medical assistat payThe answer to the question, “how much do medical assistants make,” and the medical assistant pay you can expect to earn varies depending on several factors, which include your experience and education, the area where you live and seek employment, and the type of industry you work in.

As with many other careers in the medical field, employment of medical assistants is expected to grow faster than average between now and 2018, ranking it one of the fastest growing occupations. The outlook for job opportunities is excellent, especially if you have formal training and have passed the medical assistant certification exam and are certified.

Offices of physicians employ the highest percentage of medical assistants, but they do not offer the highest medical assistant pay. The annual mean wage for those working in a physician’s office is $30,100 and the chart below shows industries that are on the higher end of the medical assistant pay scale.

medical assistant pay

Where you live is another determining factor in answering the question of, “how much does a medical assistant make.” Of the five states at the top of the medical assistant pay scale, Alaska pays the most and Hawaii pays the least. Although these are the top paying states for this occupation, there metropolitan areas in other states that offer a higher certified medical assistant salary.

certified medical assistant salary

Even though California has an annual mean wage of $31,260 and does not appear on the chart of the five states that have the highest medical assistant pay, it has the highest percentage of medical assistant jobs. And, there are metropolitan areas in California where the salary for medical assistant is much higher than the state’s overall mean wage.

salary for medical assistant

As you can see by the charts above, the medical assistant pay varies quite a bit from industry to industry, state to state, and even in different metropolitan areas. Additional detailed information can be found at the US Department of Labor Bureau and Statistics.

Moving to a different state really isn’t a practical option if you want to earn a higher medical assistant pay, but there are some things you can do to ensure you don’t start out getting paid on the low end of the scale.


Education plays a big part in determining the starting salary for medical assistant. There are some physician’s offices that may hire medical assistants without training or certification, but it’s very rare. You will find the vast majority of employers prefer to hire people who have passed the medical assistant certification exam and have received their certificate. Even if you don’t have experience, the certified medical assistant salary will be higher than that of someone who has not received the proper training and has not been certified.

Look for employment in industries that pay higher wages. For example, offices of dentists offer a higher medical assistant pay than offices of physicians, and larger organizations often pay more than smaller offices. There is research that also indicates the medical assistant pay in a facility that is state run is higher than that for the same position in a private facility or hospital. If there are no industries in your area that offer salaries on the higher end of the medical assistant pay scale, then consider a hospital as opposed to a private practice.

The answer to, “how much does a medical assistant make,” really is decided several variables. Some you can control, such as taking the required courses and being certified by an accredited medical assistant school, getting experience even if it means starting out at a lower salary, and keeping up-to-date on continuing education requirements. Other factors, such as where you live and the industries in your area are not as easy to control.

While you are taking medical assistant classes, whether online or at a local community college or technical school, keep your eye on the help wanted ads for medical assistants and make note of what the employers are looking for and how much they are willing to pay. Once you have taken and passed the medical assistant certification exam and have been certified, use the knowledge you gain from the help wanted ads. It may mean the difference between starting out with a higher medical assistant pay or starting out on the low end of the pay scale.

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