropolitan areas usually earn more than those who work in smaller towns or rural areas. And medical assistants who work in hospitals tend to earn more than those who work in doctors’ offices or clinics.

Job outlook

The job outlook for medical assistants is very positive. Employment of medical assistants is projected to grow 29 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations. The aging baby-boom population will need more medical services as they live longer and will require more preventive medical services so that they can stay healthy and active. The increase in chronic conditions such as diabetes and obesity also will lead to demand for medical assistants.


Much like any other profession, medical assistant salaries vary based on geographical location. For example, medical assistants in California earn an average of $43,590 per year, which is significantly higher than the national average of $33,610. Similarly, medical assistants in New York earn an average of $41,280 per year, while those in Florida earn an average of $34,540 per year.

Of course, these are just averages and your actual salary will depend on a number of factors, including your experience level and the specific city or region you work in. For instance, medical assistants in the San Francisco Bay Area earn an average of $48,620 per year while those in Los Angeles earn an average of $45,790 per year. Similarly, medical assistants in New York City earn an average of $44,080 per year while those in Rochester earn an average of $37,090 per year.


Medical assistants perform routine administrative and clinical tasks to keep the offices of physicians and other health practitioners running smoothly. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that medical assistants held about 686,600 jobs in 2016. Most worked in physicians’ offices, but they also worked in outpatient care centers, hospitals, and other healthcare facilities. Medical assistants typically have postsecondary education such as a certificate or diploma from a medical assisting program, although some states allow them to work with on-the-job training alone. Many have certification from professional organizations such as the American Association of Medical Assistants or the National Healthcare Association. Although certification is not required for entry-level positions, it may be beneficial to job seekers.

Famous medical assistants

Famous medical assistants include Elizabeth Blackwell, who was the first woman to graduate from medical school in the United States and Clara Barton, who founded the American Red Cross.


“In general, medical assistants earn a median wage of $33,610 per year, or $16.17 per hour, which is lower than the average for all occupations.” -Bureau of Labor Statistics

“Wage data collected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) show that the median annual salary earned by medical assistants was $31,540 in May 2016.”

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