Medical Assistant Salary

Medical Assistant Salary. See salary for medical assistant from different sources to see what influences pay. Learn what influences medical assistant pay like type of employer and years of experience.

Here’s a look at medical assistant salaries from four different sources; the official U. S. Bureau of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics, Indeed job search, PayScale, and the American Association of Medical Assistants.

U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the salary range for the classification closest for medical assistant salary between $20,850 and $51,510. The Department of Labor Occupational Outlook Handbook classifies the duties of a medical assistant as Medical Records and Health Information Technicians. These estimates are from the 2010-2011 Occupational Outlook data. This federal data provides a more specific look at salaries by employer and industry.

Kind of Employer
A breakdown by type of employer on the Department of Labor statistics shows that hospitals are the largest employers, followed by physician offices, nursing care facilities, outpatient care centers, and the federal branch of government. The average wage by employer is:

  • Outpatient Care Centers: $30,650
  • Hospitals: $35,870
  • Nursing Care Facilities: $33,100
  • Physicians Office: $28,460
  • Federal Government: $45,120

The federal government salaries are a little misleading as there are not that many employed compared to the other (5,170 out of 170,580). These are most likely employees who are very experienced and credentialed and work in areas (like Washington D.C.) which would justify the higher salaries.

Salary by Industry
Another interesting statistic for medical assistant salaries is the pay by employer industry classification. According the U. S. Bureau of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics, following are the top five paying industries followed by average annual salary:

  • Pharmaceutical: $61,210
  • Business, Professional, Labor, or Political Organizations: $ 45,850
  • Federal Government: $45,120
  • Other Support Services: $44,270
  • Scientific Research & Development: $42,050

I couldn’t tell from the bureau’s report what exactly “Support Services” are but they don’t employ many so the numbers can be hard to interpret.

What we can learn from this data is larger employers, pharmaceutical, and professional/political employers pay the highest medical assistant salaries. But remember these employers also are more likely to require certification, accredited education, and more experience.

Size of Employer
As you can see there’s a big difference between hospitals and physician offices. Larger employers like hospitals and nursing care facilities are on the higher end of the range for medical assistant pay.

Larger employers are more likely to have better benefits than smaller ones – which most physicians offices could be classified as. Larger employers such as hospitals typically have more stringent certification, education, and experience requirements than physician’s offices.

One thing to keep in mind when looking at the Department of Labor data for salaries is they lump every occupation together under Medical Records and Health Information Technicians. This would include the medical assistant salary, medical billing salaries, and medical coding salaries.

Because of this I would expect medical assistant pay to be in the mid to lower range of this data as medical assistants typically don’t require as much training or experience as say a medical coding job.

Indeed Job Search
The jobs search website Indeed Jobs shows the average for the medical assistant salary is between $32,000 and $35,000 depending on job title. Indeed also has interesting salary and job posting trend graphs.

AAMA Salary Survey
The American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) also conducts a salary survey which samples the medical assistant salary of more than 9000 members.

According to the AAMA, the average medical assistant salary is $30,834 with a low of $29,932 for less than 1 year experience to $34,917 for over 10 years experience.

This translates to an average hourly pay of $14.98 and a range of $12.31 for 1 year to $16.32 per hour for more than 10 years experience.

Over 90% of the survey participants are paid hourly.

Payscale Medical Assistant Salary Data
From, here’s salary medical assistant graph by years of experience:

This translates into a range from $21,570 a year to $31,450 per year with a mid-point about $28,000. The pay ranges reflected in this data is a national average and can vary widely.

The range of salary is dependent on:

  • Years of experience
  • Location (City or rural area)
  • Geographic area (Northwest, Southeast, Pacific, etc.)
  • Size of employer – Hospital or small practice
  • Training

When considering a job it’s important to not only look at salary, but to factor in benefits. This would include time off – holidays/vacation/sick, medical/dental, and 401(k) matching, etc. Be sure to factor these in when making a decision. The larger employers are more likely to offer better benefits.

If you are changing jobs, this kind of information is helpful to get an idea of your market value before negotiating. You like to try to get at least 10% more than your current salary when changing jobs. Of course if you’re miserable in your current job or can’t stand the working conditions, money may not be as big of a factor.

Looking at how certification affects average salary medical assistant, here’s the Payscale data for certified medical assistant jobs:

This translates into a range from $22,170 a year to $32,660 per year with a mid-point about $28,400. So the salary for the certified medical assistant salary is a little higher than the non-certified. However this doesn’t reflect intangibles like increased management advancement opportunities that being certified may offer.