According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical assistants are in high demand, and that demand is expected to keep growing (source). These talented professionals are the backbone of medical facilities across the country. They work hard to ensure the business side of a medical practice runs smoothly, and that patients receive the best possible care.
There are many reasons to enter this great profession including a relatively short training period, great working hours, a professional environment, and a nice salary. Those looking for a good career that will provide a decent living may find medical assisting to be the perfect job.
How Much Do Medical Assistants Make?
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The medical assistant salary is one of the best when it comes to the amount of education and training involved in preparing for the job. After earning only a certificate from a medical assisting program, graduates earn an average of almost $30,000 a year. In addition, medical assistants can expect to receive bonuses and benefits that can easily add as much as $15,000 to their overall earnings. These benefits include social security benefits, retirement plans, healthcare insurance, disability benefits, pension, and paid time off. This brings the total value of salary and benefits to around $45,000 a year; quite a nice salary for so little time spent in training.
To make the field even more attractive, there is a growing demand for well-trained medical assistants across the country. This demand is creating an upward trend in wages and benefits, according to a Medical Assisting Salary Survey taken in 2011 (source). This study, conducted by the American Association of Medical Assistants, shows that around 5% percent of medical assistants receive a salary, while the rest earn hourly wages. Of those earning hourly pay, the average salary is almost $50,000 a year, and just over 15% earn almost $65,000 a year.
The hourly wage received by medical assistants is determined by level of experience and certification. Generally, the hourly wage for those with 0-2 years of experience is around $13.00 per hour, but increases to more than $17.00 an hour for those with 16 years of experience or more.
In addition, Certified Medical Assistants, those who have received certification through the AAMA, receive a higher hourly rate. This is due to the fact that employers prefer CMAs because they fear that improperly trained assistants may lead to malpractice suits and other issues. Certification ensures that candidates have met rigorous training standards, demonstrated knowledge through testing, and are capable of providing high quality services.
Medical Assistant Job Growth Outlook
The career outlook for medical assistants is very promising. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics lists medical assisting as one of the occupations expected to see the fastest growth over the next decade. Employment opportunities in this field are expected to grow by at least 34% through 2018. As the field of healthcare advances and an aging population creates an increased need for healthcare services, this growth is likely to continue for many years to come. The outlook is even brighter for Certified Medical Assistants, with job prospects that are considered “excellent.”
As the demand for medical assistants increases, so does the medical assistant salary, as shown by the history of earnings. Between 2002 and 2004, medical assistants earned an average of $25,000 a year. With increased regulations in the healthcare field, the need for skilled assistants increased and so did the salary. In 2008, the average salary jumped to $29,000, then again to $30,000 in 2010. By 2013, the average salary of the top-earning medical assistants was $35,500, plus benefits. Considering that the demand for medical assistants and the related salary is predicted to keep growing at this rate, there has never been a better time to become a medical assistant.
For those ready to start a career that offers it all, including a lucrative medical assistant salary, now is the time to find an accredited medical assisting program and to get the education necessary to join this remarkable field. Those with jobs and other responsibilities can even get their training through an online program. Online programs allow students to study from home on their own schedule without giving up the things that matter most in their lives.
What Do Medical Assistants Actually Do?
Medical assistants strive to ensure that the healthcare facilities they work in run like a well-oiled machine. They work in administration at the front desk, as well as perform clinical tasks related to providing direct care to patients. Medical assistants gather information on patients’ medical histories and health issues, and provide patients with information and instructions regarding treatment. They prepare rooms, patients, and instruments for the physician, as well as offer basic support during procedures. In addition, they keep records current and organized, schedule appointments, file insurance claims, answer phones, schedule appointments, and more. In short, medical assistants perform any task necessary to ensure that physicians are in the best position to provide quality treatment to their patients.