Obtaining an online medical assistant certification (CCMA) is an excellent way for pre-health students to gain valuable hands-on patient experience in a range of clinical settings. This medical certification can be instrumental in setting yourself apart from thousands of other applicants when you apply for medical or PA school.
There’s another practical reason to become a certified medical assistant. These jobs pay a high hourly rate, offer flexible hours, and are an ideal way for students to save money for post-graduate medical programs while working their way through an undergraduate education. So, how much does a certified medical assistant make? Read on to find out!
How Much Do Medical Assistants Make?
Many factors affect how much medical assistants make, including location, the type of medical environment, and whether you’re working on a full-time or hourly basis. To keep it simple, let’s focus on hourly work, as most currently enrolled college students will be working part-time.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2022, there were approximately 752,460 individuals employed as medical assistants throughout the United States. Their duties ranged from scheduling appointments, billing, coding, and maintaining medical records to drawing blood, administering medications, and recording vital signs and medical histories.
The national average pay for a medical assistant is $19.57 per hour. This is true across all medical settings in all states.
Hourly Rate By Facility Type
How much you can earn also depends on the setting you work in. Outpatient care centers pay the highest average hourly wage, around $22.40 per hour. The lowest hourly wages come from the offices of other health practitioners (not physicians), where the average rate is just $17.14 per hour.
Rounding out the middle are physicians’ offices, at a rate of $19.16, hospitals, at $20.36 per hour, and employment services facilities, at $21.36 per hour.
Deciding where to work shouldn’t just be based on salary, but it should be a consideration. Also, consider what type of environment you’d like to work in and what kinds of patients and clients you’d most like to interact with.
Hourly Rate By Location
When trying to answer, “How much does a medical assistant make an hour? ” You'll need to also consider your location and the cost of living in that location. Just because one metropolitan area pays higher than another doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be able to live more comfortably.
Much of the West Coast and New England states tend to pay slightly higher than the national average. For example, the average hourly rate for medical assistants in the state of Washington is $24.21, more than $4.00 above the national average. Across the country, in Massachusetts, medical assistants make an average of $22.18 an hour, still well above the national average. Other high-paying states include California, Oregon, Alaska, Minnesota, and most of the Northeast.
Lower-paying medical assistant jobs tend to be found in the South, where the minimum wage is lower and the cost of living is more affordable. The lowest-paying state for hourly medical assistant positions is West Virginia, with an average salary of $15.53 per hour. Alabama is a close second, with a rate of $15.62 per hour. This isn’t surprising due to the comparatively lower costs of living in these areas, and students may actually be able to save more money here, depending on their individual circumstances.
Other Factors to Consider
With the cost of medical school on the rise, students can expect a hefty price tag on their medical education. According to a report by Forbes Magazine, in 2021, four years of medical school averaged between $255,000 and $337,000 for the class of 2020. Furthermore, over 80% of medical students left school with over $100,000 in student loan debt.
This is not to say that all students are expected to pay this amount out of pocket. In addition to loans, there are merit scholarships, grants, and funds available from private donors. However, the high financial cost means it’s never too early to save for medical school.
Save Money & Time With an Online CCMA from ACT
Becoming CCMA certified is an investment in your future, which can also help you earn money as you work toward your dream medical career. At ACT, we make it simple for pre-med students like you to earn their CCMA online from the comfort of home in as little as 8-12 weeks and at a fraction of the cost of other programs. Enroll with ACT today to start saving for your dream career!