Medical Assistant Salary and Hourly Wage Statistics
With double-digit growth projected over the next decade, the healthcare field offers a variety of unique career opportunities. Though healthcare jobs can be lucrative, especially as you add new certifications and advance to new positions, what makes the field so rewarding is the chance to administer care to those in need.
Today we’re going to discuss the Medical Assistant role, which serves as a great starting point within the healthcare industry. First we’ll discuss what the role entails, how you become a Medical Assistant, then look at salary ranges and hourly wage statistics, too. So if you’re interested in becoming a Medical Assistant, you’ve come to the right place.
What Does a Medical Assistant Do?
Medical Assistants are multi-skilled allied healthcare professionals who play a critical role in providing quality patient care. They administer medications, assist with minor procedures, record vital signs, take medical histories, prepare patients and rooms for examinations, handle laboratory specimens, and provide patient education. In addition to these clinical duties, Medical Assistants are often asked to perform administrative tasks, too.
Ultimately, as a Medical Assistant, you’ll have the specialized skills and knowledge to work in a variety of healthcare settings, including clinics, physicians’ offices, hospitals, outpatient facilities, and specialists’ offices. Once you have the proper certifications, the options are almost endless.
How Do I Become a Medical Assistant?
To become a Medical Assistant, you’ll need a high school diploma or equivalent like the GED. From there, you can take a couple of paths forward. First, some physicians will hire you and provide on-site training. This is advantageous since you can earn a wage while you work, but many physicians are hesitant to hire a candidate without any training or on-the-job experience.
The second path involves formal training through a college, community college, or an accredited online certification program. Many prefer the latter since it’s significantly cheaper, and takes far less time. In fact, by using an online certification program, you can become a Certified Clinical Medical Assistant in 27 weeks or less, while traditional colleges or community colleges can take two to four years.
What Skills Will I Have Once I’m Certified?
Upon completion of your certification program and the subsequent exam, as a Medical Assistant you’ll:
Understand basic human anatomy and utilize medical terminology and responsible communication in the healthcare facility
Comply with HIPAA/HITECH, OSHA, CMS, and other healthcare regulations and laws as they apply to patient information
Comprehend the use of Diagnosis and Procedure codes and employ Electronic Health Records and related Practice Management
Recognize the importance of infection control and environmental safety in general, specialty, and surgical practices
Gain an understanding of the laboratory, specimen collection techniques, cardiopulmonary testing, pharmacology, and medication administration
As you can see, once you’re certified, you’ll have distinct skills that will make you an attractive candidate to hiring physicians.
What Is a Medical Assistant’s Salary and Hourly Wage?
There are a variety of factors that dictate your earning power as a Medical Assistant. As we mentioned, being certified makes a difference, but the state you work in and your years of experience matters, too. Here’s some verification on that from theemedicalassistants.com, along with some salary and hourly wage statistics:
Certification as a medical assistant plays a part in the determination of their salary. Medical assistants who have obtained certification have larger salaries compared to those without. Employers are willing to hire non-certified clinical medical assistants at considerably lower wages. These individuals typically earn just a little over $10/hour and are included among the lowest-paid MAs. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay for medical assistants in 2018 was $16.16 per hour or $33,610 per year.
While we list the potential salary range for a Medical Assistant as $24,000-$46,000, that same article on theemedicalassistants.com provides a valuable salary list that’s based on years of experience:
Less than 1 year: $29,000
1-4 years $30,000
5-9 years: $32,000
10-19 years: $34,000
20-plus years: $36,000
In the end, your duties (which are directly correlated with your years of experience) will dictate your salary and hourly wage. If you’re only performing clerical duties associated with the Medical Assistant, you’ll be at the lower end of the pay scale. If you’re doing those duties along with providing patient care, you have the potential to earn more.
Medical Assistants: A Rewarding and Well-Paying Role
Hopefully, we’ve given you a better understanding of what a Medical Assistant does daily, as well as what your salary and hourly wage would be depending on your specific circumstances. As we noted at the outset of this article, it’s a rewarding role, one that offers upward mobility as you take on more responsibilities and gain more experience. Of course, this is also an entry-level job for the healthcare industry, so once you’re a Medical Assistant the sky’s the limit for what career path you can take on next.