Medical Assistant Salary
August 2, 2010
There are many aspects that play a large part in determining the average medical assistant salary. This holds true not only to jobs in the medical field but for any job you may pursue. With jobs in the health and medical industry growing in demand, the opportunity to earn more money and have a higher paying salary than ever before is here today. The health care industry is expanding so rapidly that in order to meet the demands of our population’s medical needs, the demand for qualified medical assistants with the proper mindset and skills needed is now higher than ever before. What are some of the variables that come into play when considering what an individual can expect to earn as an average salary as a certified medical assistant?
Average Medical Assistant Salary
When dealing with medical careers, some of the top variables for salary variances are that of a person’s level of education, on-the-job experience, job location, geographic location, job demand and area of specialty (if any). While it is possible to land a job as a medical assistant with only a high school diploma and receiving on-the-job training to earn a certificate, having these skills prior to job application will ensure a higher medical assistant starting pay. Being an entry-level medical assistant and not boasting any formal previous education will often times result in a lower average starting salary. In most cases throughout the United States, medical assistants without formal training received an average yearly salary of $18,000-$22,000. Keep in mind that this is entry-level medical assistant salaries with no formal training or certification.
As a medical assistant who has attended training courses and has at least a certificate or a degree will likely earn closer to $33,000 per year solely based off of their education level. This amount of yearly earnings however can fluctuate up or down depending on a person’s place of employment, or job location. Medical assistants who are employed by general hospitals or surgical hospitals in most cases tend to have the highest annual salaries with a median of $30,000 per year. On the other hand if you look into the average salary of medical assistants who are employed by private physicians, outpatient centers and minor emergency clinics earned on average about $2000 less per year, bringing them closer to $28,000 per year on average.
When dealing with your geographic location, you should consider this as an extreme factor your earning potential for a particular job. Living in parts of the country or of the world where the cost of living is higher on average, you can expect to earn a higher paying salary. On the other hand, when the cost of living is lower you should expect to earn a lower average medical assistant salary. Pay variances based off of geographic location is often tied in with our nation’s fluctuating economy. As some states do better than others, this allows for more fluctuations and variances in medical assistant yearly salaries, even when two people of the same skill set are working in similar hospitals or clinics just in different parts of the nation or even the world.
While there are many variables that come into play when discussing the average medical assistant salary, we can see that basically, salaries tend to be tailored specifically to each individual’s unique circumstances and qualifications. Taking all these aspects and variables into mind the national average for medical assistant salaries as of 2009 showed that the median 50% of medical assistance earned on average between $26,000 per year and $31,000 per year. The top 10% of medical assistants earned on average over $33,000 or more per year. The average medical assistant salary by state will fluctuate up to thousands of dollars per year. Use our salary by state guide to see how medical assistants are doing in your area.
Medical Assistant Career Outlook
According to the bureau of labor statistics, it has been projected that the employment growth rate of medical assistants will be about 35% through the year 2016. Most medical assistants will find jobs in physician offices, hospitals, outpatient care centers, residential care facilities, health practitioner offices and other health care facilities.
As a medical assistant it will be your job to carry out a combination of clerical, clinical tasks and administrative tasks. Your daily stress, the extent of your job duties and how difficult your job is all greatly determined by your work environment and patient traffic. Job duties will also vary depending on the amount of medical assistants who may be hired to work alongside you as a team, who will then be able to divide specific duties allowing you to specialize in one area of being a medical assistant. As your experience level and continued education increases, you should expect the difficulty level of your tasks to increase, in turn increasing your annual technician salary. If you pursue being a medical assistant as a lifelong career, it is possible to see salaries at over $40,000 per year.
Keep in mind that as a medical assistant, you will deal directly with the public. For this reason, it is important that not only are you a people person but you are presentable, meaning that you are well groomed and have a pleasant manner about you as it will be your duty to put patients at ease and explain physicians instructions thoroughly.
Medical Assistant Training
Medical assistant training programs are typically offered at vocational and technical schools as well as junior and community colleges. If you are looking for a fast track career school program that will still get you into a career that will earn you a satisfactory and respectable salary, then you may consider a one-year program that will result in a certificate or a diploma. If you consider going for an Associates degree in medical assisting, then you will need to enroll in a two-year course at a medical assistant school.
Medical assistant courses usually include classes such as anatomy, physiology, medical terminology as well as transcription, record keeping, accounting and insurance processing. You will learn hands-on laboratory techniques, pharmaceutical principles and first aid to name a few. You will spend much of your time studying office practices, learning patient relations, learning medical law and ethics. Depending on the Medical assistant school that you attend, it is possible that you will be enrolled in an internship, and may even be provided with a job placement program.
After becoming certified as a medical assistant, it is then possible to become certified in one specific area as a medical assistant. Some of these specialty areas include the dietary, optometry and ophthalmology. After being hired, you may choose to advance your education for additional and continued education and training. Many employees use medical assisting as a stepping stone to becoming a nurse or other health care worker.
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