Medical assistants are allied healthcare professionals assigned with administrative and clinical duties. These individuals are highly organized and are responsible for striking a fine balance in their respective workplaces. The masses are opting for this profession because of its beneficial aspects, easy access, and the job satisfaction it provides. The job outlook for medical assistants is favorable due to higher employment and salary rates.
The statistics show that because of factors like the aging of the baby-boom population and a new wave of health concerns and different health risks & diseases, the healthcare industry is flourishing and are employing professionals like medical assistants to maintain the workflow by carrying out clinical as well as front desk duties.
Job Demand for MAs is Mounting
According to the BLS, the employment of medical assistants is speculated to increase by 16% from 2021 to 2031. As employment rates are growing, the demand for this occupation is also increasing. Healthcare industries are having a growing demand for preventive medical services, which will require physicians to hire medical assisting professionals to handle administrative and clinical duties in their respective work settings. Medical assistants may choose to work in different specialized medical offices as per their convenience and interest. However, medical assistants with substantial educational qualifications and work experiences and certifications are more likely to get employed with better job prospects.
|Occupation||Employment (2020)||Projected Employment (2030)||Change (2021-31)|
Source: BLS (as of May 2021)
The statistics mentioned in the above table show the expected increase in employment rate from 2021 to 2031 for medical assistants. Employment for professional MAs as of the year 2021 is 743,500 and is projected to increase by 861,300 in 2031. The change in employment rate is 16% and 117,800 in numerical terms.
Medical Assistant Salary and Employment Benefits
An average wage received by a medical assistant is influenced by years of work experience, educational qualifications, geographical location, practice specialties, and industries. Medical assistants are likely to get higher salaries if they have more than 2-3 years of work experience. A medical assistant with a highly recognized certification like CMA may receive a higher compensation package.
Mean Hourly and Annual Salaries for Medical Assistants
By Geographical Locations:
|Region||Mean Hourly Pay||Mean Annual Pay|
|New England Region||$20.16||$37,899|
|West North Central Region||$20.13||$37,242|
Medical assistants holding a standard credential as CMA (AAMA) are expected to earn the highest level of salaries in the Pacific region, with an average annual pay of $43,637 and average hourly pay of $23.02.
Following that, the New England region is deemed the second highest-earning region for working assistants with an average full-time salary of $20.16 (hourly) and $37,899 (annually). The third highest earning area is the West North Central for medical assistants providing an average hourly salary of $20.13 and an annual average wage of $37,242.
By Work Settings:
|Work Setting||Percentage||Mean Hourly Pay||Mean Annual Pay|
|Inpatient Health Setting||1%||$19.01||$36,214|
|Other Work Settings||3%||$19.35||$37,103|
Based on a survey, a vast majority of 94% of medical assistants are employed in clinics or physician’s offices, earning an average full-time salary of $19.01 (hourly) and $35,232 (annually) reportedly. The (1%) medical assistants appointed in ambulatory surgery are expected to earn an average annual salary of $37,699 and an average hourly wage of $19.98. Another set of 1% of medical assistants employed in inpatient work settings is offered a full-time average wage of $19.01 (hourly) and $36,214 (annually). Medical assistants employed in other work settings are expected to earn $19.35 (average hourly pay) and $37,103 (average annual pay).
By Practice Specialty:
|Specialty Type||Mean Hourly Pay||Mean Annual Pay|
|Orthopedic surgery and general surgery||$19.42||$36,779|
Many medical assistant specialists are reported to work in primary care specialties such as pediatrics, general medicine, and gynecology/obstetrics. They are reckoned to be earning an average hourly pay of $18.89 and average annual pay of $35,101. Medical assistants employed in other medical and surgical specialties like orthopedic surgery and general surgery are expected to earn an average full-time salary of $19.42 (hourly) and $36,779 (annually). While MAs working in other specialties earn $18.99 (average hourly wage) and $35,815 (average annual salary).
By Number of Specialties:
|Specialty Number||Percentage||Mean Hourly Pay||Mean Annual Pay|
|Single Specialty Practice||52%||$18.89||$35,599|
A majority of 52% medical assistants possessing the CMA credential are employed in single-specialty practice supposedly, with an income estimated to be $18.89 hourly and $35,599 annually at full-time status. While 45% of medical assistants work at multi-specialty practice earning an average annual salary of $36,085 and an average hourly wage of $19.29.
Job Benefits Other than Salary
Overall, 96% of medical assistants with full-time employment status receive various benefits as a part of the compensation package by their respective employers, whereas 4% of medical assistants testified not to receive any such employment benefits.
A lot of MAs get life insurance and health insurance benefits that cover dental and vision, allowances, disability coverage, professional liability, basic hospitalization, discount prescription, paid vacation, and sick leaves as a part of the compensation package, which also includes salary. However, numerous medical assistants receive a salary at an hourly rate.
MA Employment Outlook
Aspects like geographical locations and industries factor in and change the employment and salary dynamics for the medical assistant profession. The below-mentioned statistics cover employment rates for medical assistants in the United States.
Industries with the Highest Levels of Employment in Medical Assisting
|Industry||Employment||Percent of Industry Employment|
|Offices of Physicians||421,987||15.70%|
|Medical and Surgical Hospitals||106,598||1.89%|
|Offices of Other Health Practitioners||59,103||6.01%|
|Outpatient Care Centers||64,572||6.48%|
|Continuing Care Retirement Communities and Assisted Living Facilities for the Elderly||245,825||27.32|
Source: BLS (as of May 2021)
The industry with the highest employment rate of 15.42% for medical assistants is Offices of Physicians, i.e., clinics. In contrast, the sector with the fifth-highest employment rate of 1.58% is the continuing care retirement communities and assisted living facilities for the elderly.
States with the Highest Employment Level in Medical Assisting
|Industry||Employment||Employment per Thousand Jobs|
Source: BLS (as of May 2021)
With the employment of 97,652, California becomes the state with the highest employment for medical assistants. It is then followed by Texas (69,381), Florida (57,198), and New York (31,402), respectively. Georgia has the very least ranking among the other states on the table, making it the fifth state with high employment rates for medical assistants.
Metropolitan Areas with the Highest Employment Level in Medical Assisting
|Metropolitan Area||Employment||Employment per Thousand Jobs|
|New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA||36,498||4.19|
|Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA||30,710||5.40|
|Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX||19,181||5.35|
|Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL||15,290||6.19|
|Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA||15,790||6.07|
|Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX||15,701||5.62|
|San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA||13,640||6.14|
Source: BLS (as of May 2021)
Among other areas, the New York-Newark-Jersey City metropolitan area seems to have the highest employment (36,498) according to BLS’s statistics. The Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD metropolitan area secures the 10th spot on the list employing 13,372 medical assistants.
Non-metropolitan Areas with the Highest Employment Level in Medical Assisting
|Non-metropolitan Area||Employment||Employment per Thousand Jobs|
|Balance of Lower Peninsula of Michigan||1,340||5.29|
|North Northeastern Ohio (non-contiguous)||1,340||4.25|
|South Central Kentucky||1,320||8.07|
Source: BLS (as of May 2021)
The Northeastern Wisconsin nonmetropolitan area obtains the first rank on the list, providing the highest employment (1,460) to medical assistants. It is then followed by the Balance of Lower Peninsula of Balance of Lower Peninsula of Michigan nonmetropolitan area, North Northeastern Ohio nonmetropolitan area, South Central Kentucky nonmetropolitan area, and Southwest Maine nonmetropolitan area, which is at the fifth spot offering high employment in the country amongst other non-metropolitan areas.
Factors that Impact Medical Assistant Job Growth
The United States is diverse, and it provides career opportunities to various individuals at different levels. Job growth of a specific profession can be limited in a particular area and can be wholly exhilarating and open at a different location. There is always an uncertainty towards what will work and what will not, so it’s rational to take a peek at the statistics to acquire a subtle understanding of the job prospects of your career.
Here are some factors that influence or impact medical assistant job growth:
- Educational Qualification: Although a proper medical assistant training is not required as alternatives like ‘work experience’ or ‘US Armed Forces Medical Services’ exist, yet there is a certain gravitas towards individuals who have been trained professionally to become a medical assistant, which makes them a more employable option.
- Certifications: Potential medical assistants are encouraged to get certified as it provides higher chances of employment. You must opt for a nationally recognized certification as it may broaden your horizon and open you to work at different states and healthcare facilities.
- Geographical Locations: The job prospects of a medical assistant can vary with respect to different states, cities, and areas. Certain states may offer higher employment rates as well as salary rates compared to others.
- Industries: Medical assistants primarily work in hospitals, clinics, outpatient care centers, etc. MAs working in this healthcare industry are assigned duties and responsibilities based on their respective work settings. For example, an employer may want you to only attend to patients and perform clinical tasks, whereas a different employer may wish you to perform both clinical and administrative duties.
Reasons Why Medical Assistant Career has Great Future Potentials
The healthcare industry is at its peak; it is a thriving and growing industry that employs various professionals and provides medical services to the population. There is always a prestige attached to individuals who work in the healthcare industry. A career as a medical assistant has excellent future potential. The following are some points to justify the same:
- Transferable Credits: Credits earned in a medical assisting training program can be transferred to a more advanced (4-year college) degree program. Thus, it may lead you upwards in your career ladder and give you many career opportunities. A career in medical assisting can be a stepping stone to a higher designation with greater responsibilities.
- High Demand Occupation: Due to the rise of new technologies, medicines, and health issues, the demand for medical assistants is expected to increase 19% in the coming years, making this profession a highly sought after career option. The increase in employment rates creates a tremendous future potential for this allied healthcare profession.
- Affordable Education: With modest prerequisites and flexible medical assisting training program options, the investments you make financially and otherwise are minimal compared to the outcomes you get as a working medical assistant. People are experiencing student debts, and unemployment makes medical assisting a safer and convenient career option with great potential in the future.
Written by : Casey Gardner
Casey Gardner is both a healthcare support professional and an accomplished content creator. She has been working as a certified health care professional with marketable skills as a physician assistant, and a qualified medical assistant for last two decades. She has dedicated her nursing career to produce over hundreds of content pieces since 2001, and her work has been published both online as well as offline.