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What Kind of Salaries Can a Medical Assistant Expect?


Being a medical assistant can be an amazing career, but how much money do they make?

Being a medical assistant can be an amazing career, but how much money do they make?

You want to be a medical assistant. That’s awesome! Good choice! It’s a great career that allows you all sorts of different working environments . A rewarding job isn’t enough, though. While we wish you could pay the rent with feelings of professional satisfaction, few landlords have embraced that to date. So how much exactly do medical assistants make?

Well, we’ve got a short answer and a long answer. First, the short one:

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual medical assistant salary in the United States is $30,590. That breaks down to a median hourly wage of $14.71 per hour. Not too bad.

Related resource: The Greatest Benefits of Becoming a Medical Assistant

Top cities for MAs

But, it can get a whole lot higher than that. That’s just the median. A lot of things can affect your salary as an MA. Remember, we have a long answer for you, too, and we think you’ll like that one better.

BLS numbers show medical assistants can earn annual salaries of up to $45,000. That’s quite the competitive salary for a job you can get without a bachelor’s degree. You’re probably wondering about the disparity in numbers, though. Where does that come from? Geography is a big part of it.

The same job can pay different amounts in the different places. The cities with the highest mean salary for MAs are:

  •    San Jose/Sunnyvale/Santa Clara, CA; $44,590
  •    San Francisco/Redwood City/South San Francisco, CA; $43,190
  •    Oakland/Hayward/Berkeley, CA; $43,070

So, basically, if you want to make bank as an MA, move to the Bay Area, and get yourself a job helping doctors patch up tech employees. Boston and Des Moines also have comparatively high mean salaries for MAs, at $39,700 and $38,610, respectively.

Related resource: The Most (and Least) Expected Places to Work as a Medical Assistant

What do rural MAs make?

Maybe you’re not so much about coffee shops and happy hours, and more into things like camping and bears. If cities aren’t your thing, the top-paying rural areas for MAs are:

  •    Balance of Alaska; $42,230
  •    Southeast Alaska; $41,560
  •    Northwest Colorado; $35,790

Also, keep in mind that different places have different costs of living. We’re just spitballing here, but rents might be slightly cheaper in the frozen north than they are in the Bay area. High pay is great, but if it’s all going to your tiny apartment in Oakland, so what? Get yourself a house in Alaska! If you’re lucky, you’ll score a big yard and elk for neighbors.

Related resource: How to Collaborate With the Physician: 7 Tips For New Medical Assistants

Be part of a growing, secure field

Salary doesn’t matter if you can’t get a job. On that front, the outlook is rosy for medical assistants. According to the most recent BLS statistics, the field grew 23 percent between 2014-15.  That’s a much faster rate of growth than most other industries. It stands to reason, though, given that America’s population is aging, and the need for medical professionals is very real. So, the jobs are there. The money is there. Are you?

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