How Much Do Medical Assistants Make?

In Career Advice, Physician Assistant
November 30, 2016

How Much Do Medical Assistants Make?

If you’re asking “how much do medical assistants make?”, then you’re likely considering the occupation as a career. This article takes an in-depth look at job growth and salaries of medical assistants over the next decade.

Medical assistants play a vital role as part of the healthcare team in hospitals and clinics where primary care physicians, optometrists, chiropractors, podiatrists, and others are employed. They are primarily responsible for conducting the routine administrative duties and common clinical tasks according to the physician or practice in which they work for.

If you’re considering a career in healthcare, now is a great time to consider becoming a medical assistant. With the influx of new patients and explosive growth of the healthcare industry due to an aging population and the retirement of the Baby Boomer generation, the need for more medical assistants is projected to continue climbing for the foreseeable future.

How Much Do Medical Assistants Make?

How much a medical assistant is paid can vary dramatically depending on several factors, including location, age, experience, education, skill-level, type of position and several others.

As represented in the graph below, nurse practitioners without any further specialization can expect to earn a median hourly wage of $15.72, or $32,692 per year.

Physician Assistant Salary - How Much Do Physician Assistants Make?

Return on Investment for Medical Assistants

The cost of becoming a medical assistant is much lower than higher level positions in healthcare as they do not have to complete 8+ years of schooling, most of which would be funded through federal loan programs. However, their earning potential is also dramatically less than that of a physician, surgeon, or dentist.

While each individual will have to weigh their options according to their own circumstances, choosing to be a medical assistant over other options may be attractive to you if you’re looking to get to work more quickly and don’t want to complete as much schooling or take on as much debt.

For the, at most, 2 years it will take you to become one, it could cost as little as $4,000 through a community college or vocational program, and you could be on the job soon thereafter.

Best States for Medical Assistant Salaries

A major factor in determining what your salary may look like is the location in which you plan to work. However, this principle applies to nearly all occupations largely due to the varying cost-of-living rates across the country.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics collects salary and employment data for nearly all positions, nationwide. The following table ranks all 50 states from the highest to lowest paying for nurse practitioners:

*Location quotients serve as a statistical representation of the concentration of a resource, like jobs, with a broader base area.

StateEmploymentEmployment per thousand jobsLocation quotientHourly mean wageAnnual mean wage
DC1,4902.20.51$19.13$39,780
Alaska1,4604.451.02$18.65$38,800
Massachusetts16,4704.851.11$18.31$38,090
Washington12,8804.320.99$17.50$36,400
Minnesota8,7303.150.72$17.40$36,200
Connecticut7,0904.270.98$17.20$35,780
California82,8305.351.23$17.04$35,440
Oregon9,5205.491.26$16.70$34,730
Vermont6902.290.52$16.63$34,600
New Jersey16,1004.120.95$16.51$34,340
New York23,9702.670.61$16.48$34,280
Maryland10,6104.090.94$16.40$34,120
Hawaii3,1905.151.18$16.29$33,890
Rhode Island2,9006.161.41$16.21$33,730
New Hampshire2,2903.60.83$16.14$33,580
Colorado9,2103.760.86$16.02$33,330
Wisconsin11,2304.050.93$16.00$33,290
North Dakota6801.510.35$15.98$33,240
Arizona16,8906.531.5$15.51$32,260
Iowa4,8103.150.72$15.37$31,970
Illinois18,4203.150.72$15.37$31,970
Maine3,2105.421.24$15.34$31,900
Nevada5,9204.811.1$15.26$31,740
Virginia11,2303.050.7$15.15$31,510
Wyoming6802.40.55$15.03$31,260
Montana1,1502.570.59$15.02$31,240
Delaware1,8404.230.97$14.88$30,950
Nebraska3,3203.480.8$14.76$30,690
Pennsylvania26,4904.641.06$14.71$30,590
North Carolina14,8103.590.82$14.66$30,500
Idaho3,0304.711.08$14.62$30,420
Kansas4,6603.40.78$14.53$30,220
Utah7,2705.491.26$14.51$30,180
Florida46,3205.841.34$14.51$30,170
Georgia20,7405.051.16$14.43$30,020
Tennessee14,3805.111.17$14.39$29,920
Michigan22,7905.51.26$14.38$29,900
Indiana12,1804.130.95$14.33$29,800
Missouri9,0003.320.76$14.17$29,480
South Carolina8,9604.651.07$14.10$29,320
Ohio21,5204.070.93$14.06$29,240
Texas57,1804.941.13$14.03$29,180
Kentucky8,1404.431.02$13.90$28,910
Mississippi2,3402.110.48$13.86$28,830
New Mexico4,8406.071.39$13.84$28,790
Oklahoma7,8804.931.13$13.83$28,770
Arkansas2,9002.460.57$13.82$28,750
South Dakota1,0302.50.57$13.73$28,550
Louisiana5,9503.070.7$12.97$26,980
Alabama6,6603.540.81$12.86$26,740
West Virginia3,3804.781.1$12.28$25,550

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