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Medical Assistant

Average Medical Assistant Salary Nationwide

Hourly salary range
By States
Range: $16.51/hr - $23.18/hr
Average Salary: $19.84/hr

Overview and Basic Information


Medical assistants perform routine administrative and clinical tasks to keep doctors’ offices, hospitals and clinics running smoothly. Their duties vary from office to office, depending on the location and size of the practice and the practitioner’s specialty. When you look at their list of duties, it’s easy to see how medical assisting can be considered the jack-of-all-trades in the world of medicine.

Administrative duties include:

  • Answering telephones

  • Greeting patients

  • Updating and filing medical records

  • Filling out insurance forms

  • Handling correspondence

  • Scheduling appointments

  • Arranging for hospital admission and laboratory services

  • Handling billing and bookkeeping

  • Purchasing and maintaining supplies and equipment

Clinical duties depend on the state you work in, but they can include:

  • Taking medical histories and recording vital signs

  • Explaining treatment procedures to patients

  • Preparing patients for examination

  • Assisting the physician during the examination

  • Collecting and preparing lab specimens

  • Performing basic laboratory tests

  • Sterilizing medical equipment

  • Arranging exam room instruments

Medical assistants should not be confused with physician assistants. A PA can actually examine, diagnose and treat patients under the direct supervision of a doctor.

Example medical assistant job description

Our busy physician’s practice is looking for a medical assistant who will assist with administrative and clinical duties at our facility. The successful candidate will gather patient records and test results, coordinate daily administrative tasks, prepare treatment rooms for examinations and assist our practitioners during medical procedures.

You must be certified through a medical assistant program and have at least two years of prior experience in a medical setting. Having a basic understanding of patient care and medical terminology will be a huge advantage.

Typical duties include:

  • Gathering and recording patient medical histories, vitals, test results and other information for medical records.

  • Coordinating daily administrative activities, including scheduling, patient check-in and check-out and medical record maintenance.

  • Preparing exam rooms and assisting practitioners with medical procedures

  • Delivering compassionate care to patients

  • Ensuring confidentiality and compliance with all health care regulations, including HIPAA


  • Certification from a medical assistant program

  • At least two years experience in a medical setting

  • High school diploma or equivalent

  • Basic understanding of patient care, medical terminology, coding procedures, reference tools and clinical pharmacology

  • Excellent interpersonal and organizational skills

  • Familiarity with electronic medical health record (EMHR) systems

Common questions about medical assistant jobs

How much does a medical assistant make?

The average medical assistant makes about $16 an hour but pay will vary by experience and location. Most medical assistants work full-time. Some work evenings, weekends or holidays to cover shifts in hospitals, which are always open.

What are the education requirements?

There typically aren’t formal education requirements for becoming a medical assistant in most states. But some employers may prefer to hire assistants who have college degrees.

Medical assistant programs are available at community colleges, vocational schools, technical schools and universities. They take about a year to complete and you’ll get a certification. Some community colleges offer two-year programs where you’ll get an associate’s degree. All programs include lessons in anatomy and medical terminology.

Career paths for medical assistants

As you gain experience as a medical assistant, you can specialize in a certain area of practice and move into a leadership role. With additional education, you can advance into other healthcare occupations such as registered nurse, physician assistant or nurse practitioner.

 The future of medical assistants

The job outlook for medical assistants is strong. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), overall job opportunities are predicted to rise 29% from 2016-26… way faster than the average for all occupations. The large and aging Baby Boomer population is driving the demand for more medical care. Because of the demand, physicians will hire more assistants to perform routine administrative and clinical duties, enabling them to see more patients. Search for medical assistant jobs on Snag.

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