How Much Does a Medical Assistant Make an Hour?


Open up the newspaper classifieds and you'll almost always see job openings for medical assistants. Even in a struggling economy, medical assistants find steady work, stable pay and flexible hours. Not to be confused with physicians assistants, medical assistants perform clerical and administrative duties for physicians.


  • According to government statistics, the average medical assistant earned between $21,970 and $31,210 in 2006. The median salary in that same year was $26,290. Some medical assistants earn more than $36,000, while others earn below $18,000.


  • Most medical assistants--more than 60 percent--work in a doctor's office. Twelve percent work in hospitals and 11 percent work in health-care professional offices, such as for podiatrists or chiropractors.


  • Medical assistants must complete a one- or two-year medical-assistant program after completing high school. Medical-assistant programs are found at community colleges or vocational schools. One year of study usually results in a certificate, while two years culminates with an associate degree.


  • The U.S. government predicts that the job market for medical assistants will grow 35 percent between 2006 to 2016. This is much faster than other jobs, and makes medical-assistant positions attractive for those looking to work in health care.


  • Medical assistants must like working with people and be educated in the health-care industry. They must also be flexible enough to provide non-medical support services to doctors, such as filing, checking in patients and bookkeeping.

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