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Medical Assistant Career and Salary

Medical assistants are a vital piece of the health care puzzle, providing needed assistance to increasingly busy physicians while often serving as the patient's first encounter in a health care setting. According to the American Association of Medical Assistants, a certified medical assistant receives specialized training that makes him or her "uniquely qualified to 'speak the patient's language' and serve as the communication liaison between the busy physician and patients who are often afraid to ask questions."

Medical assistant career information

The duties medical assistants perform vary by practice and setting, but in general they perform basic patient care and administrative functions. These tasks often include taking patients' vital signs, record-keeping, preparing lab work, scheduling appointments and even, in some cases, giving injections or helping physicians to examine patients. In some practices, medical assistants may specialize in administrative work, adding billing and coding to their duties, while others handle predominantly clinical duties, such as sterilizing equipment, doing basic lab tests, removing stitches, drawing blood or providing instructions to patients.

Medical Assisting

Medical assisting career outlook

The future looks bright for medical assisting careers, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS.gov) forecasting much faster than average growth of 29 percent from 2012 to 2022. One of the largest segments of the U.S. population, baby boomers, are turning 65 at a rate of about 8,000 per day, according to AARP, and this burgeoning senior population will place increasing demand on the health care system. That, combined with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act expanding insurance coverage, along with rapidly advancing technology and treatment methods, may cause some physicians to hire more medical assistants.

The BLS indicates that, while certification in this field often is not required, certification tends to improve job prospects.

Medical assistant salary information

In May 2013, the national median hourly salary for medical assistants was $14.24, and the national median annual salary was $29,610, according to the BLS. Most medical assistants work full time. Some employers may prefer candidates with certification, so this may also be a factor in individual earnings.

CareerProjected Employment ChangeProjected 2012-2022 Growth
Medical Assistants13890023.5
Source: 2015 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.

Source: 2015 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.

Job statistics for medical assisting

In 2012, there were 560,800 medical assistants practicing in the U.S., according to the BLS. By 2022, it's expected that this number will jump to 723,700 as they spend more time interacting with patients while physicians manage acute symptoms or chronic disease.

There are nearly 250 medical assistant programs accredited by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools. Explore the list of schools provided here to help you decide if attending medical assisting program might be a good step for you.

Sources:

"Boomers at 65: Celebrating a Milestone Birthday," AARP, http://www.aarp.org/personal-growth/transitions/boomers_65/

CAAHEP and ABHES Accredited Programs, American Association of Medical Assistants, http://www.aama-ntl.org/medical-assisting/caahep-abhes-programs#.U4ZZfCiHPJw

Medical Assistants, Occupational Employment and Wages, Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2013, http://www.bls.gov/current/oes319092.htm

Medical Assistants, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Bureau of Labor Statistics, January 8, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/medical-assistants.htm

"New Roles for the Certified Medical Assistant to Enhance Quality and Effectiveness of Care," Donald A. Balasa, Medical Practice Management, March/April 2008. http://www.aama-ntl.org/news/articles-about-profession#.U4ZQryiHPJw

Medical Assistant Schools
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Prepare for an exciting new career at the Milan Institute.

Programs : Medical Assisting, Administrative Medical Assistant, Dental Assistant, and more.

The Secret to Getting Ahead is Getting Started

Programs : Medical Specialties (AOS), Respiratory Therapy (AS), and more.

San Joaquin Valley College - A Private Junior College.

Programs : Certificate - Medical Assistant, Degree - Medical Assistant, Degree - Medical Office, and more.

Choosing a school and a new career path can be a very overwhelming process.

Programs : Medical Assistant, Medical Billing and Coding, Licensed Vocational Nurse, and more.

You can get started on a new career with Institute of Technology. For more information about our graduation rates, the median debt of students who completed the program, and other important information, please visit our website at www.iot.edu/disclosure

Programs : Professional Medical Assistant, Medical Billing and Office Administration, and more.

Since 1996, Southern California Health Institute has been dedicated and committed to helping students achieve their dreams by providing an exceptional education that enables them to become skilled and successful manual therapists.

Programs : Medical Assistant Program , Medical Billing and Coding Specialist Program, Physical Therapy Aide/Sports Rehab Program, and more.

American Career College (ACC) offers hands-on training that will prepare students for careers in the healthcare industry at three campuses in Los Angeles, Ontario, and Orange County, California.

Programs : Medical Assistant, Pharmacy Technician, Dental Assisting, and more.

Unitek College™ is a privately held vocational school dedicated to helping you gain the skills needed to advance your career or begin a brand new career. 

Programs : Medical Assisting , Vocational Nursing, and more.

For over 35 years, Keiser University has provided student-centered, quality career education. Keiser University Online offers degree programs online to prepare students for in-demand professions.

Programs : Associate of Science in Medical Assisting Science, Associate of Science in Medical Administrative Billing and Coding, and more.

About Brightwood College Brightwood College offers accelerated programs that combine flexible schedules and professional instruction to create a rewarding learning experience for individuals focused on gaining the skills for specific careers. Brightwood College is owned and operated by Education Corporation of America.

Programs : Medical Assistant , Medical Assistant , Medical Office Specialist, and more.