Thursday, June 30, 2011

Medical Assistants Have to Make a Living

The year 2010 has come and gone and 2011 is in full swing. We saw it coming and the US Department of Labor's predictions proved to be right: the health care industry is booming and medical assistants are once again needed more than ever. If you check the wanted ads in your local newspaper, or on major job sites such as Indeed or, you will find that jobs for medical assistants open and close daily just about everywhere.

Where Do Medical Assistants Work?
Metropolitan areas with the highest employment level for medical assistants:
Metropolitan areaEmployment(1)Employment per thousand jobsLocation quotient (9)Hourly mean wageAnnual mean wage (2)
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, CA Metropolitan Division24,1506.331.54$14.63$30,430
New York-White Plains-Wayne, NY-NJ Metropolitan Division12,7102.550.62$15.72$32,690
Chicago-Naperville-Joliet, IL Metropolitan Division11,1803.160.77$15.22$31,670
Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, TX11,0404.421.07$14.46$30,080
Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ8,9905.341.30$15.42$32,070
Dallas-Plano-Irving, TX Metropolitan Division8,9504.471.09$14.74$30,660
Philadelphia, PA Metropolitan Division8,7704.861.18$15.31$31,850
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, GA8,5403.880.94$14.42$29,990
Santa Ana-Anaheim-Irvine, CA Metropolitan Division7,7305.631.37$15.15$31,510
San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos, CA7,6406.161.50$15.18$31,570

Medical Assistant Pay
Monthly and annual pay rates for medical assistants vary. If you are a medical assistant in Alaska, District of Columbia, Massachusetts, Connecticut, or Hawaii then you are also fortunate enough to enjoy top pay for this occupation. While hourly wags for medical assistants can range between $10 per hour for new graduates and $15 for experienced medical assistants in any State, medical assistants in Alaska earn a whopping $18 dollars, or more, closely matched by medical assistants in and around Washington, DC who earn $17 per hour, or more. That is impressive.

Top paying States for Medical Assistants:
*Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics as of 2010
StateEmployment(1)Employment per thousand jobsLocation quotient (9)Hourly mean wageAnnual mean wage (2)
District of Columbia1,5102.360.57$17.69$36,790

If you are a medical assistant wishing to cross train, or specialize in another related health care occupation then you have plenty of choices. Health care occupations range from in-home, to ambulatory and to acute and emergency care. The field is wide open and large. With additional training and experience medical assistants can land jobs in numerous medical and health care assisting positions, even as pharmacy aides and dental assistants. Some states my have specific requirements, or may require certain limited licenses for those who will be operating x-ray equipment, or be directly involved in invasive procedures, such as phlebotomy and blood specimen processing procedures, laying catheters and initiating IV lines.

Healthcare Support Occupations
United States
May 2010 National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates
Wage Estimates
Occupation CodeOccupation Title (click on the occupation title to view an occupational profile)Employment(1)Median HourlyMean HourlyMean Annual(2)Mean RSE (3)
31-0000Healthcare Support Occupations3,962,930$11.90$12.94$26,9200.2 %
31-1011Home Health Aides982,840$9.89$10.46$21,7600.4 %
31-1012Nursing Aides, Orderlies, and Attendants*1,451,090$11.54$12.09$25,1400.2 %
31-1013Psychiatric Aides64,730$12.00$12.84$26,7100.7 %
31-2011Occupational Therapy Assistants27,720$24.52$24.66$51,3000.6 %
31-2012Occupational Therapy Aides7,180$13.19$14.95$31,0901.7 %
31-2021Physical Therapist Assistants65,960$23.89$23.95$49,8100.5 %
31-2022Physical Therapist Aides45,900$11.39$12.02$25,0000.6 %
31-9011Massage Therapists60,040$16.78$19.12$39,7701.3 %
31-9091Dental Assistants294,030$16.09$16.41$34,1400.4 %
31-9092Medical Assistants523,260$13.87$14.31$29,7600.3 %
31-9093Medical Equipment Preparers47,310$14.18$14.59$30,3500.4 %
31-9094Medical Transcriptionists78,780$15.82$16.12$33,5300.4 %
31-9095Pharmacy Aides49,580$10.31$10.98$22,8301.0 %
31-9096Veterinary Assistants and Laboratory Animal Caretakers70,530$10.60$11.38$23,6600.7 %
31-9799Healthcare Support Workers, All Other*193,980$14.56$15.23$31,6700.4 %
 *Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics

Any medical assistant wishing to enter into one of the above listed fields must research whether there are certain educational, or licensing requirements within their State of residency and the location where they will practice their skill.

**Additional information, including the hourly and annual 10th, 25th, 75th, and 90th percentile wages and the employment percent relative standard error, is available in the BLS website downloadable XLS files.

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