It is hard to give a definitive answer to the question “How much does a medical assistant make,” because it depends on a number of factors, including the area of the country, for starters, but also important items such as the medical assistant’s experience and background, the type of health care facility (doctor’s office, hospital clinic) and the specific health care facility.
That said, medical assisting is one of the fastest growing career fields, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), and a the median new medical assistant salary is $27,000 per year, rising to about $28,500 after one year, $31,000 after five years, and $35,600 after 20 years.
However, as stated, salaries are not static—salary is not automatically the median amount for everyone; that’s why it’s median. One of the most important factors in answering, “How much does a medical assistant make?” is where they are, and this is something you can determine by contacting the BLS and asking for the median salary for medical assistants in your state. This is public information and they will be glad to assist you. You can also search for this information on the BLS website.
The type of healthcare facility also greatly affects medical assistant salary, maybe more than anything else except experience and educational background—and maybe more so. These figures from a 2008 BLS report show mean (not median) figures for medical assistant salary for five healthcare facility types, and are very enlightening as to where the higher salaries can be found.
Medical assistants employed in dental offices in 2008 made an average salary of $34,790.
Those who worked in hospitals earned, on average, $30,670.
Outpatient centers paid their medical assistants an average of $30,130.
Physicians’ offices were fourth in line on salary at $29, 960.
Other practitioners’ offices paid the lowest, at an average of $27,940.
So as you can see, there’s a lot involved. And you have some control over your medical assistant salary, though it may not seem like it at the moment. You may not want to relocate for higher mean salaries in another state. You may not be able to change your educational background because the answer to how much does a medical assistant make is, in part, based on where you went to school.
You can only get experience when you get experience. But, you can seek out a job in a facility that traditionally pays more. So how much does a medical assistant make? It depends, but it depends in part on you.