Medical assistants are in demand. Hospitals, clinics and physicians rely more and more these days on medical assistants to perform routine and clinical work, freeing up physicians to spend time with their patients. Also, an aging population of baby boomers is increasing the need for health services and bringing with it more demand for the services of medical assistants.
With all this growth in healthcare, medical assistant jobs have been growing much faster than the mainstream: anywhere from 31-35 percent each year since 2010. In 2010, there were 520,000 jobs in the field around the country. Over 160,000 new jobs are projected by 2020, according to a study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. With most jobs—62 percent—found in physician’s offices, the bulk of the rest work in either hospitals or other kinds of health practices. A number of medical assistants also work in university or college settings, with these positions paying in the higher ranges. Salaries depend on type of employer and location as well as experience and training. Average salaries across all locations are about $29,000.
A key factor is whether the physician is a specialist or a primary care doctor. Hospitals pay slightly more on average than physician practices, while residential or outpatient clinics pay on the lower end. Specialists sometimes look for a wider range of skills from their assistants, and pay more for extra training or skill level. Where the pay is higher, the cost of living is also typically higher. Higher pay scales can be seen in San Francisco, California where the average is $41,000. States in the middle of the country pay close to the middle. In all settings, training and certification typically boost an entry-level salary. The top 10 percent of trained, often certified, medical assistants can earn close to $40,000.