How To Become a Medical Assistant | How Much Do Medical Assistants Make?

how much do medical assistants makeSo, you want to know How To Become a Medical Assistant? Becoming a Medical Assistant is an exciting career option that appears to have even better prospects in the coming years. But how much do medical assistants make? As in all jobs, compensation would depend on qualifications, years of experience, job hours, job description and work setting, and even region of the country you work in.

Despite the rising demand for medical assistants, human resource managers usually overtly favor applicants who have Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) certification. Although not a requirement in all states, the absence of an official licensing body makes this the only standard measure of qualification. The 2011 American Association of Medical Assistants survey estimated average hourly rates of $14.94 (annual salary $29,460) for certified full-time medical assistants, and $13.43 (annual salary $26,568) for non-certified full-time medical assistants. That’s an average difference of almost $3000 per year.

The number of years of experience will also have an impact on how much a Medical Assistant makes. Hourly wages will rise as experience increases, as indicated by the same survey where average hourly wages for full-time medical assistants with 0-2 years, 3-5 years, 6-9 years, 10-15 years, and >16 years experience are , $12.88, $14.31, $15.21, $16.23, $17.58, respectively.

As medical assistants, you have the option to apply for posts that require clinical or administrative tasks only, or a combination of both. Your place of employment would dictate the tasks you are required to perform, but most of your time (72%) will be spent performing clinical duties. The hourly rates for full-time medical assistants employed in physician offices range from $12.93 (annual salary $24,739) to $17.55 (annual salary $35,555) depending on number of years of experience. The hourly rates for full-time medical assistants employed in hospital emergency and outpatient departments are slightly higher, and range from $13.12 (annual salary $26,024) to $18.55 (annual salary $37,900), again based on experience. Other institutions offer hourly wages ranging from $12.97 (annual salary $24,509) to $19.39 (annual salary $43,192) for full-time medical assistants.

On the other hand, medical assistants may opt to become full-time educators instead. In contrast to practicing medical assistants, full-time educators are more commonly paid annual, and not hourly, wages. The average gross annual salary is significantly higher at $49,771, with some survey respondents reporting that they earned up to $65,000 annually.

The area of specialty one practices in also determines compensation. Full-time medical assistants in primary care earn anywhere from $12.79 per hour (annual wage $24,465) to $17.31 per hour (annual wage $34,392).  On the other hand, medical and surgical specialties offer higher rates of $13.36 per hour (annual wage $26,021) to $18.18 per hour (annual wage $37,569). Other institutions offer $12.93 per hour (annual wage $24,885) to $17.89 per hour (annual wage $38,291).

Wages also vary by region. In the south, hourly wages are as follows: $11.39 to $15.71 in East South Central, $12.20 to $16.48 per hour in the West South Central, and $12.17 to $17.04 in South Atlantic. Average hourly wages in the midwest are as follows: $12.42 to $17.04 in the East North Central, and $13.57 to $17.94 per hour in the West North Central. In the west, full-time medical assistants earn $ 12.33 to $ 18.13 hourly in the mountains, and $ 14.98 to $ 19.51 hourly in the Pacific region. In the northeast, full-time medical assistants earn $13.86 to $19.22 per hour in New England, and $13.35 to $17.89 per hour in the Middle Atlantic.

Aside from the hourly wages, full-time medical assistants may receive varying benefits and incentives from their employers. 86% are recipients of some form of insurance benefits that range from professional liability to major medical insurance. In contrast, 92% of full-time educators receive some sort of insurance coverage. Similarly, full-time educators are more likely to be sponsored by their employees in terms of their AAMA membership dues (51% vs 20%), AAMA Annual Conference registration fees (50% vs 13%), and travel and lodging expenses for the AAMA Annual Conference (42% vs 7%), compared to full-time medical assistants. Naturally, a significantly smaller fraction of part-time educators and medical assistants received similar benefits.