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Median Annual Salary
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median national annual salary for medical assistants is $37,190. The top 10% of medical assistants earn more than $48,170 annually.
Median Salary: $37,190
Projected job growth: 18.4%
10th Percentile: $29,070
25th Percentile: $30,200
75th Percentile: $43,490
90th Percentile: $48,170
Projected job growth: 18.4%
|State||Median Salary||Bottom 10%||Top 10%|
|District of Columbia||$47,550||$36,230||$60,150|
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) 2021 median salary; projected job growth through 2030. Actual salaries vary depending on location, level of education, years of experience, work environment, and other factors. Salaries may differ even more for those who are self-employed or work part time.
Factors that Affect Salary
Actual salaries for medical assistants can vary based on specialization within the field, location, years of experience, education, and a variety of other factors. Administrative medical assistants’ duties will differ from clinical medical assistants, for instance, though there may be some overlap of responsibilities.
A full-time medical assistant may receive a benefits package that could include healthcare, vacation, holiday pay, sick leave, and a 401(k) plan. According to the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA), approximately 97% of all full-time medical assistants receive benefits from their employer.
Where Medical Assistants Work
Your first thought about where medical assistants work might be doctors’ offices, but many work in other medical settings:
|Outpatient Care Centers||8%|
Salary by Workplace
Now, take a look at BLS salaries for those same four workplaces.
|Outpatient Care Centers||$44,680|
|Offices of Other Health Practitioners||$33,710|
How Can I Earn More as a Medical Assistant?
Racking up years of experience is one way to boost your salary as a medical assistant, but there are also other ways to enhance your ability to earn top dollar:
Consider a New Career
For some, medical assisting is a stepping stone to a higher-paying role. For instance, you could go back to school to become a nurse. Your extensive knowledge and experience working with patients would give you an advantage over students who are just starting out.
Want to continue as a medical assistant? You can work toward a management position in which you supervise other medical assistants. Job advancement typically adds up to a higher salary.
Job Outlook for Medical Assistants
Jobs for medical assistants are expected to grow by 19% from 2020 to 2030, much faster than the average for all occupations, according to the BLS. This is partly due to the growing baby boom population, which will continue to create demand for medical services.
New and changing tasks for medical assistants also are pushing up demand for this role. For example, as more and more physicians’ practices switch to electronic health records (EHRs), the need for tech-savvy medical assistants will increase.
Employment of medical assistants is expected to grow by 19% from 2020 to 2030, much faster than the average for all occupations, according to the BLS.
Though medical assistants work mostly in primary care—a steadily growing sector of healthcare—an increasing number of group practices, clinics, and other healthcare facilities also will need medical assistants and other support workers.
Many healthcare facilities depend on state budgets and other funding to operate at their best. If a state’s budget doesn’t allot enough money for maximum efficiency, there may be fewer jobs available for medical assistants and other healthcare staff. In other cases, some states may simply have fewer facilities due to the size of their population and its medical needs.
Top States for Medical Assistants
While job duties are generally the same no matter where you live, some states offer higher salaries and employ more medical assistants than others. Much of the demand for medical assistants is determined by a state’s demographics and how many facilities it has for baby boomers and the elderly, who partly drive these statistics.
These are the top-paying states for medical assistants, according to the BLS.
|State||Annual Median Wage|
|District of Columbia||$45,300|
Best-Paying Cities for Medical Assistants
The BLS also ranks metropolitan areas by salary, and California dominates the top 10 list for medical assistants, along with a few other locations that may surprise you.
Which Cities Employ the Most Medical Assistants?
If you’re looking for a city that has a high number of medical assistants—and possibly demand and jobs—here are the top 10 metropolitan areas with the most medical assistant jobs.
|New York-Newark-Jersey City, New Jersey-Pennsylvania||32,000|
|Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, California||30,120|
|Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, Texas||22,500|
|Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, Texas||17,070|
|Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, Florida||16,720|
|Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, Georgia||15,850|
|Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, Pennsylvania-New Jersey-Delaware-Maryland||14,090|
|San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, California||12,620|
Salary and Job Growth Comparisons
Medical assistants are one specialty within a diverse group of healthcare assistants who work to keep patients healthy. Because of different skill sets and education, salaries for various healthcare assistants vary as well. Here are some median annual salaries from the BLS for four other in-demand healthcare careers, as compared to medical assistants:
|Career||Median Annual Salary|
|Physical Therapist Assistants||$61,180|
How Does Job Growth Compare?
The BLS projects growth for all jobs to be 9% through 2030, but some roles will be much more in demand. This chart shows how medical assisting compares with healthcare careers that require similar education.