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Medical Assistant Salary & Hourly Pay

The salary of a medical assistant depends on their level of experience, skill set, amount of formal education, location, and many other factors.

A medical assistant with 20 years of relevant work experience in a large urban hospital can expect to earn a higher hourly pay rate than an entry-level assistant at a local physician’s office. However, by gaining education, achieving certification, or relocating to a more lucrative area, a medical assistant can maximize their average salary.

Here are a few basic medical assistant salary and pay statistics for the US:

Average Medical Assistant Hourly Wage $14.51
Average Medical Assistant Salary $30,170

Medical Assistant Salary Breakdown

Here is the range of medical assistant hourly pay and salaries you can expect in the US, based on 2011 data.

10th Percentile 25th Percentile Median 75th Percentile 90th Percentile
Hourly Wage $10.04 $11.86 $13.99 $16.87 $19.62
Annual Salary $20,880 $24,670 $29,100 $35,080 $40,810

Medical Assistant Salary and Hourly Pay by State

Here are the five highest-paying US states in terms of annual medical assistant salary, including average salary and general salary range.

State Average Salary Lowest Salary Median Salary Highest Salary
Alaska $39,200 $26,820 $38,540 $53,790
District of Columbia $37,010 $26,510 $36,030 $47,050
Massachusetts $36,100 $25,720 $34,880 $47,170
Hawaii $34,530 $25,180 $33,920 $45,870
Washington $34,470 $25,840 $34,180 $44,770

Here are medical assistant hourly pay figures for the highest-paying US states in terms of hourly wages.

State Average Hourly Wage Lowest Hourly Wage Median Hourly Wage Highest Hourly Wage
Alaska $18.84 $12.90 $18.53 $25.86
District of Columbia $17.79 $12.75 $17.32 $22.62
Massachusetts $17.36 $12.37 $16.77 $22.68
Hawaii $16.60 $12.11 $16.31 $22.05
Washington $16.57 $12.43 $16.43 $21.52

See salary and wage information for all states…

Education and Medical Assistant Salary

Education is a main factor in determining medical assistant salary and hourly pay. Though it is possible to become employed as a medical assistant with little more than a high school diploma, earning a certificate or associate’s degree in medical assisting will raise your earning potential considerably. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that workers who have an associate’s degree earn a 20% higher salary than those with a high school diploma, on average.

It is also more likely that medical assistants with more training will be considered the most viable candidates for management positions. Investing in even a basic level of education is a great way to ensure a higher hourly pay rate and overall salary throughout your career as a medical assistant.

Work Experience and Pay

Work experience, along with area of specialization, is another key factor in a medical assistant’s salary.

The majority of medical assistants are employed by private physicians, although assistants can also find employment in a large number of health care settings such as community clinics and hospitals.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical assistants employed by psychiatric and substance abuse hospitals have the highest hourly wages, with an average salary of $39,220. Medical assistants employed by other ambulatory healthcare services earn an average of $28,730.

The medical assistant’s job duties are also important when considering salary qualifications. In general, medical assistants carry out a combination of administrative, clerical, and clinical tasks. The extent and difficulty of these tasks is determined by the work environment.

A medical assistant working in a specific department within a hospital may be charged with a few specific duties, while a medical assistant in an outpatient center might be responsible for overseeing all administrative tasks. As their level of experience and education increases, a medical assistant can undertake more difficult tasks and earn higher hourly wages. Medical assistants have the potential to earn over $40,000 a year at the top of their field.

Figures courtesy of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Employment & Wages database.