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Medical Assistant Career and Salary

Article Sources

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

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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 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 Number of New JobsProjected Job Growth Rate
Medical Assistants138,90023.5
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.

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Certificate - Medical Assistant
  • Many programs require externships, allowing students to gain real-world experience.
  • Approved A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) since 1984.
  • Offers 22 accelerated, career-focused program options including business administration, medical assisting, and more.
  • Regionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
  • 11 campuses across California, with an online division as well.
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Medical Assistant
Brightwood College , Bakersfield
  • Offers accelerated programs w/ flexible schedules & professional instruction
  • Multiple accredited campuses across 9 states including CA, TX, NV, & PA
  • 10 + programs including Practical Nursing, Dental and Medical Assisting
  • Provides professional development training & career planning resources
  • Military Student Center (MSC) is committed to the success of military students
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Certificate - Medical Administrative Assistant
  • For more than 45 years, PMI has been dedicated to quality healthcare education
  • 17 campuses across 9 states including Arizona, California, Texas, Colorado & more
  • Accredited by the ABHES with multiple accreditations per specific program
  • Certificates, associates, and bachelor’s programs in leading healthcare fields
  • PMI offers financial aid to students who qualify for assistance
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Medical Specialties (AOS)

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Medical Assistant (10-Month Diploma Program)
UEI College , Fresno
  • Dedicated to providing  career training since 1975.
  • Has 13 campus locations in Southern California and a campus in Morrow, GA.
  • Provides flexible class times including weekends.
  • Offers curriculum that ranges from 8 month diploma programs to 16-month Associate of Applied Science degree programs.
  • Has admissions professionals available to help students decide which diploma or degree program they should pursue.
  • Gives job placement assistance strengthened by relationships with local employers.
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  • Accredited
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Certificate - Medical Assistant
  • Offers a program that translates work and military experience into college credit, transfers in credit from other college programs, and offers the flexibility of day, evening and online coursework.
  • Provides in-person tutoring, IT support, access to library resources, and job placement assistant for graduates.
  • Features a new blended-learning curriculum, which involves a mix of campus and online courses.
  • Has 11 campuses across Southern California, Washington, and Alaska, and online courses with campus support. 
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  • Accredited
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  • Accelerated Programs
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Medical Assistant
Mayfield College , Cathedral City
  • A Better Business Bureau (BBB) Accredited Business, with an A+ rating.
  • Computer Support Technician program is based on guidelines set by the Computer Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) and Microsoft.
  • Offers free student services, including tutoring, campus internet access, career placement, and a student lounge.
  • Accredited by the Council on Occupational Education (COE).
  • 2 locations in Cathedral City and Twentynine Palms, California.
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  • Flexible Scheduling
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Medical Assisting
  • Offers career programs in accounting, cosmetology, massage therapy, physical fitness training, and more.
  • Provides hands-on training led by instructors who have relevant, on-the-job experience.
  • Each campus features a public salon and spa for student practice.
  • Campuses are accredited by the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training (ACCET) and Council on Occupational Education (COE).
  • 11 campuses across California, Texas, Nevada and Idaho, as well as 8 additional Milan Institute of Cosmetology campuses.
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  • Flexible Scheduling
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Doctor of Nursing Practice with an Emphasis in Educational Leadership
  • There's still time to apply to Grand Canyon University and pursue your education. Learn more today!
  • Study on your schedule - GCU offers many programs 100% online to fit your busy lifestyle.
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Nursing (RN to BSN)
  • Current RNs can choose from RN to BSN or RN to MSN online programs
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  • Online Courses
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