As this profession is highly in demand, it’s definitely going to impact the medical assistant pay rate positively in the years to come. In this article, you will explore factors that affect average pay for medical assistants, what perks and benefits they get in addition to salary, and what is the job outlook for these professionals. Read on!

Resource Hourly Salary Annual Salary Date Updated
BLS $17.17 $35,720 May 2019
Indeed $12.89 -- 5 Feb 2020
Glassdoor -- $31,508 31 Jan 2020
Salary.com $18 $36,864 15 Feb 2021
PayScale $15.43 $34,335 15 Feb 2021
ZipRecruiter $15 $30,615 5 Feb 2020
American Association of Medical Assistants $17.74 $33,570 2019

The above table depicts the medical assistant hourly pay and annual salaries according to various sources.

Top Paying Industries for Medical Assistant Professionals

Among various industries, including personal care services, offices of dentists, scientific research and development services, etc., the top-paying industries for medical assistant professionals were junior colleges, computer systems design, recreation, insurance, and medical industry.

Employer Hourly Wage Annual Salary
Junior Colleges $23.42 $48,720
Computer Systems Design and Related Services $19.95 $41,490
Other Amusement and Recreation Industries $19.09 $39,710
Insurance Carriers $21.11 $43,910
Medical and Diagnostic Laboratories $18.36 $38,190

Source: BLS (as of May 2020)

Medical Assistant Salary Variations based on Certifications

Certified medical assistants are paid more than non-certified medical assistants. Further, the salary depends on the level of education, i.e., associate’s degree, bachelor’s degree, or other higher degree.

Medical Assistant Salary Variations based on Certifications
Level of Education Annual Salary
Technical Certificate or High School Diploma $33,627 - $35,250
Associate’s Degree $33,960 - $35,583
Bachelor’s Degree $34,418 - $35,964
Master’s Degree $34,834 - $36,388
JD, MD, PhD or Equivalent $35,250 - $36,812

Source: salary.com (as of January 20, 2020)

As it is visible in the above table, medical assistants with JD, MD, PhD, or equivalent degree earned the highest salary package, i.e., between $35,250 and $36,812.

Certified Medical Assistant Salaries by State

State Indeed.com (Hourly Salary) Indeed.com (Annual Salary) Salary.com (Hourly Salary) Salary.com (Annual Salary)
Alaska $18.95 43,836 $17.54 40,578
Rhode Island $19.47 45,045 $16.49 38,153
Washington $18.61 43,050 $16.71 38,660
Minnesota $18.96 43,898 $16.00 37,031
Massachusetts $17.35 40,144 $17.02 39,384
California $16.70 38,640 $17.48 40,434
Oregon $18.43 42,645 $15.58 36,054
Connecticut $16.69 38,614 $16.93 39,167
New Jersey $16.23 37,548 $17.30 40,021
Rhode Island $19.47 45,045 $16.49 38,153
North Dakota $18.16 42,020 $14.69 33,990
New York $16.19 37,448 $16.79 38,841
Maine $17.42 40,316 $15.08 34,895
Wisconsin $17.03 39,411 $15.41 35,655
Colorado $16.57 38,346 $15.60 36,090
Illinois $15.89 36,763 $16.07 37,176
Maryland $15.79 36,529 $16.13 37,323
Hawaii $15.37 35,559 $16.41 37,979
New Hampshire $15.72 36,378 $15.88 36,741
Vermont $16.37 37,884 $15.07 34,859
Pennsylvania $15.75 36,449 $15.61 36,126
Iowa $16.27 37,639 $14.97 34,642
Virginia $15.65 36,212 $15.55 35,981
Arizona $15.45 35,748 $15.47 35,788
Nevada $14.64 33,867 $16.04 37,103
Delaware $14.23 32,918 $16.43 38,008
Montana $16.37 37,874 $14.18 32,814
Indiana $15.09 34,912 $15.29 35,366
Nebraska $15.75 36,433 $14.35 33,194
Georgia $14.98 34,662 $15.14 35,022
Michigan $14.31 33,103 $15.66 36,227
Ohio $14.40 33,771 $15.28 35,344
Texas $14.48 33,512 $15.36 35,546
South Dakota $16.36 37,850 $13.39 30,986
Utah $14.85 34,358 $14.82 34,295
Wyoming $15.67 36,293 $13.92 32,217
Idaho $14.84 34,330 $14.77 34,165
North Carolina $14.51 33,573 $14.92 34,533
Florida $14.51 33,566 $14.86 34,389
South Carolina $14.77 34,171 $14.64 33,882
New Mexico $14.92 34,515 $14.30 33,085
Kentucky $14.38 33,277 $14.72 34,063
Kansas $13.71 31,720 $14.85 34,352
Tennessee $14.19 32,840 $14.21 32,886
Arkansas $15.19 35,139 $14.43 33,384
Oklahoma $13.28 37,724 $14.71 34,027
Louisiana $12.57 29,088 $14.99 34,678
Missouri $12.64 29,236 $14.91 34,497
Alabama $12.66 29,288 $14.66 33,918
West Virginia $12.79 29,599 $13.86 32,072
Mississippi $12.60 29,143 $13.61 31,493

Source: indeed.com(as of July 19, 2020) & salary.com (as of June 28, 2020)

The data gathered from indeed.com and salary.com for “certified medical assistant salaries by states” postulates that the top 5 highest paying states for medical assistants are Alaska, Washington, Minnesota, Massachusetts, and California. These 5 states have an average hourly salary ranging from $16 to $18 and an average annual salary ranging from $37,000 to $43,000 for medical assistants.

Some of the lowest-paying states for medical assistants include Missouri, Alabama, West Virginia, and Mississippi. All these states have an average hourly salary ranging from $12 to $14 and a mean annual wage ranging from $29,000 to $34,000.

Highest Paying Cities for CMAs in the US

City Average Salary (Hourly)
Portland (Oregon) $19.16
Spokane (Washington) $17.06
Indianapolis (Indiana) $16.48
Atlanta (Georgia) $16.20
Philadelphia (Pennsylvania) $15.99
Baltimore (Maryland) $15.94
Dallas (Texas) $15.47
Houston (Texas) $15.24

Source: indeed (as of July 19, 2020)

The data reported in the chart exhibits the highest paying cities for certified medical assistants. The cities that offer the highest salaries to CMAs include Portland, the highest paying city that provides an average hourly pay of $19.16. CMAs working in Spokane are expected to earn an hourly wage of $17.06.

Healthcare facilities across Philadelphia and Baltimore will provide average hourly pay of $15.99 and $15.94 to CMAs, respectively. Certified medical assistants working in Atlanta can expect $16.20 as their hourly salary. CMAs working in Texas’ major cities Houston and Dallas earn from $15 to $15.50 per hour, approximately.


City Average Hourly Pay Pay Difference Rate
Seattle (WA) $21.23 35%
Chicago (IL) $17.39 16%
Philadelphia (PA) $17.01 5%
Houston (TX) $15.91 4%
Atlanta (GA) $16.01 4%
Dallas (TX) $16.45 2%

Source: payscale (as of July 08, 2020)

The pay difference displayed in the chart is the individual increased salary rate concerning the national average hourly rate for CMAs working in metropolitan cities in the USA. Seattle offers an hourly pay of $21.23, which is 35% more than the average hourly wage to the employed certified medical assistants. CMAs working in Chicago are expected to earn an hourly pay of $17.39, which is 16% more than the national average hourly wage.

Philadelphia is one of the highest paying cities for CMAs that has a pay difference rate of 5% and provides a mean hourly salary of $17.01. Certified medical assistants working in Houston and Atlanta earn an hourly pay of $15.91 and $16.01, respectively, and both cities have a pay difference rate of 4%. Average hourly payment of $16.45 and a salary rate of 2% more than the national average hourly rate is secured by CMAs working in Dallas.

Certified Medical Assistant Pay Based on Experience

The seniority level of medical assistants directly impacts their salary. The entry-level medical assistants are usually paid less, but as they gain experience and achieve senior position, their annual and hourly salary also increases.

Certified Medical Assistant Pay Based on Experience
Experience Hourly Wage
Less than 1 year $13.60
1-4 years $14.57
5-9 years $16.17
10-19 years $17.21
20 years and higher $17.97

Source: payscale.com (as of February 23, 2021)

As evident from the above table, medical assistants with less than one year experience earned $13.60 per hour, whereas those with 20 years and higher experience made $17.97 per hour.

Experience Annual Wage
0-2 years 29,867
3-5 years 32,453
6-9 years 34,383
10-15 years 37,101
16+ years 40,180

Source: AAMA (as of 2020) - Multiple specialties

Clinical Medical Assistant Salaries by State

Location wise there are considerable differences in the average wages offered for clinical medical assistants. Many employees select a state that is known for furnishing amongst the highest salaries in the country for clinical assisting. Knowing which states pay the highest and which pay amongst the least is helping to shape your financial goals accordingly.

Thus, in the table below, we have outlined a list of all states in the USA (in alphabetical order) with average hourly and annual payouts:

Clinical Medical Assisting Salaries by State (Hourly and Annual)

State Hourly Salary Indeed (hourly) Annual Salary ZipRecruiter (annual) Annual Salary Zippia (annual)
Alabama $11.94 $26,329 $23,897
Alaska $19.39 $49,722 $36,532
Arizona $15.25 $28,944 $34,196
Arkansas $15.36 $26,506 $27,237
California $18.89 $30,078 $36,212
Colorado $18.19 $28,258 $32,965
Connecticut $17.61 $30,276 $43,119
Delaware $18.62 - $37,079
Florida $14.71 $25,410 $28,177
Georgia $16.06 $27,299 $27,546
Hawaii $33,000 yearly $31,386 $30,095
Idaho $17.02 - $39,365
Illinois $53,844 yearly $26,369 $30,334
Indiana $20.89 $33,810 $27,631
Iowa $20.58 - $30,261
Kansas $17.86 $45,057 $29,415
Kentucky $47,056 yearly - $30,190
Louisiana $17.27 $30,291 $25,917
Maine $17.89 $25,561 $41,894
Maryland $15.70 $36,877 $32,841
Massachusetts $17.05 $32,500 $47,493
Michigan $14.58 $26,525 $28,632
Minnesota $16.06 $28,250 $36,268
Mississippi $16.94 $28,704 $26,171
Missouri $12.78 $25,800 $26,627
Montana $29.56 - $30,529
Nebraska $17.96 - $27,508
Nevada $41,662 yearly $36,231 $38,247
New Hampshire $18.33 $31,420 $40,568
New Jersey $16.77 $28,715 $39,107
New Mexico $12.57 $32,454 $31,168
New York $17.64 $32,920 $43,824
North Carolina $45,725 yearly $40,113 $28,493
North Dakota $18.41 $30,093 $32,325
Ohio $46,601 yearly $28,138 $27,037
Oklahoma $17.64 - $29,889
Oregon $18.59 - $40,466
Pennsylvania $13.41 $28,477 $33,835
Rhode Island $15.50 $29,257 $44,025
South Carolina $14.48 $34,573 $24,222
South Dakota $17.64 $28,515 $27,586
Tennessee $13.59 $31,132 $24,827
Texas $14.29 $26,650 $29,077
Utah $15,30 $27,814 $31,884
Vermont $18.01 - $38,644
Virginia $25,411 yearly $26,392 $30,323
Washington $41,406 yearly $32,688 $41,781
West Virginia $17.26 $28,680 $31,993
Wisconsin $28.74 $32,305 $31,842
Wyoming $17.84 $29,618 $36,163

As can be seen above, as per hourly wages, Wisconsin ($28.74) and Montana ($29.56) are the states in the USA that pay the highest to their clinical Medical Assistants. Thus those looking for a considerably high hourly pay can look at these states for any open vacancies. As per average annual salary figures,  Massachusetts ($47,493), Alaska ($49722), Rhode Island ($44,025), New York ($43,824), and Connecticut ($43,119) pay the highest to clinical medical assistants in the USA.

On the other hand, the state of Alabama paid the lowest hourly wages to Clinical Medical Assistants on an average ($11.94 per hour). New Mexico ($12.57) and Missouri ($12.78) were the other states that paid amongst the least hourly compensation to USA's clinical MAs. As per annual salary figures, Alabama was found to pay the lowest package of $23,897 per year. South Carolina, Tennessee, Louisiana, and Mississippi were the other states that recorded the lowest annual wages for Clinical Medical Assistants.

Highest Paying Cities for Clinical MAs in the US

We have seen state-wise pay estimates above; however, even city to city differences exist in the compensation structure of clinical MAs in the USA. Your best bet would be to seek clinical medical assisting jobs in the highest paying American cities. It is not always possible to relocate and find jobs outside your location; however, here we have enlisted you with the top cities that pay the highest salaries to clinical medical assistants. Keeping these locations in mind, you can chalk out a plan in the future to seek openings here:

Cities that Pay the Highest Clinical MA Wages:

City Annual Salary (zippia.com as of May 18, 2020) Hourly Pay (indeed as of Aug 19, 2020)
Burlington, MA $46,000 $21.43
New York, NY $44,000 $17.59
Longview, WA $42,000 $15.98
Lewiston, ME $40,000 $16.77
Clifton, NJ $39,000 $18.54
Palo Alto, CA $39,000 $23.50
Maplewood, MN $36,000 $17.99
Phoenix, AZ $34,000 $19.10
Milwaukee, WI $32,000 $18.84

The average hourly salary (as of Aug 19) of USA's clinical assistants is estimated at $16.79, and the average annual pay at $33,275. However, depending on where you're located, you might even draw considerably better salaries than the national average.

Burlington, number one on the list in terms of the average clinical assistant pay ($46,000), is 39% over the nation's hourly average clinical assisting compensation. If you're just starting, the best location in terms of an entrant salary package would be this city (average starting pay is $16,000). Other vital cities that pay well to clinical assistants include New York (pays 14% above national average), Clifton (pays 20% above national average), and Palo Alto (pays a whopping 53% above the national average and the highest hourly wage in the US). In terms of states, the highest paying ones include Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New York.

Medical Assistant Salaries by Work Setting

Medical assistants may work in different work settings – hospitals, clinics, physicians’ offices, nursing homes, etc. According to the AAMA (American Association of Medical Assistants), as of 2019, medical assistants working in physician practice were paid the highest annual salary, i.e., $33,510 per annum.

Work Setting Annual Salary Hourly Wage
Physician Practice $33,510 $17.73
Ambulatory Surgery $35,336 $18.13
Inpatient Setting $35,072 $17.65
Other $35,235 $18.41

Source: AAMA (as of 2019)

Popular Skills Affecting Salaries

There are various specializations in which medical assistants can earn a certification. Based on their interest, medical assistants can get certification in both single or multiple specialties. The more specializations you will have, the higher your salary will be.

Skills Annual Salary Hourly Wage
Single Specialty $33,561 $17.63
Multiple Specialties $34,064 $17.99
Other Medical & Surgical Specialties $34,782 $18.11

Source: AAMA (as of 2019)

As stated in the above table, medical assistants with multiple specialties earned $17.99 per hour and $34,064 per annum.

Skills Average Hourly Wage
Patient Education $15
Medical Terminology $15
EMR (Electronic Medical Records) $14
Phlebotomy $14
Triage $14

Source: payscale.com (as of February 4, 2020)

Medical assistants with strong skills in patient education and medical terminology were paid $15 per hour.

Highest Paying States for Medical Assistants

According to ZipRecruiter, New York was the highest paying state in the USA for the medical assistant profession and paid $33,504 per annum and $16.11 per hour. Among other top-paying states were Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maryland, and Alaska.

State Annual Salary Hourly Wage
New York $33,504 $16.11
Massachusetts $33,227 $15.97
New Hampshire $32,607 $15.68
Maryland $31,033 $14.92
Alaska $30,615 $14.72

Source: ZipRecruiter (as of February 5, 2020)

According to the BLS, Alaska paid the highest salary ($45,490 and $21.87 per hour) to these professionals.

State Annual Salary Hourly Wage
Alaska $45,490 $21.87
District of Columbia $42,010 $20.20
Washington $41,340 $19.88
Minnesota $40,320 $19.38
Massachusetts $40,270 $19.36

Source: BLS (as of May 2018)

Highest Paying Cities for Medical Assistants

According to ZipRecruiter and the BLS, medical assistants in most of the cities in California earned the highest salary as compared to cities of other states.

Skills Annual Salary Hourly Wage
San Francisco, CA $35,880 $17.25
San Jose, CA $34,618 $16.64
Dublin, CA $34,274 $16.48
New York City, NY $33,504 $16.11
Seattle, WA $33,250 $15.99

Source: ZipRecruiter (as of February 5, 2020)

Metropolitan Area Annual Salary Hourly Wage
Vallejo-Fairfield, CA $46,170 $22.20
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA $45,640 $21.94
Anchorage, AK $44,110 $21.69
Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA $44,410 $21.35
Barnstable Town, MA $44,300 $21.30

Source: BLS (as of May 2018)

Top 5 States with Highest Employment

According to the BLS, with $38,250 per annum and $18.39 per hour, California was the top paying state for medical assistants in May 2018. Among other top-paying states were Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania, and New York.

State Employment Annual Salary Hourly Wage
California 92,960 $38,250 $18.39
Texas 59,930 $31,580 $15.18
Florida; 55,330 $32,870 $15.80
Pennsylvania 27,590 $34,770 $15.75
New York 26,080 $37,560 $18.06

Source: BLS (as of May 2018)

Job Satisfaction Ratio among Medical Assistants

Salary satisfaction is one of the most crucial aspects of job satisfaction. In a survey by indeed.com, 35% of medical assistants in the US believed that their salaries are enough according to the cost of living in their area.

According to payscale.com, Clinical Medical Assistants are highly satisfied with their jobs, and they have rated their jobs as 4.16 out of 5 for satisfaction level.

Top Paying Employers for Medical Assistants

According to the BLS, with $38,250 per annum and $18.39 per hour, California was the top paying state for medical assistants in May 2018. Among other top-paying states were Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania, and New York.

Employer Hourly Wage
Kaiser Permanente $23
Banner Health $17
Planned Parenthood $16
Internal Medicine Group $16
HCA Physician Services $14

Source: payscale.com (as of February 5, 2021)

Employer Hourly Wage
Parkland Health & Hospital System $29.33
Kaiser Permanente $23.24
Virginia Mason Medical Center $20.02
NYU Langone Health $20.61
MultiCare Health System $20.71

Source: indeed.com

Common Benefits for Medical Assistants (other than Salary)

In addition to lucrative salary packages, employers pay the following non-monetary benefits to their employees.

  • Paid Time-Off
  • Employers provide paid time-off to medical assistants so that they can fulfill their family commitments and enjoy quality time with family members.

  • Tuition Reimbursement
  • Some employers reimburse tuition fees if medical assistants agree to work with them after completion of studies. Most of the employers also pay for the higher education of the MAs working with them.

  • Insurance
  • Employers pay for vision and dental insurance of their employees. Some employers also provide health insurance plans for the employees and their families.

  • Flexible Work Schedules
  • Medical assistants can organize their work schedules and may choose to work on weekdays, weekends, or 4, 8, 10, or 12-hour shifts.

  • Maternity Leaves
  • Expecting medical assistants can avail maternity leaves provided by their organization. The number of leaves depends on the employer.

  • Pension Plan
  • Some employers offer a pension plan to make the after-retirement life of MAs easy. The longer you work with an organization, the more benefits you will get after retirement.

  • Professional Development Assistance
  • The healthcare industry keeps on evolving with technological advancements. Employers conduct training and mentoring programs to keep their employees tuned with the latest technologies.
    In addition to these benefits, the employer may also provide you with sick leaves, tax saving plans, work opportunities in various locations, relocation leaves, etc.

How Much Do Similar Professions Pay?

Associate Medical Director, Medical Billing Specialist, Medical Office Assistant, Phlebotomist, Dental Assistant, and Dental Hygienists are some of the related professions to medical assistants. All these professionals earn different salaries. Take a look!

Job Title Hourly Wage Annual Salary
Medical Billing Specialist $20 $41,213
Librarian Assistant $21 $44,163
Associate Medical Director $127 $264,469
Assistant Treasurer $78 $162,528
Assistant Controller $62 $129,581

Source: salary.com (January 20, 2020)

medical assistant earning

Source: U.S. News (as of 2018)

Job Title Hourly Wage
Clinical Medical Assistant $11 - $18
Certified Medical Assistant $12 - $19
Medical Administrative Assistant $12 - $22
Phlebotomist $11 - $19
Registered Medical Assistant $12 - $19
Certified Medical Assistant $12 - $19
Dental Assistant $12 - $22

Source: payscale.com (as of February 4, 2020)

Job Title Median Pay
Dental Assistants $38,660
Dental Hygienists $74,820
LPNs and LVNs $46,240
Medical Records and Health Information Technicians $40,350
Nursing Assistants and Orderlies $28,530
Occupational Therapy Assistants and Aides $57,620
Pharmacy Technicians $32,700
Phlebotomists $34,480
Physical Therapist Assistants and Aides $48,090
Psychiatric Technicians and Aides $30,860

Source: BLS (as of 2018)

Factors that can Boost Medical Assistants Salary

Below are some ways through which the average medical assistant salary can be enhanced.

1

Education

You can get an entry-level job by obtaining a diploma in medical assisting. But, if you want to earn a higher salary, you must consider pursuing an associate’s or bachelor’s degree from an accredited school.

2

Certification

Obtaining a certificate or certificates in one or more specialized fields will add to your skills and will undoubtedly improve your career opportunities and salary package.

3

Experience

As you gain work experience, your competence improves gradually. While working, you gain exposure and experience in new areas such as radiology, phlebotomy, etc. Your experience prepares you to take on more responsibilities and earn a higher income.

4

Relocation

Relocating to a city or state that pays higher salary packages to medical assistants is one of the ways to boost your income.

5

Overtime

You can work overtime to earn more income. Some employers pay an excellent medical assistant salary per hour. So, you can work for some extra hours to increase your salary.

Hiring Trends and Projected Job Outlook for Medical Assistants

With 154,900 new jobs in the field by the year 2028, the future looks bright for medical assistants and connected professions. The BLS has projected that there will be 841,500 medical assistants employed by 2028, which accounts for 23% growth in employment from 2018 to 2028. This growth is attributed to several factors, including technical disruptions and reforms in the healthcare sector, an increase in the number of elderly patients, an increase in obesity diabetes and other medical conditions, etc.

Find Medical Assistant Salaries by State

Wondering how much do medical assistants get paid in your state? Click your state in the below map and get detailed information.

medical assistant author

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.

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