Medical Assistant Salary

Medical assistants are experiencing some of the fastest job growth in the market right now. According to, the career is expected to grow 31% through 2020. If you happened to follow that link, you may think you already have the answer to the expected income for those entering the field, but read on to learn more about what you can expect to earn in the industry, and what options you have to customize your salary expectations.

Three Paths, Three Salaries

General medical assistants are the most common of those working in the career path, but there is more to assisting than you may think. Clinical and administrative medical assisting is a growing specialization that focuses more on their respective areas of assisting. While those who enter the industry as a general medical assistant earn the highest income ($43,000 a year as of the time of this writing according to, the two specializations offer shorter time requirements in school and still offer significant incomes. Clinical medical assistants can expect to earn $42,000 a year and administrative medical assistants can expect an income of about $38,000 a year according to

Ways to Increase your Income Potential

While the starting salaries for these positions are all fantastic, you can do things to ensure that you earn the highest salary possible as a medical assistant, no matter what your specialization may be. Experience and education are the two key factors that will drive up your income, and while employer and location are very important, they have a slightly lesser impact. Finding a way to earn experience while you are working on your education is easily the best way to ensure that you enter the field with the best skills possible, so look to online degree plans to ensure you can balance both.

Online programs allow you to learn at your own pace for the most part. While you do still have to meet certain deadlines, most of your studies are left to you to work on when you have a chance. This allows you to take an entry level position with a potential employer and start to work on gaining experience as you continue your education. You only need a computer with the ability to connect to the internet and run a word processor to succeed online.


The final way to really make a big impact on your future is to look into certification or registration. While the two designations are viewed the same in the industry, understanding the slight differences is important. In all honesty, the differences really come down to the exam you take and who provides the designation. You can earn a certified medical assistant award from the American Association of Medical Assistants. The American Registry of Medical Assistants provides the registered medical assistant designation. While the career and income benefits will be similar regardless of the designation you pursue, speak with local employers to see if they have a preference.

Certification or registration will require some extra work and also put you in a position that you will need to work on continuing education units. The can come once a month, or once every five years during recertification, so explore your options to find what makes the most sense for your personal goals and the requirements of employers in your area. While this may seem like a great deal of extra work, keep in mind that this extra work leads to significant benefits throughout your career.

Closing Thoughts

With an understanding of your income potential and ways to ensure you gain the most from your experiences, it is key to remember that no path is perfect for every individual. Research will be key to find what works best for you personally and there is a great deal to be said about personality. If you have no “bedside” manner as a clinical medical assistant, you are less likely to move up in your role compared to those that work well with patients. If you are more concerned about simply getting the job done, and less willing to speak with patients and put them at ease, you will be more successful in an administrative role. Choosing the right place for you will be key to growing in your field, so don’t base your choices off of income, base it off of what will make the most sense for you. If you do that, you will find that earning a higher income will be much easier.