If you want to enter the industry of healthcare without having to attend years of schooling, a career in medical assistance might be the best fit for you.
The best part about pursuing a career in medical assistance is that you do not require a degree to become one.
Yes, you read that right.
The only requirement needed to become a medical assistant is to complete your high school diploma or a GED, prior to gaining some form of medical assistant training.
A Medical Assistant is a healthcare worker that provides support services to physicians, nurses, and other healthcare professionals. Their duties generally entail both clinical and administrative tasks, ranging from scheduling appointments to assisting physicians with bedside procedures.
So the next thing you might be wondering is: How much do they get paid?
Let us read further to know the salary figures of medical assistants nationally, and in Pennsylvania, and compare these figures with salaries earned in other states and cities.
So, how much does a medical assistant make in Pennsylvania annually?
The U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics (BLS) reports that the average annual wage of a medical assistant in Pennsylvania is $38,950 or $18.73 per hour.
Source: U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics
The average mean annual salary of medical assistants, as reported by the BLS, is $37,190, which makes the salary earned in Pennsylvania slightly higher than the average.
Medical Assistant Job Outlook & Salary in Pennsylvania
According to the BLS, the expected job growth for medical assistants, in general, looks fairly positive, with a 16% increase in job growth expected by the year 2031.
Also see: Medical Assistant Job Outlook
In addition, Pennsylvania also is stated as one of the top 10 employment-providing states for medical assistants. This on top of the higher-than-average salary that medical assistants earn here, makes Pennsylvania an ideal state to work in as a medical assistant.
Let us read further to see how these salary figures in Pennsylvania compare to the salaries earned by medical assistants in other states and professionals, and how you can earn a higher salary as a medical assistant in Pennsylvania.
Read more on: Certified Medical Assistant Salary
Medical Assistant Salary in Pennsylvania as Compared to Other States
All industries have a variation in salaries offered to their employees, in terms of their experience, skills, and knowledge.
One other such influencing factor for the variation in pay is the job location. Let us take a look at how these figures differ for each state.
Let us first take a look at states that offer a higher salary for medical assistants than Pennsylvania:
- Washington- $22.82 hourly or $47,460 annually
- Minnesota- $22.56 hourly or $46,920 annually
- Massachusetts- $22.06 hourly or $45,880 annually
- Oregon- $21.97 hourly or $45,710 annually
- New York- $20.24 hourly or $42,100 annually
If you’re considering moving to any of the above-mentioned states after looking at the difference in salaries offered, you should also keep in mind the general cost of living in that state.
For example, if you decide to move to New York as it has one of the highest salaries offered for medical assistants, you must also bear in mind that it is one of the most expensive states to live in.
Additionally, if you decide to move, you will also need to bear the additional cost of moving and other expenses.
Now, let us take a look at states that offer a lower salary for medical assistants as compared to Pennsylvania:
- Louisiana- $14.17 hourly or $29,470 annually
- Alabama- $14.38 hourly or $29,920 annually
- Kentucky- $16.06 hourly or $33,410 annually
- Mississippi- $14.31 hourly or $29,760 annually
- Arkansas- $14.41 hourly or $29,970 annually
As also mentioned earlier, Pennsylvania has one of the highest employment levels for medical assistants, which will make finding a job easier for you here.
Additionally, if you develop additional skills, you might also be offered a higher-than-average salary.
Medical Assistant Salaries in Different States Within Pennsylvania
Medical Assistant salaries also differ within each city in Pennsylvania.
Let us take a look at how:
- Philadelphia – $20.25 per hour or $46,846 annually
- Pittsburgh – $20.64 per hour or $47,748 annually
- Harrisburg – $18.47 per hour or $42,743 annually
- Lancaster – $17.56 per hour or $40,638 annually
- Scranton – $16.38 per hour or $37,899 annually
- West Chester – $18.97 per hour or $43,899 annually
- Allentown – $24.28 per hour or $56,182 annually
- Bethlehem – $23.37 per hour or $54,063 annually
- Erie – $16.02 per hour or $37,077 annually
An important point to be noted is that these figures have been pulled from various job board sites, such as indeed.com since there was no government data available for this section.
Hence, the above-stated figures are subject to change.
Do Certified Medical Assistants Make More Than Uncertified in Pennsylvania?
Even though Pennsylvania does not require medical assistants to be certified or licensed, employers highly prefer candidates who are certified. This is because obtaining a certification shows your determination for the field, in addition to implying that you have the relevant knowledge and skills required for a medical assistant.
Also see: Medical Assistant License
Certified medical assistants are also known to earn 10% higher than uncertified ones. Obtaining a certification also gives you more opportunities to grow as a medical assistant and also helps you get promoted earlier.
Completing your medical assistant training via an online certification program is highly recommended since it helps you get certified as a medical assistant faster. You can become a medical assistant and get certified in as little as 6 months.
Once you complete your medical assistant program, you can opt for any of the three legitimate certification exams, namely, the CCMA, RMA, and CMA certifications.
Medical Assistant Salary in Pennsylvania vs Other Professions
The field of medical assistance is considered to be a stepping stone into the field of healthcare.
Now let us read further and look at a comparison between a medical assistant’s salary and the salaries offered by other professions.
First, let’s compare the salaries of medical assistants to that of professions that have the same educational requirements:
- Cashiers- $29,410
- Personal Care Helpers or Home Health Professionals- $32,770
- Bank Tellers- $39,560
- Medical Assistants- $40,010
- Medical Technicians (Emergency)- $41,120
You should also keep in mind that the increasing demand and growth in employment of medical assistants is significantly higher than in other professions, and hence pursuing a career in this field can be highly rewarding as you grow further.
Let’s also compare the salaries of medical assistants to that of professions that require advanced degrees and more years of schooling:
- Medical Assistants- $40,010
- Registered nurses- $88,530
- Physician Assistant- $141,790
- Medicine Physician- $223,220
- Surgeon- $242,330
While core healthcare professionals are evidently paid significantly higher salaries than medical assistants, you should note that medical assisting can be your headstart in the field of healthcare.
Additionally, all these other professions require years of schooling and training in advanced degrees, as compared to medical assistants that only require to be certified.
A career in medical assistance allows you to further grow as a healthcare worker, where you can evolve your job profile and earn a degree after gaining relevant experience to become a physician, registered nurse, or other healthcare professional.
How Can You Get a Better Salary as a Medical Assistant in Pennsylvania?
When compared to other professions, medical assistants are paid decently even when they are just starting out.
However, there are ways in which you can earn much more as a medical assistant who is just starting out. This is possible if you master additional relevant medical assistant skills or gain extra certifications, that will make you a valuable potential employee.
Some skills that you can work on and incorporate in your CV to become a valued medical assistant are:
Getting certified as a medical assistant-
This is one of the most important aspects of becoming a medical assistant, in addition to being the minimum prerequisite that employers look for in potential candidates.
Medical assistants working under cardiologists can be required to complete a course on EKG, which will help them assist the physician in reading the patient’s heart rhythm to detect any abnormalities.
Also read: Where Can Medical Assistants Work?
Drawing blood is one of the most important and common medical assistant job duties. Completing a course in phlebotomy will tell employers that you are skilled at drawing blood efficiently.
Staying updated on recent technologies and updates-
The field of healthcare is an ever-evolving one. In order to become a valued employee and medical assistant, you will need to stay updated with any recent technologies or procedures being used in your practice.
Medical billing or coding course-
One of the major aspects of a medical assistant’s job also includes administrative tasks, and you can take up medical billing to become more efficient.
See more: CCMA vs CMAA
Learning a second language-
Pennsylvania is a diverse state, with English, Spanish, and German speakers, among others. You can take up a second language to communicate better with patients coming in from different backgrounds and ethnicities.
Also see: How to Become a Medical Assistant
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