By Rachel Ballard, RNC, BSN
Everyone asks this question: How much money am I going to make as a Medical Assistant? Well, honestly I can say that I’m a bit disappointed with the salary ranges for medical assistants. Before I go into detail, I want you to remember that these numbers are ballpark – there are a lot of factors that will influence the salary you will receive.
Certified / Registered Medical Assistant Salary
For instance, if you are certified medical assistant (CMA) or registered medical assistant (RMA), you should make more. If you live in an area with a high cost of living, you should make more. If you have years of experience or specialized skills, you should expect a boost in pay. But, I still think it isn’t enough. I have a strong opinion about people who work their backsides off for little money and medical assistants often fit this description. Many of the hardest working medical assistants I know work for just a bit over minimum wage.
One good factor I have to point out about making less money is that many medical assistants work steady, regular hours, so they have weekends and holidays off. The other factor you will have to consider is that different types of employers offer different salaries.
Salary for a Medical Assistant
As of 2016, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), medical assistants can expect to earn a mean annual wage of $31,910, according to May 2015 data. The 5 top paying states for medical assistant salaries are: District of Columbia, Alaska, Massachusetts, Washington, and Minnesota.
According to the Department of Labor Statistics past data, medical assistant salaries range between $20,000 for the lowest paid, up to $39,000 for the highest. The average was around $23,000 per year. It works out to an average hourly rate of around $9 per hour.
Thoughts From a Nurse
“I don’t think it is enough. But, very few people can say that they are overpaid for their work. I would love to make more and I’m sure you would too. But when you consider that price of gas rising, it would be nice to see medical assistants get a pay raise. As valuable as many physicians claim medical assistants are, they should put their money where their mouth is.”
— Rachel Ballard, RNC, BSN is a registered nurse with almost a decade of clinical experience in both acute care and public health settings.
Size of Practice Can Matter
If you work for a large practice with 20 or 30 doctors, they may offer you a higher pay rate. If you take a job in the middle of nowhere, with a doctor that should have retired years ago, you are probably going to be offered less money simply because they have less money coming in. Now this isn’t always the case, but I’m pointing out that you will need to watch out for those things. Could there be another doctor or clinic down the road that might pay more?
If you aren’t satisfied with the salary offered, you can either keep looking or try to negotiate a bit. Negotiating is always intimidating. Make sure to highlight your skills and abilities. But, don’t lie. Just make sure your future employer understands what you can offer before you ask for more money.
Rachel Ballard, RNC, BSN is a registered nurse with almost a decade of clinical experience in both acute care and public health settings.