Medical Assistant Salaries

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More than 4,000 medical assistants throughout the nation participated in the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) 2013 Compensation and Benefits Survey. The survey revealed some very interesting findings on how certification, geography and industry impact earning potential for medical assistants.

Employee benefits are often considered an important component to medical assistant salaries. According to the AAMA’s 2013 compensation survey, 87 percent of all full-time respondents reported receiving some kind of benefits from their employer. Of those medical assistants receiving benefits, nearly 74 percent reported receiving major medical coverage, and another 61 percent reported receiving vision coverage.


Medical Assistant Salaries for Certified vs. Non-Certified Medical Assistants

The AAMA survey found, among other things, that there was a significant gap in compensation between medical assistants without certification and medical assistants who held the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) certification:

  • Average salary for full-time medical assistants, non-CMA certified: $14.29/hour or $27,914/year
  • Average salary for CMA-certified full-time medical assistants: $15.35/hour or $29,889/year

Salary data for medical assistants and CMAs was further broken down by years of experience:

Years of experience: 0-2

  • $13.44/hour or $25,848 per year for full-time CMAs
  • $13.25/hour or $25,658 per year for full-time non-CMAs

Years of experience: 3-5

  • $14.83 per hour or $25,158 per year for full-time CMAs
  • $14.30 or $26,340 per year for full-time non-CMAs

Years of experience: 6-9

  • $15.67 or $30,756 per year for full-time CMAs
  • $15.69 or $29,821 per year for full-time non-CMAs

Years of experience: 10-15

  • $16.96 or $32,954 per year for full-time CMAs
  • $17.72 or $35,300 per year for full-time non-CMAs

Years of experience: 16-plus years

  • $18.16 or $36,038 per year for full-time CMAs
  • $18.28 or $37,528 per year for full-time non-CMAs

Demand for CMAs over their non-CMA certified counterparts (and their higher salaries) may be due to a number of factors, including:

  • The pressure of potential malpractice suits: Managed care organizations may place mandates on employers to employ certified medical assistants.
  • The 2012 ruling by the Centers for Medicaid Services, which said that only credentialed medical assistants are allowed to enter laboratory, medication, and other radiology orders into the computerized provider order entry system (Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Records Incentive Programs).

Medical Assistant Salaries by Geographic Region

Medical assistant salaries are affected by the geographic region in which they are located, as was reported by the 2013 AAMA compensation survey.

The Pacific region of the United States reported the highest average earnings for full medical assistants with the CMA credential of $33,322 ($17.60 per hour). New England followed closely behind, with CMAs there earning an average of $30,997 per year, although the West North Central region reported the second highest per-hour salary of $16.15.

  • New England: $15.93 per hour/$30,997 per year
  • Middle Atlantic: $15.22 per hour/$29,756 per year
  • East North Central: $14.67 per hour/$28,614 per year
  • West North Central: $16.15 per hour/$30,871 per year
  • South Atlantic: $14.54 per hour/$28,619 per year
  • East South Central: $14.13 per hour/$28,712 per year
  • West South Central: $14.75 per hour/$30,450 per year
  • Mountain: $15.06 per hour/$30,208 per year
  • Pacific: $17.60 per hour/$33,322 per year

The U.S. Department of Labor has provided a detail analysis of medical assistant salaries across the nation as show in the table below (2013):

Area name
Employment
Annual mean wage
Alabama
6810
25600
Alaska
1340
39610
Arizona
15230
31350
Arkansas
2320
27080
California
82450
34050
Colorado
9030
32790
Connecticut
7160
34260
Delaware
1850
32510
District of Columbia
1460
38870
Florida
39030
28620
Georgia
19100
28830
Guam
130
23310
Hawaii
3070
33320
Idaho
2270
29870
Illinois
18130
31230
Indiana
12810
28500
Iowa
4780
30610
Kansas
4560
28480
Kentucky
7830
27640
Louisiana
6770
27250
Maine
3010
31300
Maryland
9790
32380
Massachusetts
14190
37460
Michigan
23120
28720
Minnesota
9080
33040
Mississippi
1810
26980
Missouri
9550
28390
Montana
790
31190
Nebraska
3370
29640
Nevada
5370
31570
New Hampshire
2080
32180
New Jersey
14240
32400
New Mexico
5220
28070
New York
23170
33370
North Carolina
13890
29390
North Dakota
520
31640
Ohio
21130
28450
Oklahoma
7520
25880
Oregon
7940
33900
Pennsylvania
24570
29990
Puerto Rico
520
30550
Rhode Island
2360
32350
South Carolina
8600
29530
South Dakota
1090
27440
Tennessee
13860
28670
Texas
52380
28130
Utah
6920
28490
Vermont
690
33580
Virgin Islands
40
31860
Virginia
10840
30870
Washington
14040
35600
West Virginia
3210
24860
Wisconsin
10750
31620
Wyoming
610
31230

Medical Assisting Salaries by Work Setting

The AAMA 2013 compensation survey also broke down medical assistant (CMA) salaries by the setting in which they work. Almost 87 percent of the medical assistants surveyed reported working in a physician’s office, with just 2.6 percent reporting an emergency or outpatient hospital work setting, and another 1.1 percent reporting an ambulatory surgery work setting. The remaining 7.4 percent of survey respondents reported working in “other” workplace settings, such as inpatient hospital care, nursing homes, home and hospice care, and residential care.

Average salaries for medical assistants, according to work setting, included:

  • Ambulatory setting: $16.26 per hour/$32,350 per year
  • Emergency/outpatient hospital department: $15.94 per hour/$33,745 per year
  • Physician’s offices: $15.32 per hour/$29,749 per year
  • Other: $15.95 per hour/$30,958 per year

Of the 87 percent of respondents working in physician offices, 64 percent of medical assistants reported working in a primary care office or practice, while another 32 percent worked in a medical or surgical specialties practice. Fifty-one percent of medical assistants reported working in a single-specialty practice, while 45 percent reported working in a multispecialty setting.

Medical assistants who worked in primary care settings reported an average salary of $15.19 per hour/$29,412 per year, while medical assistants in other medical and surgical specialty offices reported earning slightly less, at $15.75 per hour/$31,004 per year.

Medical assistants working in a multispecialty physician’s office reported an average earning of $15.44 per hour/$30,062 per year, slightly higher than those working in single-specialty physician’s offices, who reported an average salary of $15.26 per hour/$29,791 per year.

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