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Medical Assistant Salary (Last Updated Feb 2019)

The average medical assistant salary can vary a great deal depending on your experience, education, certification, location, specialization, and specific employer. However, understanding the average annual salary for a medical assistant (MA) can help you make better decisions about your future career path. Here, you will also learn more about starting salary for MAs, average salary, factors that can help you earn a higher salary, and even the expected salary growth for MAs over the course of the next decade.



Starting Salary

Hourly: The starting hourly medical assistant salary across the country is an average of $12.36. This is quite a bit higher than the starting average hourly earnings of $10.76, across all professions in the nation.

Monthly: The typical monthly salary for an MA fresh out of school is roughly $2,140.

Annual: The average annual salary for a brand-new medical assistant is $25,705. Again, this is much more than the national average starting salary across all professions, which is $22,370 per year.


Type Salary
Hourly $12.36
Monthly $2,140
Annual $25,705
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)



Average Salary

Hourly: Whereas the numbers above reflect the average salary among inexperienced medical assistants, the hourly wage across all medical assistants in the United States is $16.15. This encompasses every state and every MA regardless of his or her education and experience.

Monthly: MAs earn an average of $2800 a month.

Annual: The annual salary across all MAs in the US is $33,580, which is relatively decent when compared to various other allied health careers focused on support roles. Medical assistants tend to earn higher salaries in more complex or stressful environments and having several years’ experience is a surefire way to earn a raise, as well.


Type Salary
Hourly $16.15
Monthly $2,800
Annual $33,580
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)



Total Compensation of a Medical Assistant (Including Other Benefits)

When asking how much medical assistants make, it’s important to consider more than just the paycheck. Other benefits and forms of compensation may be incredibly valuable to you, including paid leave, supplemental pay, retirement accounts, health insurance, and more. For example, in the private sector, the average medical assistant salary is $33,490. When you consider the additional $10,181 in benefits, this drives the total compensation to $43,671 a year – a far more desirable amount. In the government sector the total compensation for a medical assistant is even higher at $48,969, with the base salary being $35,640, added to that a good $13,329 of benefits.


Compensation Component Private Industry State and Local Government
Compensation % Salary Compensation % Salary
Wages and Salaries 69.60% $33,490 62.60% $35,640
Other Benefits 30.40% $10,181 37.40% $13,329
Paid leave 7.00% $2,344 7.60% $2,709
Supplemental Pay 3.80% $1,273 1.00% $356
Insurance 8.00% $2,679 11.80% $4,206
Retirement and Savings 3.80% $1,273 11.50% $4,099
Legally Required 7.80% $2,612 5.50% $1,960
Total 100.00% $43,671 100.00% $48,969



How Much Does A Certified Medical Assistant Earn?

Hourly: The average certified medical assistant salary is 4.52% higher than that of non-certified MAs at $16.88 an hour. This increase is due to the MA’s willingness to take a rigorous exam and maintain his or her certification to prove his or her knowledge.

Monthly: The monthly salary for CMAs is $2,930 which is 4.64% more than their non-certified counterparts.

Annual: Annually, the CMA earns an average of $35,120, which is $1,540.00, more than the average for all MAs. As the need for certified support personnel in healthcare grows, it is expected that this difference in salary will slowly start to increase further.


Type Average Difference
CMA NON-CMA Number %
Hourly $16.88 $16.15 $0.73 4.52%
Monthly $2,930 $2,800 $130.00 4.64%
Annual $35,120 $33,580 $1,540.00 4.59%
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)



Salaries for Various Types of Medical Assistants

As a medical assistant you gain professional expertise by earning a certification. This not only adds substantial credibility to your resume but also helps you earn higher salaries vis-à-vis your non-certified counterparts.

Certified Medical Assistant: Medical assistants who have successfully passed the CMA certification exam go on to earn an average salary of $35,120, which is close to 5% higher than a non-certified MA. Earning the CMA credential signifies the candidate being well versed with professional skills and knowledge required to excel at work.

Registered Medical Assistant: A registered medical assistant has met unique criteria and passed the rigorous RMA certification exam to prove his or her ability and knowledge. RMAs earn an average annual salary of 34,320. The longer you remain registered, and the more experience you gain, the higher your salary can climb over time.

Clinical Medical Assistant: Clinical medical assistants work mostly with patients, whether they assist with minor in-office procedures, perform intake duties, or keep patients’ records. A CMA earns this position after successfully passing the CCMA exam which tests knowledge skills unique to this role. Clinical MAs earn an average annual salary of about $34,550 a year – close to thousand dollars higher than that of the average salary for all medical assistants. This is due to the nature of the job and the higher level of specialization required performing it well.

Administrative Medical Assistant: An administrative medical assistant is someone who focuses primarily on providing support in an office setting. To take on this role you must prove your professional competence by passing the CMAA exam. On average, these individuals earn roughly $33,990 a year – a few hundred more than MAs in general.


Type Salary
Certified Medical Assistant $35,120
Registered Medical Assistant $34,320
Clinical Medical Assistant $34,550
Administrative Medical Assistant $33,990
(Source: In-House Research)



How Can I Earn More as A Medical Assistant?

Though the medical assistant salary per hour, month, and year is far below that of the average American worker’s salary, there are things you can do in order to boost your earning potential.

Complete your Associate Degree: Medical assistants who choose to pursue an associate degree rather than a diploma or certificate tend to earn more. This is because more information is presented to prospective MAs in an associate degree program. By attending a top medical assistant school, you could earn even more.

Get Nationally Certified: Becoming certified through the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA), American Medical Technologists (AMT), National Healthcareer Association (NHA), National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT), or American Medical Certification Association (AMCA), is a great way to give yourself a salary increase – and more recognition, too.

Stay Current on Your Knowledge and Skills: Regularly participating in workshops and completing continuing education courses will make you more valuable to your employer.

Keep Your Performance Consistent: Showing up to work on time every day, putting your best face forward, and ensuring patients are comfortable is a great way to show your employer that you deserve a raise.

Volunteer to Work Overtime on Occasion: Working long hours can take away from your social life, but it can also show a great work ethic. By volunteering to stay late – especially when things are hectic – you can earn 1.5 times your hourly pay.

Ask for Feedback: The ability to take constructive criticism and apply it to your everyday life will serve you well in your career. Ask your superiors for feedback and take it seriously.

Join Professional Associations: There are numerous professional medical assisting related organizations that can help you succeed in your career. Seek them out and become a member.



Which Healthcare Settings Pay Medical Assistants the Most?

Part of earning the highest possible salary as a medical assistant involves choosing the right employer in the right settings. While continuing care retirement communities and assisted living facilities pay the least at $27,240 per year, junior colleges pay the most at $39,930 on average. This is the reason why so many MAs strive to secure employment with an educational facility. The combination of excellent hours and higher pay is ideal for many people.


Rank Industry Hourly Wage Monthly Salary Annual Salary
1 Junior Colleges $19.20 $3,330 $39,930
2 4-Year Colleges & Universities $17.85 $3,090 $37,130
3 Offices of Dentists $17.50 $3,030 $36,410
4 Personal Care Services $17.39 $3,020 $36,180
5 Outpatient Care Centers $16.83 $2,920 $35,020
6 Hospitals $16.46 $2,850 $34,250
7 Offices of Physicians $15.76 $2,730 $32,780
8 Offices of Other Health Practitioners $14.26 $2,470 $29,660
9 Continuing Care Retirement Communities and Assisted Living Facilities for the Elderly $13.09 $2,270 $27,240
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)



By How Much has the MA Salary Grown in the Last 10 years?

Over the last decade, the average MA salary has grown by a total of 18.78%. In 2013, the salary only increased by 0.75%, but in 2016, it increased by 2.95%. Factors driving this growth include the increased cost of living and the need for employers to remain competitive in order to secure the highest quality support staff.


Year Salary Growth
Number %
2008 $29,060 $790 2.79%
2009 $29,450 $390 1.34%
2010 $29,760 $310 1.05%
2011 $30,170 $410 1.38%
2012 $30,550 $380 1.26%
2013 $30,780 $230 0.75%
2014 $31,220 $440 1.43%
2015 $31,910 $690 2.21%
2016 $32,850 $940 2.95%
2017 $33,580 $730 2.22%
Overall Growth in Ten Years $5,310 18.78%
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)



How Much Will the MA Salary Grow in the Next 5 Years?

Over the next five years, the average salary for medical assistants is expected to grow by 10.30%, which is in line with the growth over the last five years. The same factors will continue to drive growth ranging from 1.29% to 2.48% each year. As people expect better quality healthcare, employers will have to do their part to attract only the best employees. Salary is one of the biggest factors that MAs consider when looking into employment, so facilities that offer higher salaries and better benefits are those most likely to secure the best MAs.


Year Salary Growth
Number %
2018 $34,370 $790 2.35%
2019 $35,010 $640 1.86%
2020 $35,460 $450 1.29%
2021 $36,340 $880 2.48%
2022 $37,040 $700 1.93%
Overall Growth in Next Five Years $3,460 10.30%
(Source: In-House Research)



State Wise Salary of Medical Assistants

Another important factor that influences medical assistant salaries is location. Some states pay far less than others; in West Virginia, the average annual salary is less than $27,500. However, in California, MAs earn as much as $52,400 a year – close to double the average salary of the lowest-paying part of the country.


State Hourly Wage Monthly Salary Annual Salary Annual Salary Range
Alabama $13.33 $2,310 $27,730 $20,330 - $37,220
Alaska $20.22 $3,510 $42,060 $31,980 - $54,240
Arizona $15.79 $2,740 $32,840 $24,740 - $41,680
Arkansas $14.43 $2,500 $30,010 $21,730 - $38,720
California $17.61 $3,050 $36,630 $25,050 - $52,400
Colorado $16.95 $2,940 $35,260 $26,290 - $46,840
Connecticut $17.55 $3,040 $36,510 $26,710 - $48,990
Delaware $15.78 $2,740 $32,830 $24,650 - $43,190
District of Columbia $19.50 $3,380 $40,570 $27,910 - $52,680
Florida $15.37 $2,670 $31,980 $23,280 - $40,840
Georgia $15.41 $2,670 $32,060 $23,020 - $41,220
Hawaii $17.69 $3,070 $36,800 $25,830 - $48,500
Idaho $15.36 $2,660 $31,950 $25,190 - $39,460
Illinois $16.69 $2,890 $34,710 $23,320 - $48,540
Indiana $15.10 $2,620 $31,410 $23,970 - $39,330
Iowa $16.36 $2,840 $34,030 $25,150 - $45,410
Kansas $14.98 $2,600 $31,160 $22,160 - $40,860
Kentucky $14.93 $2,590 $31,050 $22,180 - $40,900
Louisiana $13.37 $2,320 $27,810 $19,110 - $37,900
Maine $16.35 $2,840 $34,020 $26,310 - $43,680
Maryland $17.35 $3,010 $36,080 $26,090 - $48,680
Massachusetts $18.90 $3,280 $39,310 $29,250 - $50,690
Michigan $15.03 $2,610 $31,270 $23,830 - $39,330
Minnesota $18.78 $3,250 $39,050 $30,940 - $49,560
Mississippi $14.61 $2,530 $30,390 $21,320 - $39,290
Missouri $15.08 $2,610 $31,370 $22,220 - $39,880
Montana $15.95 $2,760 $33,170 $25,010 - $42,820
Nebraska $15.97 $2,770 $33,210 $23,500 - $45,570
Nevada $16.26 $2,820 $33,830 $25,180 - $44,170
New Hampshire $17.22 $2,990 $35,820 $27,830 - $45,050
New Jersey $17.20 $2,980 $35,770 $26,060 - $48,170
New Mexico $14.42 $2,500 $30,000 $22,480 - $38,580
New York $17.41 $3,020 $36,220 $26,430 - $48,730
North Carolina $15.44 $2,680 $32,110 $24,070 - $40,630
North Dakota $17.07 $2,960 $35,500 $27,370 - $45,250
Ohio $15.01 $2,600 $31,220 $23,010 - $39,690
Oklahoma $14.49 $2,510 $30,140 $21,950 - $38,960
Oregon $17.78 $3,080 $36,990 $26,380 - $48,700
Pennsylvania $15.38 $2,670 $31,980 $23,200 - $42,310
Rhode Island $16.88 $2,930 $35,110 $27,970 - $41,900
South Carolina $14.94 $2,590 $31,080 $22,920 - $39,680
South Dakota $14.37 $2,490 $29,890 $24,970 - $37,170
Tennessee $15.14 $2,620 $31,490 $22,540 - $40,540
Texas $14.85 $2,570 $30,880 $21,580 - $40,150
Utah $15.39 $2,670 $32,010 $25,130 - $39,880
Vermont $17.83 $3,090 $37,080 $28,090 - $47,820
Virginia $16.20 $2,810 $33,690 $24,250 - $46,250
Washington $19.09 $3,310 $39,700 $29,970 - $50,780
West Virginia $13.11 $2,270 $27,270 $20,650 - $35,360
Wisconsin $17.40 $3,020 $36,180 $26,440 - $45,610
Wyoming $15.83 $2,740 $32,930 $22,400 - $41,670
Guam $11.93 $2,070 $24,810 $18,630 - $36,110
Puerto Rico $9.59 $1,660 $19,950 $16,500 - $24,790
Virgin Islands $13.51 $2,340 $28,110 $22,110 - $35,130
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)



50 Metro Areas Where Medical Assistants Earn the Highest

Individual metro areas can also play an important role in determining your salary. For example, in the San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara area, you could earn as much as $43,720 per year, considerably higher than the national average. To give you a better idea we have listed some of the metros paying the highest MA salaries in the country.


Metro Hourly Wage Monthly Salary Annual Salary Annual Salary Range
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara $21.02 $3,640 $43,720 $28,290 - $61,910
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward $20.87 $3,620 $43,420 $27,420 - $62,180
Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue $20.29 $3,520 $42,200 $33,170 - $52,260
Rochester $20.05 $3,480 $41,710 $33,280 - $50,940
Santa Rosa $19.62 $3,400 $40,800 $30,790 - $53,670
Boston-Cambridge-Nashua $19.11 $3,310 $39,740 $30,090 - $51,140
Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington $19.00 $3,290 $39,530 $31,890 - $49,790
Worcester $18.75 $3,250 $39,010 $28,240 - $50,250
Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro $18.62 $3,230 $38,730 $27,890 - $49,650
Portland-South Portland $18.25 $3,160 $37,950 $29,900 - $48,670
Washington-Arlington-Alexandria $18.03 $3,130 $37,510 $26,160 - $51,090
Denver-Aurora-Lakewood $18.00 $3,120 $37,440 $28,400 - $48,470
San Diego-Carlsbad $17.83 $3,090 $37,100 $27,190 - $49,400
Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk $17.79 $3,080 $37,010 $27,850 - $47,640
New Haven $17.78 $3,080 $36,970 $25,690 - $51,670
Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura $17.67 $3,060 $36,740 $26,610 - $49,870
Madison $17.65 $3,060 $36,700 $27,510 - $47,940
New York-Newark-Jersey City $17.61 $3,050 $36,630 $26,440 - $49,040
Urban Honolulu $17.59 $3,050 $36,580 $25,690 - $48,610
Springfield $17.58 $3,050 $36,570 $27,900 - $47,560
Sacramento--Roseville--Arden-Arcade $17.54 $3,040 $36,470 $26,140 - $49,720
Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford $17.51 $3,040 $36,430 $26,600 - $50,180
Eugene $17.43 $3,020 $36,250 $24,950 - $48,110
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim $17.36 $3,010 $36,120 $24,400 - $50,730
Baltimore-Columbia-Towson $17.34 $3,010 $36,070 $26,510 - $47,530
Reno $17.10 $2,960 $35,570 $26,770 - $47,260
Chicago-Naperville-Elgin $16.96 $2,940 $35,290 $23,620 - $49,090
Spokane-Spokane Valley $16.86 $2,920 $35,070 $26,850 - $44,590
North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton $16.78 $2,910 $34,900 $26,810 - $44,260
Providence-Warwick $16.76 $2,910 $34,860 $27,590 - $41,960
Modesto $16.63 $2,880 $34,600 $26,760 - $43,900
Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Niagara Falls $16.59 $2,880 $34,520 $26,460 - $44,590
Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington $16.57 $2,870 $34,460 $24,290 - $47,420
Nashville-Davidson--Murfreesboro--Franklin $16.44 $2,850 $34,200 $25,990 - $46,420
Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis $16.42 $2,850 $34,160 $25,870 - $42,800
Stockton-Lodi $16.41 $2,840 $34,130 $25,090 - $44,400
Columbus $16.39 $2,840 $34,080 $25,940 - $45,800
Omaha-Council Bluffs $16.35 $2,840 $34,020 $24,980 - $46,120
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell $16.30 $2,830 $33,900 $25,370 - $44,190
Winston-Salem $16.30 $2,830 $33,900 $26,770 - $41,330
Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia $16.26 $2,820 $33,830 $24,770 - $45,310
Kansas City $16.23 $2,810 $33,760 $25,350 - $44,160
Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale $16.14 $2,800 $33,570 $25,450 - $44,160
Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise $16.08 $2,790 $33,440 $24,480 - $43,430
Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton $16.03 $2,780 $33,330 $25,590 - $42,640
Grand Rapids-Wyoming $15.98 $2,770 $33,240 $25,510 - $40,650
Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson $15.95 $2,760 $33,170 $26,540 - $40,220
Charleston-North Charleston $15.92 $2,760 $33,120 $24,820 - $43,420
Cincinnati $15.92 $2,760 $33,110 $25,170 - $41,780
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach $15.91 $2,760 $33,100 $22,910 - $43,460
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)



MA Salary Compared to Similar Allied Health Careers

Finally, if you are considering a few different allied health careers or support roles, it may be helpful to consider the average annual salary associated with similar roles. Dental hygienists can earn the most out of all of these career choices; their average annual salary stands out at $74,680. On the other hand, nursing assistants earn significantly less than MAs at just $28,540 a year, on average. Factors that drive the differences in salaries across medical support roles include the demand for people to fill positions, the stress of the particular career, the education required, and more.


Occupation Hourly Wage Monthly Salary Annual Salary Annual Salary Range
Dental Hygienist $35.91 $6,220 $74,680 $51,180 - $101,330
Occupational Therapy Assistant and Aide $26.66 $4,620 $55,450 $28,040 - $79,280
Physical Therapist Assistant and Aide $22.65 $3,930 $47,120 $22,240 - $75,410
Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurse $21.98 $3,810 $45,710 $32,970 - $61,030
Medical Records and Health Information Technician $20.59 $3,570 $42,820 $25,810 - $64,610
Dental Assistant $18.60 $3,220 $38,690 $26,170 - $53,130
Psychiatric Technician $17.34 $3,010 $36,070 $21,930 - $59,600
Phlebotomist $16.69 $2,890 $34,710 $24,250 - $48,030
Medical Assistant $16.15 $2,800 $33,580 $23,830 - $45,900
Pharmacy Technician $15.90 $2,760 $33,060 $22,000 - $46,980
Nursing Assistant $13.72 $2,380 $28,540 $20,680 - $38,630
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)