The salary that medical assistants make varies, as it is affected by many factors. Since medical assistants work in the medical field, they are part of a quickly growing industry. Medical assistants can work in a number of settings, such as hospitals, doctor’s offices and medical centers.
Medical Assistant Salary by Location
According to reports released in May 2010, medical assistants working in Alaska are paid the highest with an annual mean wage of $37,750. This is followed by the District of Columbia, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Hawaii. Just like any other job, geography matters when it comes to salary rates.
Meanwhile, the top paying metropolitan area for medical assistants is Fairbanks, AK, while jobs in North Central Colorado pay the highest among rural areas. The highest annual mean wage reported was $41,060.
Medical Assistant Salaries
The Bureau of Labor Statistics listed psychiatric and substance abuse hospitals as the top payers in the industry, providing an annual mean wage of $39,220 for medical assistants. General medical and surgical hospitals are also among the top paying institutions with a median annual wage of $29,720. The BLS provides this estimate based on full-time employees working for 2,080 hours per annum, excluding self-employed medical assistants. Some medical facilities provide an hourly wage ranging from $9 to $19, but the national average is at $14.21 an hour.
Medical assistant salaries change almost every year. As medical assistants begin to specialize in a particular branch of medicine, their salary rates continuously go up. However, their responsibilities also become more challenging and sometimes very risky. Moreover, medical assistants in specialty hospitals receive higher salaries than those in general hospitals and physician’s offices.
Medical assistants handle clinical duties, administrative functions, and work directly with physicians, office managers and other health practitioners. Administrative medical assistants are responsible for updating the medical records of the patients, preparing and filling out forms for insurance, setting appointments for laboratory examinations and arranging for hospital admissions. They also function as secretaries. They answer calls, schedule meetings, welcome patients and do bookkeeping. Some of the responsibilities of medical assistants also depend on the laws of the state where they work. Some are allowed to perform basic laboratory tests and prepare medications.
Furthermore, the employee benefits provided by hospitals and doctor’s offices add to the salary that medical assistants receive. The medical field values the health and wellness of employees. In order to show this, they provide a wide range of benefits and perks for workers to enjoy. Benefits may include medical, vision and dental plans, 401 K retirement plans, vacation and sick pay, disability insurance, and school tuition aid or reimbursement.
Medical Assistant Salary by Qualifications, Training and Education
Experienced medical assistants receive higher salaries than entry-level employees. Surveys found out that there is a $10,000 difference in the wages of a beginner and a certified medical assistant who has worked in the field for over 10 years. In addition, those who have obtained advanced certification in optometry, podiatry and ophthalmology earn higher rates than others.
Education and training are the two most important factors to determine the qualifications of a medical assistant. Individuals working in this field should complete a training course from a reliable institution. Completing more certifications, degrees and training will give medical assistants a better chance of earning a higher salary. Other facilities may hire medical assistants even though they have just finished high school or an unrelated training course. These people often earn lower salaries. Moreover, being a part-time or full-time employee also affects how much a person is paid, as does their experience and skills.
Despite the many factors affecting the salary of a medical assistant, the nature of the job is considered recession-proof. This is because medical assistants are always in-demand everywhere in the country. No matter what happens to the economy, workers in the medical field will always be available.
How to Earn More as a Medical Assistant
While some medical assistants have degrees in different fields, taking a real medical assistant course will give an individual the edge that they need to to easily get into the business. Becoming a certified medical assistant is just a stepping stone, and obtaining extra credentials from taking further studies and training will add more to the certification. Individuals with high qualification are very attractive to top paying employers. A little investment in education can pay lifelong benefits.
Medical assistants earn fair wages considering the degree of responsibility they have at work. Jobs in some places may pay less than the national average wage for the job, but the high level of job security can mean a lot.