How Much Does a Medical Assistant Make a Year?

By Jacqueline DeMarco · April 15, 2024 · 6 minute read

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How Much Does a Medical Assistant Make a Year?

The median pay for medical assistants is $38,270 annually for the most recent year studied, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

If someone is very social and passionate about the medical field, they may find they really enjoy working as a medical assistant. Patient care will be one of their main responsibilities, but it’s not necessary to attend medical school to work in this role, which can mean a significant reduction in student debt. To better understand what the role of a physician assistant entails and how salary can vary by location and experience, keep reading.

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What Are Medical Assistants?

What a medical assistant does on a daily basis depends on their specialty. While some medical assistants specialize in clinical tasks, others focus on administrative functions. Specializations may also align with specific medical practices, such as assisting ophthalmologists in educating patients about contact lens care.

These are some common tasks that medical assistants may tackle on a daily basis:

•   Interview patients

•   Record patient medical history

•   Measure vital signs

•   Assist physicians during examinations

•   Administer injections or medications as directed by physicians and state law

•   Conduct basic laboratory tests

•   Schedule patient appointments

•   Managing medical records

•   Handle insurance-related tasks

•   Maintain inventory.

Given how much of one’s time at work can be spent interacting with patients and other members of the medical team, the role of a physician’s assistant probably is not a great fit as a job for introverts.

Another aspect of this role to consider is that training for a medical assistant career often involves one to two years of study to receive an associate’s degree or certificate. This can be a more affordable option for a medical job than one that requires additional training.

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How Much Do Starting Medical Assistants Make a Year?

As briefly noted earlier, the median annual wage for medical assistants is $38,270. However, when someone is working as an entry-level medical assistant, they can expect their salary to be on the lower side. The lowest 10% of earners in this role earn less than $30,390.

However, the highest 10% earn more than $51,710. While that is significantly higher than the average, it does reveal that it may not be easy to earn $100,000 annually as a medical assistant.

For those looking to earn more as a medical assistant, it’s always a good idea to interview with a few different medical practices or facilities to see which employer can offer the most competitive pay.

What is the Average Salary for a Medical Assistant?

The average annual salary that a medical assistant earns varies a lot depending on what state they work in. This difference in wages can be substantial. For example, on average medical assistants in New Jersey earn $15,136 more than their West Virginia counterparts.

The following table illustrates how much their salary and hourly wages can vary by state, arranged from highest to lowest figures.

What is the Average Medical Assistant Salary by State for 2023

State Annual Salary Monthly Pay Weekly Pay Hourly Wage
New Jersey $43,978 $3,664 $845 $21.14
Wyoming $43,660 $3,638 $839 $20.99
Wisconsin $43,084 $3,590 $828 $20.71
Washington $42,976 $3,581 $826 $20.66
Massachusetts $42,784 $3,565 $822 $20.57
Indiana $42,718 $3,559 $821 $20.54
Alaska $42,716 $3,559 $821 $20.54
Oregon $42,410 $3,534 $815 $20.39
North Dakota $42,322 $3,526 $813 $20.35
Arizona $41,834 $3,486 $804 $20.11
Hawaii $41,495 $3,457 $797 $19.95
New Mexico $41,419 $3,451 $796 $19.91
Montana $41,204 $3,433 $792 $19.81
Minnesota $41,073 $3,422 $789 $19.75
Colorado $40,824 $3,402 $785 $19.63
New York $40,763 $3,396 $783 $19.60
Alabama $40,689 $3,390 $782 $19.56
Nevada $40,389 $3,365 $776 $19.42
Ohio $40,082 $3,340 $770 $19.27
South Dakota $39,999 $3,333 $769 $19.23
Vermont $39,700 $3,308 $763 $19.09
Rhode Island $39,281 $3,273 $755 $18.89
Iowa $38,912 $3,242 $748 $18.71
Connecticut $38,734 $3,227 $744 $18.62
Delaware $38,634 $3,219 $742 $18.57
Tennessee $38,269 $3,189 $735 $18.40
Virginia $38,179 $3,181 $734 $18.36
Mississippi $38,167 $3,180 $733 $18.35
Utah $38,046 $3,170 $731 $18.29
Georgia $37,905 $3,158 $728 $18.22
Illinois $37,709 $3,142 $725 $18.13
Maryland $37,440 $3,120 $720 $18.00
Pennsylvania $37,345 $3,112 $718 $17.95
California $37,258 $3,104 $716 $17.91
Nebraska $36,716 $3,059 $706 $17.65
Maine $36,477 $3,039 $701 $17.54
Missouri $36,291 $3,024 $697 $17.45
New Hampshire $36,270 $3,022 $697 $17.44
South Carolina $35,937 $2,994 $691 $17.28
Kansas $35,925 $2,993 $690 $17.27
Louisiana $35,860 $2,988 $689 $17.24
Idaho $35,575 $2,964 $684 $17.10
Oklahoma $35,557 $2,963 $683 $17.09
Texas $35,275 $2,939 $678 $16.96
North Carolina $35,196 $2,933 $676 $16.92
Kentucky $33,916 $2,826 $652 $16.31
Michigan $33,819 $2,818 $650 $16.26
Florida $33,545 $2,795 $645 $16.13
Arkansas $32,178 $2,681 $618 $15.47
West Virginia $28,842 $2,403 $554 $13.87

Source: ZipRecruiter

Medical Assistant Job Considerations for Pay & Benefits

Many medical assistants work in full-time positions, which can qualify them for employee benefits, such as:

•   Health insurance

•   Employer-sponsored retirement plans

•   Paid time off.

That being said, if someone only works part-time, they may not qualify for any benefits.

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Pros and Cons of Medical Assistant Salary

One of the main advantages of a medical assistant salary is that it isn’t canceled out by expensive student loan debt payments each month. Having a bachelor’s or graduate school degree is not necessary to work as a medical assistant.

In many cases, a postsecondary certificate is required, but sometimes only a high school diploma and on-the-job training is required.

Also, except for those who are looking for a job for antisocial people, a medical assistant career can involve plenty of satisfying social interaction. It can also be a good choice for those who like to know they are helping to enhance others’ quality of life.

The Takeaway

Working as a medical assistant can be a great way to work in the medical field without having to pursue many years of higher education. This is also a very stable career field to enter, as the employment outlook for medical assistants indicates a projected growth of 14% from 2022 to 2032, which surpasses the average rate of expansion for all occupations.

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Can you make 100k a year as a medical assistant?

In most cases, it is not possible to earn more than $100,000 a year. The median annual salary for this role is $38,270 per year. That being said, it is possible to earn more than that if the medical assistant has many years of experience under their belt.

Do people like being a medical assistant?

Many people enjoy working as a medical assistant, especially if they are passionate about patient care. However, this role is not a good fit for those who are antisocial or would call themselves an introvert, as it can require interacting with a lot of different people on a daily basis.

Is it hard to get hired as a medical assistant?

Getting hired as a medical assistant isn’t too challenging as this role doesn’t require much-specialized schooling. It’s also a very in-demand field — on average, there is an anticipation of around 114,600 job openings annually for medical assistants.

Photo credit: iStock/FG Trade Latin

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Non affiliation: SoFi isn’t affiliated with any of the companies highlighted in this article.


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