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Medical Office Assistant Salary

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The healthcare industry is one of the most diverse employment sectors in the United States today. Although most people picture nurses and physicians when they think about job opportunities that are available in the medical field, there are several career advancement options that do not require a college degree or extensive training. One of the most popular entry-level positions is that of the medical office assistant. A basic understanding of the earning potential for these individuals is an important first step in deciding whether or not to pursue the profession.

Employment and Salary Statistics
Administrative personnel are an essential component of the medical system because they are able to take care of many of the routine tasks associated with providing high quality care to the public. Although the medical office assistant salary is lower than that of clinical providers, it is generally reflective of the amount of education, training, resume medical and experience that an individual has as well as the value that they add to the business. Individuals who are new to the healthcare industry are advised to consider the many factors that can affect their earning potential as an assistant so that they can position themselves for success and benefit from the expanding employment opportunities in the profession.

Demand for medical care has been increasing in the United States over the past several years. This trend is the result of a growing population, retiring Baby Boomers, and the recent expansion of health insurance to the millions of Americans who previously had no coverage. In addition, an increase in the prevalence of chronic illnesses such as diabetes and high blood pressure has resulted in greater demand for ongoing treatment and monitoring for a variety of chronic conditions. These factors have led medical establishments to expand both their physical facilities and staff in order to support the influx of people into the healthcare system. As the need for administrative personnel grows, many industry professionals believe that the medical office assistant salary will continue to rise.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were around 560,800 assistants working across the nation as of 2012. The majority of these employees worked in the offices of physicians. Alternative work environments include places such as hospitals, nursing homes, dentist offices, and outpatient facilities. The median annual medical office assistant salary in May 2012 was around $29,370. The lowest 10% of wage earners brought home less than $21,080 while the highest 10% of wage earners received a salary exceeding $41,570. In determining an individual’s earning potential in this profession it is important to consider several factors including education, training, experience, type of employer, value to the business, and geographic location.
According to Indeed.com, the average medical office assistant salary is around $21,000 annually. Again, it is important to factor in several variables when deciding how much a specific individual can expect to be paid. Because assistants are rarely required to have a college degree or advanced training, geographic location and type of employer have a greater influence on earnings than other factors. Many employers also prefer to hire individuals who have prior experience and are often willing to pay more in order to attract these applicants. Aspiring assistants are encouraged to contact potential employers to learn more about the details of a specific job opening.

How Geographic Location Affects Earning Potential
Geography can have a significant influence on the size of the medical office assistant salary. Areas that have higher concentrations of people such as Coastal states and metropolitan cities commonly offer more job opportunities and higher salaries. This is typically true because employers in these areas have several vacant positions and they need to attract qualified applicants in order to continue to provide high quality care. Taking this into consideration, it is easy to see how an assistant in a rural area of the state could improve their earning potential by moving to the city or to one of the more populated states. Although this is not a universal truth, it is a safe assumption to make and can become a significant determinant in whether or not an individual decides to pursue the profession.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the states that offer the most employment opportunities for assistants include California, Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania, and New York. These states are heavily populated and must handle a higher level of demand for services. Other states that offer many job opportunities include New Mexico, Arizona, Michigan, and Utah. Those who are looking to maximize the medical office assistant salary might want to think about working in states such as Alaska, the District of Columbia, Massachusetts, Washington, or Connecticut. These states generally pay the most and are accustomed to paying assistants between $35,000 and $40,000 per year. Again, not all regions in a specific state can be expected to pay well and many people choose to live in or around a city in order to enjoy a higher earning potential.

Those who are comfortable with living in a metropolitan area can expect the most job opportunities in Los Angeles – Long Beach – Glendale (CA), New York – White Plains – Wayne (NY – NJ), Houston – Sugar Land – Baytown (TX), Chicago – Joliet – Naperville (IL), Atlanta – Sandy Springs – Marietta (GA), Dallas – Plano – Irving (TX), Phoenix – Mesa – Glendale (AZ), Boston – Cambridge – Quincy (MA), Philadelphia (PA), and Santa Ana – Anaheim – Irvine (CA). The nonmetropolitan areas with the highest levels of employment include West Central Wisconsin, Lower Peninsula of Michigan, Kansas, Ohio, and Eastern Texas.
Individuals who want to earn the most competitive medical office assistant salary possible in a metropolitan area might want to think about working in Champaign – Urbana (IL), San Francisco – San Mateo – Redwood City (CA), Oakland – Fremont – Hayward (CA), Santa Rosa – Petaluma (CA), Rochester (MN), Santa Cruz – Watsonville (CA), Vallejo – Fairfield (CA), Boston – Cambridge – Quincy (MA), Danbury (CT), and Fairbanks (AK). The nonmetropolitan areas that offer the most competitive salaries include areas such as Southwest Alaska, North Central Colorado, Southeast Alaska, Western Colorado, and Eastern Connecticut.
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