Medical Assistant Salary Guide: How Much Does a Medical Assistant Make?
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- The typical medical assistant salary falls below the median for all U.S. jobs.
- Jobs in some states and metropolitan areas offer much higher compensation.
- Medical assistant jobs let workers choose one of many specializations.
- Earning a medical assistant certification may lead to new career opportunities.
The healthcare field offers many career paths for people wanting to make a difference, including medical assisting. Medical assistants work in hospitals and other medical facilities, performing administrative and clinical tasks. For example, they may help physicians perform exams on patients, record patient information, and schedule appointments.
Working as a medical assistant requires graduating from a state-approved program awarding a certificate, diploma, or associate degree. Professionals grow in the field by specializing, gaining relevant experience, and changing employers. Other opportunities to increase salary potential include earning a medical assistant certification.
What Is the Average Medical Assistant Salary?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that these professionals earned a median salary of $38,270 as of May 2022. Many professionals working for outpatient care centers and hospitals make more than the median.
September 2023 Payscale data reports that the top 10% of medical assistants earn an average salary of about $54,000. This Payscale data also reveals in-demand skills that may lead to increased salary potential, which include clinical supervision and leadership skills. Medical assistant jobs that may lead to a raise include those in emergency rooms and in-vitro fertilization clinics.
Job Growth for Medical Assistants
The BLS projects a 14% growth in the employment of medical assistants from 2022-2032. Demand will be driven by the need to replace professionals who change occupations or retire.
This job growth may lead to many open positions for recent graduates and experienced professionals. Employers looking to fill these positions may offer a higher-than-average salary to attract applicants.
How Much Do Medical Assistants Make By State?
States with the highest average medical assistant salary in 2022 included those on the West Coast and the Northeast. Careers in states bordering the Great Lakes offered a high salary as well. These areas feature densely populated metropolitan areas.
Many factors affect why salary varies among states, such as the cost of living. Employers in a state with a high cost of living must offer a good salary so employees can pay for rent, food, transportation, and other essentials.
View salary data for all states
|State||Average Salary (May 2022)|
|District of Columbia||$50,020|
Where Can I Make the Most Money as a Medical Assistant?
Highest-Paying States for Medical Assistants
Several states below featured a very high cost of living in the first quarter of 2023, according to the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center. Workers thinking about relocating to one of these states to increase their clinical medical assistant salary should note that the cost of living also varies within states. Apartments in major cities may charge much higher rents than suburban and rural areas.
|State||Annual Mean Salary||Cost of Living Index|
|District of Columbia||$50,020||148.7|
Highest-Paying Metropolitan Areas for Medical Assistants
Professionals can find the highest average clinical medical assistant salary by exploring careers in California's San Francisco Bay Area. These cities' high costs of living mean employers must offer more. Zumper reports that Oakland, California residents spend an average of $2,195 per month for a one-bedroom apartment as of August 2023.
|Metropolitan Area||Annual Mean Salary|
|San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA||$58,710|
|San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA||$55,980|
|Santa Rosa, CA||$55,690|
Outside of California, the areas with the highest medical assistant salaries also have high costs of living. These include the West Coast and Alaska. While the Minneapolis-St. Paul area does not have as high a cost of living as these others, it is still a major metropolitan area with a relatively high cost of living.
|Metropolitan Area||Annual Mean Salary|
|Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI||$48,850|
Highest-Paying Nonmetropolitan Areas for Medical Assistants
Rural areas attract highly qualified medical assistants by offering them a salary exceeding the cost of living. Professionals without children who earn the average hourly medical assistant salary in Alaska make more than what the typical resident needs to cover living expenses. Workers facing a lower cost of living in these areas may achieve a better quality of life.
|Nonmetropolitan Area||Annual Mean Salary|
|North Valley-Northern Mountains Region of California||$44,580|
|Hawaii / Kauai||$44,440|
Highest-Paying Industries for Medical Assistants
The industry that workers choose affects their certified medical assistant salary as much as where they live. Professionals in the best-paying industries may need additional skills to work alongside college students, brokers, or insurance agents. Developing these skills may require taking undergraduate classes in subjects other than healthcare.
|Industry||Annual Mean Salary|
|Junior colleges - Local government owned||$58,330|
|Colleges, universities, and professional schools - Local government owned||$51,690|
|Management, Scientific, and Technical Consulting Services||$50,680|
|Insurance Carriers and Related Activities||$50,070|
Featured Programs in Medical Assisting
Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.
How Can I Increase My Salary as a Medical Assistant?
Medical assistants must graduate from a state-approved certificate, diploma, or associate program. Students find one of these programs at a local community or junior college. Typical classes cover clinical skills, administrative skills, and electronic health records.
Although they take longer to complete, an associate in medical assisting gives students many advantages. Professionals with a degree offer employers more transferable skills. And they may use their education to transfer to an RN or other bachelor's-completion program.
Relocating may offer a more lucrative salary, as well as open new career paths. Recent graduates and experienced professionals can improve their medical administrative assistant salaries by researching the best and worst states for a career change. The latest data from June 2022 shows that Georgia, New Hampshire, and Utah feature a mix of advantages for workers in different industries.
BLS data shows that medical assistants working in the following industries earned the highest average medical assistant salaries in May 2022:
- Local-government-owned colleges, professional schools, and universities
- Insurance services
- Management, scientific, and technical consulting services
Breaking into one of these industries may require gaining experience and earning certifications. Students in a medical assisting program can work with a career counselor to select classes and develop a career plan.
Frequently Asked Questions About Medical Assistant Salary Potential
How can a medical assistant make more money?
A medical assistant can make more money by earning additional credentials, such as completing an associate program, relocating to an area that pays more, or changing industries. If you are already at the upper limit of the local medical assistant salary and other options are not feasible, you may be able to earn a degree or certification for other healthcare careers, where your experience will be valuable.
What specialty pays medical assistants the most?
According to ZipRecruiter, the specialties that pay medical assistants the most are patient support associates, medical assistant supervisor, clinical program coordinator, clinical support specialist, and ophthalmic medical assistant.
What states pay medical assistants the most?
The states that pay medical assistants the most are Washington, the District of Columbia, Alaska, California, and Minnesota. The locations in these states that pay the most tend to be the largest cities, where the cost of living is often higher.
What is the highest salary a medical assistant can make?
The highest salary a medical assistant can make is around or above $51,710. The highest-paid 10% of medical assistants earn $51,710 or more, according to the BLS.
25 of the highest-paying medical office assistant jobs in 2023. (n.d.) ZipRecruiter
Average medical assistant hourly pay. (2023). Payscale
Cost of living data series. (2023). Missouri Economic Research and Information Center
Medical assistants: Occupational Outlook Handbook. (2022). U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics