More and more people are interested in medical assisting as a job. Because of this, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics has revealed that medical assistant is one of America’s fastest growing careers. An average medical assistant salary is around $30,000 per year, but that sum varies depending on the state you’re in and your training and work experience. Today we’re going to take an in-depth look at medical assisting and the average medical assistant salary.
What Does a Medical Assistant Do?
We should begin by clearing up one thing: a medical assistant is not a nurse. So, what does a medical assistant do? Medical assistants do routine clinical and administrative tasks to help the clinics and doctors’ offices run the way they should run. Without a medical assistant in charge, a doctor’s office or clinic would be knee-deep in chaos.
Medical assistants will answer the telephone, take and schedule appointments, greet patients, handle billing and correspondence and even fill out and update medical records.
Medical assistants also get to interact with patients, the way nurses do. They will take medical histories, assist doctors during appointments, perform some lab tests and even prepare patients for examination.
Naturally, every clinic, office and state, has its own guidelines for what a medical assistant can and cannot do. But in general the hob of a medical assistant is a mix of office work and clinic work.
For example, in the case of optometrists’ and ophthalmologists’ offices, medical assistant can even attend to patients, teaching them how to take care of their glasses and contact lenses or help doctors with various tests. Again, the job description of a medical assistant varies depending on the state and clinic/office.
Do You Need Training to Become a Medical Assistant?
Curious about whether or not one needs training to become a medical assistant? Well, we’ve got some good news for you! You don’t need any formal training to become a medical assistant. All you need is a high school diploma and most offices and clinics would be more than happy to hire you, with only that as your education. Medical assisting is a profession where one learns on the job.
Naturally, if you want to increase your chances of getting a job as a medical assistant, you could enroll in various certification programs that last just one year, or take one step further and attend two-year programs that get you associate degrees where you learn how to do a plethora of lab techniques and clinical procedures, specialized terminology and record keeping.
You should know that if it ever comes between a person with a high school diploma and a graduate of a formal program in medical assisting, the graduate will always be preferred. Which is why, we recommend you enroll in such programs, if medical assisting is what you want to do. There are plenty of programs that are offered in post-secondary vocational schools, vocational technical high schools, community, colleges and junior colleges and universities.
Keep in mind that post-secondary programs that last for one year will give you a certificate or a diploma, and those that last for two years result in an associate degree.
For more information about becoming a certified medical assistant and accredited training programs, go over at the American Association of Medical Assistants’ website.
What is the Typical Medical Assistant Salary?
The annual salary of a medical assistant varies greatly across the United States, from state to state, depending on the level of training, experience and medical branch.
The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that in 2013, the median wage for a medical assistant was $29,610, a smidge higher than in 2012. Also, the best-paid 10% of all medical assistants across the U.S. made more than $42,000 while the bottom 10% made less than $21,000.
Next, we will give you some relevant some examples of medical assistant salary across the Unites States. The best place in the U.S., salary-wise, to be a medical assistant is Champaign, Illinois, where the average salary of a medical assistant is a whopping $48,920. San Francisco is also a great place to work as a medical assistant in, as the average yearly salary of a medical assistant is $43,680. In Oakland, California, a medical assistant earns $40,910 per year and in Santa Rosa, California, $40,630 and in Rochester, Minnesota a medical assistant gets $40,150 a year.
Other states that pay well are Texas (Houston, TX), Louisiana, NYC, NY, NC, GA, NJ, Indiana, Florida, Oregon. Chicago, Michigan and Atlanta are also very generous to medical assistants.
Wondering how much you’re going to earn if you’re an entry-level medical assistant? Well, then you should know that starting salaries for medical assistants in the front office range from $12.00 to $15.00 per hour. In the back office, a starting medical assistant will earn between $14.00 and $18.00 hourly. Private practice is where the good bucks are made, if you’re just starting out as a medical assistant in a private practice, then you should earn around $17.00 and $18.50 per hour.