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Medical Assistant Job Outlook (Last Updated Feb 2019)

If you are thinking of becoming a medical assistant (MA), learning as much as you can about the career is crucial. Here, you will find information about the overall medical assistant employment outlook for the next several years to help you better understand what the future might hold. You will also learn more about your work settings, work environment, work hours and the number of annual job openings. This information can help you determine whether a career as a medical assistant is right for you.


How many Medical Assistants are Currently Employed in the United States?

As of December 2018, there were a total of 646,320 MAs working in the United States across all specialties and work environments.

646,320


Which Healthcare Settings Hire the Highest Number of Medical Assistants?

Because of the very nature of a medical assistant’s job, which includes both clinical and clerical duties, you will be especially well-suited for assisting physicians. It should come as no surprise that more than half of all MAs work in doctors’ offices. Almost 91,000 MAs work in hospitals, and a little more than 54,000 work in other health care practitioners’ (mainly specialists’) offices.

Rank Industry Employment
1 Offices of Physicians 361,890
2 Hospitals 90,730
3 Offices of Other Health Practitioners 54,930
4 Outpatient Care Centers 53,150
5 Continuing Care Retirement Communities and Assisted Living Facilities for the Elderly 9,760
6 4-Year Colleges & Universities 7,390
7 Offices of Dentists 3,060
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)



Typical Medical Assisting Work Environment

The average medical assisting work environment will vary somewhat based upon your employer and your specialty. Your job may focus more on clerical duties, which means you will spend most of your time at a computer or on the phone. On the other hand, your duties may be more clinical in nature, which would require you to spend more time with patients.

If you work in an emergency room, you can expect the work environment to be fast-paced and sometimes even stressful. Conversely, if you work in a podiatrist’s office, you can expect a relatively predictable workday with a low to moderate amount of stress.


Typical Medical Assisting Working Hours

The hours you will work as a medical assistant will vary a great deal depending on your employer and your specialization. If you prefer working in maternity or emergency medicine, you will likely be required to work weekends, holidays, and overnights. MAs working in clinics or doctors’ offices tend to work only during the day and very few (if any) weekends or holidays.


What Does the Future Hold for Medical Assisting Jobs?

Medical assisting is expected to grow by a tremendous 29% in the 10-year span between 2016 and 2026. Numerous factors will drive this growth, including the anticipated growth of the US population. As the population increases, the number of people seeking care for various conditions and diseases will grow, as well– especially when coupled with more affordable access to health insurance.

Expected advances in technology and medical science, particularly in biomedicine, will also drive the need for medical assistants in the workforce. With each passing year, medical science allows for more affordable and effective treatments for common conditions like diabetes and cancer. In turn, this is expected to lead to the addition of some 184,000 new MA positions, required for providing support, in this 10-year span.

Number of Medical Assistants 10 Year New Job Growth Projection (2016-2026)
2016 2026 Number %
634,400 818,400 184,000 29.00%
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)


2019 Annual Job Openings Projection

The same factors driving the tremendous growth in the number of MAs employed across the United States along with a significant number of replacement positions will cause the annual medical assistant job openings to skyrocket. In fact, almost 95,000 new medical assistants will be needed each year to fill new positions and to replace MAs who retire or go on to further their education and career.

New Replacement Projected Annual Job Openings (New + Replacement)
18,400 76,500 94,900


Medical Assistant State Wise Employment Outlook Data

The average medical assistant salary and outlook between 2016 and 2026 varies somewhat based on the state in which you work. For example, Arizona and Utah will see tremendous growth while areas like Rhode Island and Illinois will see only marginal growth.

State Employment Employment Growth (2016-2026) Annual Job Openings (New + Replacement)
2016 2026 Number %
Alabama 7,360 9,180 1,820 24.73% 1,050
Alaska 1,670 2,060 390 23.35% 240
Arizona 17,640 25,650 8,010 45.41% 3,080
Arkansas 3,160 4,130 970 30.70% 480
California 84,800 109,600 24,800 29.25% 12,720
Colorado 10,070 12,930 2,860 28.40% 1,560
Connecticut 7,790 9,410 1,620 20.80% 1,070
Delaware 2,010 2,400 390 19.40% 270
District of Columbia 1,640 2,090 450 27.44% 240
Florida 52,110 71,710 19,600 37.61% 8,480
Georgia 21,150 27,330 6,180 29.22% 3,170
Hawaii 3,160 4,030 870 27.53% 470
Idaho 3,270 4,060 790 24.16% 470
Illinois 20,500 23,250 2,750 13.41% 2,580
Indiana 12,650 16,240 3,590 28.38% 1,880
Iowa 4,420 5,610 1,190 26.92% 650
Kansas 4,760 5,410 650 13.66% 600
Kentucky 8,280 10,210 1,930 23.31% 1,170
Louisiana 5,670 6,690 1,020 17.99% 750
Maine 3,590 4,160 570 15.88% 470
Maryland 11,120 14,070 2,950 26.53% 1,620
Massachusetts 12,990 15,220 2,230 17.17% 1,710
Michigan 21,910 28,070 6,160 28.12% 3,250
Minnesota 9,780 12,260 2,480 25.36% 1,410
Mississippi 2,910 3,260 350 12.03% 360
Missouri 9,140 10,720 1,580 17.29% 1,200
Montana 1,250 1,600 350 28.00% 180
Nebraska 3,090 3,930 840 27.18% 450
Nevada 5,810 7,200 1,390 23.92% 830
New Hampshire 2,580 3,200 620 24.03% 370
New Jersey 19,420 23,880 4,460 22.97% 2,730
New Mexico 4,630 5,650 1,020 22.03% 640
New York 26,460 35,740 9,280 35.07% 4,200
North Carolina 16,310 21,030 4,720 28.94% 2,440
North Dakota 690 880 190 27.54% 100
Ohio 23,150 27,790 4,640 20.04% 3,150
Oklahoma 9,640 11,390 1,750 18.15% 1,280
Oregon 10,820 13,900 3,080 28.47% 1,610
Pennsylvania 26,930 32,810 5,880 21.83% 3,730
Puerto Rico 440 550 110 25.00% 60
Rhode Island 2,530 2,760 230 9.09% 300
South Carolina 9,370 12,260 2,890 30.84% 1,430
South Dakota 1,040 1,230 190 18.27% 140
Tennessee 14,460 18,860 4,400 30.43% 2,190
Texas 58,570 79,530 20,960 35.79% 9,370
Utah 7,660 11,170 3,510 45.82% 1,340
Vermont 660 770 110 16.67% 90
Virginia 12,600 16,960 4,360 34.60% 1,990
Washington 13,790 17,480 3,690 26.76% 2,020
West Virginia 3,410 4,180 770 22.58% 480
Wisconsin 11,530 13,790 2,260 19.60% 1,560
Wyoming 630 800 170 26.98% 90
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)


Medical Assistant Employment Outlook Compared to Similar Allied Health Careers

Of all the various allied health careers in the US today, medical assisting’s growth of nearly 29% will be topped only by physical therapist assisting, which is expected to grow by more than 30% in the same decade-long period. Other health careers that are expected to grow a great deal include dental assisting (19.46%), dental hygienists (19.67%), phlebotomists (24.53%) and occupational therapy (28.21%). Some jobs will grow only marginally, such as psychiatric technicians (5.9%) and nursing assistants (11.48%).

Occupation Employment New Employment Growth (2016-2026) Annual Job Openings (New + Replacement)
2016 2026 Number %
Physical Therapist Assistant and Aide 140,300 183,000 42,700 30.43% 23,300
Medical Assistant 634,400 818,400 183,900 28.99% 94,900
Occupational Therapy Assistant and Aide 46,800 60,000 13,200 28.21% 7,800
Phlebotomist 122,700 152,800 30,100 24.53% 16,900
Dental Hygienist 207,900 248,900 40,900 19.67% 17,500
Dental Assistant 332,000 396,600 64,600 19.46% 45,900
Medical Records and Health Information Technician 206,300 234,100 27,800 13.48% 15,800
Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurse 724,500 813,400 88,900 12.27% 62,700
Pharmacy Technician 402,500 450,100 47,600 11.83% 37,500
Nursing Assistant 1,510,300 1,683,700 173,400 11.48% 195,100
Psychiatric Technician 66,100 70,000 3,900 5.90% 5,600
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)