Becoming a Medical Assistant: Career Outlook and Salary Expectations

Emerging as one of the best careers to take on, medical assistance has tremendous value. It has everything you would want in a career: an affordable learning process to get into the career, an attractive salary, a chance to help others, fulfill your sense of being, and more.

Here, you can find out a lot more about medical assistants, the steps you need to take to become one, and what you can expect from it as a career.

What a medical assistant does

Putting it mildly, a medical assistant does a lot! They work closely with other healthcare professionals to attend to the medical needs of patients, as well as carry out administrative duties. 

They are in demand to work at hospitals or private clinics. If you work in a small clinic, you will most likely be delegated both medical and administrative work. The larger the facility you work for, the more likely you are to attend more to one or the other, since the workload will be too much. You’ll be in charge of several different tasks, from greeting patients to providing them with direct medical care.

On the medical side, you’ll be responsible for gathering patient history, and providing information and instructions concerning their treatments. You will help the doctor by preparing instruments and rooms and will be attending many procedures alongside a physician. Depending on your certification and training, you will be allowed to carry out some procedures on your own, like handling x-rays.

On the administrative side, you may be required to keep records, manage the front desk, schedule appointments, answer questions of patients, attend to insurance claims, and more. In essence, you will become an indispensable member of a healthcare facility that provides exceptional care to their patients.


National certification isn’t a requirement across the board for medical assistants. Each state has its own set of regulations. California, for instance, requires medical assistants to undergo training before they can administer medication by “intramuscular, subcutaneous, and intradermal injections or perform venipuncture or skin punctures.”

If you’re aiming to become a medical assistant in North Carolina, you don’t need to enroll in a training program to practice, yet the laws regarding the types of tasks you can do will differ. On the other hand, in Montana, you wouldn’t be permitted to perform any invasive procedures, unless it’s done under the direct supervision of a physician, or on-site. 

Because the laws will differ from state to state and define the types of medical tasks you are allowed and not allowed to undertake, many medical assistants find that holding a national credential certificate increases their career options because the best job opportunities will be open to Certified Medical Assistants (CMA).  

You can obtain a certificate, diploma, or associate’s degree, which may typically take between 10 months and 2 years of study and training. Different junior colleges, vocational-technical schools, traditional campus-based colleges, and online universities will offer various programs; you can choose one in the state you’re most likely to work in.

When you learn more about the career outlook and projected salary, you will realize that medical assistance truly has exceptional benefits for a relatively short time of study.

Career outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics shines a very healthy light on the field of medical assisting. The projected employment is expected to grow by 23% between the years 2018 to 2028. As this field of healthcare advances, so does the age of baby boomers, which accounts for part of the reason why this career is so fast-growing and in demand. 

Salary expectations

As the demand increases, so do the salaries. Between 2002 and 2004, a medical assistant would earn an average of $25,000 a year. Fast forward to 2019, and the median annual pay is $33,610. This does not include bonuses or other cash incentives, which will provide you with additional income. Most medical assistants receive their pay based on wages. 

This hourly wage earned by medical assistants is determined by their level of experience and certification. Generally, those who have 0-2 years of experience can earn $13 per hour, but that increases to more than $17 an hour for those with 16 years of experience or more. 

This booming career can be your path to having a successful job. The best medical assistants also have personal traits that help them accelerate in their work, such as being empathetic and compassionate, paying close attention to detail, and possess analytical skills for the administrative side of the work. If helping others is your main goal in life, and you’re up to the challenge of a demanding field, this could be the career you’re meant to have.