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Medical assistants are medical professionals who work mostly in clinics or medical offices to help doctors or other medical personnel. They help with administrative and clinical tasks like gathering a patient’s personal and medical history, setting up appointments, fielding phone calls, and even assessing a patient’s vital signs. Due to the rising older population, the increase in doctors’ offices, and the rise in outpatient care facilities, medical assisting is one of the professions with the fastest growth potential. However, the typical medical assistant wage is just 75% of the average salary for all professions in the U.S., despite their importance to the American healthcare system. Hence we discuss factors that can affect a medical assistant salary; per hour or annually using California and Texas as case studies.


One of the most in-demand jobs in the US right now is a medical assistant. Medical assistant employment is expected to grow by 29% between 2016 and 2026, which is far greater than the median growth rate for all professions, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Occupational Outlook Handbook.

In hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare settings, medical assistants generally perform clinical and administrative duties. The need for medical assistants is greater than ever because of the U.S. healthcare system’s ongoing expansion. The BLS estimates that there are currently 673,660 persons working as medical assistants.

In the meantime, the median annual salary for medical assistants in the United States is $34,540, which is much less than the median wage for all jobs in the United States of $51,960. However, medical assistant salaries vary by state, so it’s important to research which areas offer the best and worst income. But before we dive into that, who is a medical assistant and what do they do?

Who is a Medical Assistant?

A medical assistant is an allied health specialist who supports the work of doctors, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and other health professionals, typically in a clinic setting. An authorized curriculum can lead to certification for medical assistants. In a medical facility, medical assistants are responsible for handling the day-to-day operations.

A “medical assistant” is a broad category that includes comparable job titles like “medical office assistant,” “clinical assistant,” “assistant medical officer,” and “ophthalmic assistant,” and can be certified or registered. However, one should not confuse physician assistants, who are certified professionals educated to practice medicine and carry out surgical procedures alongside a physician with this profession.

What Does a Medical  Do?

A medical assistant is a type of caregiver who works mostly in healthcare settings like hospitals and doctor’s offices. They help with both administrative and clinical tasks, such as obtaining patients’ histories and identifying information, setting up appointments, fielding phone calls, and taking vital signs. The aging of the population combined with the proliferation of medical clinics and hospitals has made medical assisting one of the fastest-growing professions.

A medical assistant’s duties can change depending on the exact position. Truth is, every day can be very varied, which is one of the reasons why so many people enjoy this line of work. However, practically all medical assistant jobs will need to do the following duties:

  • Meeting and greeting patients, gathering medical history, and completing paperwork 
  • Providing patients with information on particular diets, medications, and treatment methods
  • Answering the phone, completing health insurance forms, managing communications, and other associated bookkeeping duties
  • Appointment scheduling, coordinating hospital admittance or laboratory services
  • Getting patients ready for examination and then helping the doctor in performing those examinations.

How Much Does a Medical Assistant Make in the United States?

As of May 1, 2023, the average medical assistant income in the US is $39,003, although the normal salary range is $35,955 to $45,490. Generally, salary ranges can vary significantly depending on various crucial aspects, including schooling, credentials, supplementary talents, and the length of time you’ve been working in a given field.

Regardless, below are the top 10 states with the highest average medical assistant salaries with Alaska having the highest average annual salary at $45,490. Note, these are average pay, not total pay;

  • Alaska: $45,490
  • Washington: $41,340
  • Minnesota: $40,320
  • Massachusetts: $40,270
  • Connecticut: $38,350
  • Oregon: $38,260
  • California: $38,250
  • Hawaii: $38,040
  • Vermont: $37,740
  • New York: $37,560

What Is the Highest Paid Medical Assistant Job?

Generally, in the United States, a medical assistant can expect an annual salary of about $37,190. But because of the disparity in jobs and duties, medical assistant salaries also vary. Below are for instance some of the highest-paying medical assistant jobs;

  • Podiatry Medical Assistant – $65,000 per year
  • Ophthalmology Medical Assistant – $46,377 per year
  • Fertility Medical Assistant – $45,387 per year 
  • Cardiology Medical Assistant – $41,600 per year
  • Dermatology Medical Assistant – $37,525 per year

Medical Assistant Salary California

For those interested in becoming medical assistants, California may be the promised land. The typical yearly salary for a medical assistant in the state is $44,780, as reported by the BLS of the United States. With the national median being $38,270, this is nevertheless a modest increase.

One immediately obvious reason for the higher earnings provided to medical assistants in California is the state’s high cost of living. According to the World Population Review, California is the third most costly in the United States when adjusted for housing and transportation costs, with a cost of living index of 151.7. Only the District of Columbia and Hawaii are ranked higher. The Texas cost of living index is 91.5 while the Ohio index is 90.8.

However, the increased pay for medical assistants in California is due to factors beyond the state’s high cost of living. Medical assistants in California are often required to have not only extensive experience but also certification from an accredited training program. Medical assistants in California typically earn higher incomes than their counterparts in other states due to higher levels of education, training, and certification. In fact, they set the standard for professional growth across the country.

How much exactly is a medical assistant salary in California? A medical assistant in California has the opportunity to earn a median annual salary of $44,780, or $21.53 per hour.

Despite having the third-highest cost of living in the United States, medical assistants in California earn significantly more than the national average of $37,190.

Medical Assistant Salary Texas

A medical assistant in Texas as of May 2023, can expect to earn a median yearly salary of $26,946. For convenience, that comes out to about $12.96 per hour using a basic wage calculator. This amounts to $518 each week or $2,245 per month.

While a medical Assistant salary in Texas ranges from $17,589 to $41,774 per year, the median salary falls somewhere between $25,503 (25th percentile) and $32,539 (75th percentile), with the highest earners (90th percentile) getting $36,496 per year in Texas.

However, the wide variation in the average compensation for medical assistants (up to $7,036) implies that there may be numerous potential for wage increases and promotions based on experience, region, and skill level.

According to recent job posting activity on ZipRecruiter, there aren’t many employers hiring right now, making Texas’ medical assistant job market somewhat quiet. Hence, Texas comes at the number 49th in the ranking for highest-paying medical assistant salary states out of all 50.

Medical Assistant Salary Per Hour

As of 2023, a typical medical assistant can expect to make an average salary of $17.75 per hour across the country. Compared to the median hourly wage across all occupations in the United States, this represents a 34% decrease. (To get this amount, divide the average annual wage for all jobs, $56,310, by 2,087, the average number of hours worked in a year in the United States, as reported by the Office of Personnel Management.) However, this salary threshold is often reached by medical assistants around the fifth year of employment. This hourly rate is 37% higher than the average compensation for a new medical assistant but 27% lower than the average salary for a medical assistant with 20 years of experience or more.

Medical assistants make almost twice as much money per hour as the current federal minimum wage of $7.25. The federal minimum wage will immediately increase to $9.50 an hour if the Raise the Wage Act of 2021, which is presently before Congress, is passed, and the average income for medical assistants will increase to 1.86 times the federal minimum wage.

Generally, the pay rate for medical assistants is low when compared to other occupations in the healthcare industry. This, however, probably has a lot to do with how easy it is to enter the field: Medical assistants have few formal educational requirements, and studies indicate a strong relationship between education and income potential. Examine the educational prerequisites for registered nurses as a point of comparison as they share the most professional obligations with medical assistants. Although obtaining an associate degree in nursing still qualifies one to become a registered nurse in two years, the vast majority of companies now favor nurses who have completed four-year programs.

How Much Does a Medical Assistant Make in Washington DC?

As of May 1, 2023, the average medical assistant pays in Washington, DC is $43,419. However, the range generally ranges from $40,025 to $46,881. Salary ranges can vary significantly depending on a variety of crucial aspects, including education, credentials, supplementary talents, and the length of time you’ve been working in a given field.

How Much Does Mas Make in Washington?

As of May 1st, 2023, the average medical assistant salary in Washington is $41,847, with a typical compensation range of $38,576 to $45,184. Salary ranges might, however, vary significantly. This depends on the city and a number of other crucial aspects, such as education, certifications, supplementary talents, and the length of working experience in the field.

How Much Does a Medical Assistant Make in Maryland?

As of May 1, 2023, Maryland’s medical assistant salary average is $40,215, although the normal range is between $37,071 and $43,422. Salary ranges might vary significantly based on the city and a number of other crucial aspects, such as degrees, certifications, supplementary talents, and the length of time you’ve worked in a given field.

What Are the Top 10 Highest Paying Cities for Medical Assistant Jobs in Maryland?

  • Bethesda, MD: $19.61 per hour
  • Silver Spring, MD: $18.83 per hour
  • Rockville, MD: $18.83 per hour
  • Baltimore, MD: $18.33 per hour
  • Columbia, MD: $17.96 per hour
  • Towson, MD: $17.92 per hour
  • Bel Air, MD: $17.66 per hour
  • Frederick, MD: $17.13 per hour
  • Hagerstown, MD: $16.58 per hour

Bottom Line

A medical assistant works under the supervision of a doctor to aid in the diagnosis and care of patients. They conduct patient interviews, take vital signs (such as temperature, blood pressure, weight, and height), and enter the data into the patient’s medical file. Being a medical assistant involves setting up examination rooms for patients. However, a high school diploma is required for the medical assistant position and usually answers a manager or supervisor. While you may also require a state-issued health care assistant credential, the primary qualification for this role is a relevant certification or license.

With the high demand for this profession and the average medical assistant salary of $39,003, while the normal salary range is $35,955 to $45,490, this sure looks like a prospecting field one can consider in 2023.


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