What Is the Average Medical Administrative Assistant Salary? And 5 Other Questions About This Career
You’ve heard all about the growing demand for healthcare professionals. You definitely like the idea of helping others for a living, but you’re not so excited about the thought of working with blood or hands-on patient care. You’re also not ready to commit to years of education and training right now.
Fortunately, that doesn’t leave you without options. A career as a medical administrative assistant could be the perfect fit as it would allow you to quickly become a valued member of the healthcare team while avoiding most of what might make you squeamish in healthcare.
But before you jump right in, you have some questions: How much so medical administrative assistants make? What do they do on a daily basis, and how do you become one? We’ve got answers to those questions and more. Keep reading to learn more about this rewarding healthcare career.
6 FAQs about medical administrative assistants
Before you decide if this is the right career for you, there are a few important facts you need to know. These six questions will give you a crash course.
1. How much do medical administrative assistants make?
When considering your career options, it’s only natural to want to know more about your earning potential in a role. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual medical administrative assistant salary in 2020 was $37,350.1
While this might not be “doctor money,” consider the fact that these positions don’t require years and years of expensive education and training. Another factor is the stability and growth this field is projected to see—you can rest assured knowing you have a career that provides a sound and steady income. Additionally, working as a medical administrative assistant could provide a strong foundation to build upon for other administrative healthcare roles.
2. What is the job outlook for medical administrative assistants?
You may be looking into healthcare because you’re aware of the growing demand for medical professionals across the industry. But what does the future look like for medical administrative assistants in particular?
While demand for nonmedical administrative assistants is on the decline, those who work in the healthcare field are seeing stronger prospects. The BLS projects employment for medical administrative assistants to increase 10 percent through 2029.1 This is more than twice the average employment growth projection for all occupations, which sits at four percent.1
3. Where do medical administrative assistants work?
You may picture medical administrative assistants as only working in busy hospitals. While it’s true that some may work in hospitals, there are several other common places where these professionals work.
The BLS lays out some of the industries that commonly employ medical administrative assistants. These are the most common work environments:2
- Physicians’ offices
- General medical and surgical hospitals
- Dentists’ offices
- Offices of other health practitioners
- Outpatient care centers
Generally speaking, wherever there are patients waiting to be seen by a doctor or healthcare practitioner, you are also likely to find medical administrative assistants.
4. What do medical administrative assistants do on a day-to-day basis?
Now that we have some of the basic career facts covered, it’s time to get a better idea of whether you would actually enjoy the job. Every medical administrative assistant position will be different depending on where you work and the needs of the employer. For example, working in a small dental office won’t be the same as working in a busy hospital.
That being said, there are a few basic duties you can expect to encounter in practically any arrangement. Medical administrative assistants usually work at the front desk of a healthcare office. Some common duties include:1
- Greeting patients and providing direction for their visits
- Answering telephones and directing calls to appropriate staff
- Scheduling appointments, such as medical consultations, surgeries or diagnostic imaging
- Compiling medical charts and records
- Gathering basic medical history information from patients
- Processing insurance payments
Overall, medical administrative assistants are there to ensure healthcare appointments run as smoothly as possible for both patients and providers.
5. What are some important medical administrative assistant skills?
Many people can succeed in a medical administrative assistant position if they have the right blend of hard and soft skills. While you could probably make some informed assumptions about what employers are looking for on that front, let’s hear it straight from the job listings. We used job posting analysis software to examine more than 213,000 medical administrative assistant job postings from the past year.3 This data helped us identify some of the skills employers are commonly seeking.
Technical skills in demand:3
- Administrative support
- Appointment setting
- Customer service
- Customer billing
- Data entry
- Medical terminology
- Electronic medical records
- Payment processing
- Administrative functions
Transferable skills in demand:3
- Telephone etiquette
- Computer literacy
- Attention to detail
6. How do you become a medical administrative assistant?
If you’re looking for a relatively short path for entry into the healthcare field, then a medical administrative assistant career is a great place to start. There are no formal education requirements, but it is common for candidates to acquire some specialized postsecondary training. The good news is that there are opportunities to gain the specific training needed to be successful without having to spend years in school.
Earning a Medical Administrative Assistant Certificate, for example, can provide valuable training in medical technology, office management, customer service and more. This offering from Rasmussen University can be completed in as few as nine months, with flexible online options to fit your schedule.4
This streamlined training can help position you to start gaining experience in the medical field fairly quickly. If you decide to advance your education later on, you can seamlessly transfer your Medical Administrative Assistant program credits toward a Healthcare Associate’s degree.
Envision yourself as a medical administrative assistant
Now that you have your questions answered about the medical administrative assistant salary and job outlook, you’re one step closer to deciding if this is the field for you. If you’re ready to dive a little deeper into your potential education options for this role, visit the Medical Administrative Assistant Certificate page.
1Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, [accessed May 2021]. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/office-and-administrative-support/secretaries-and-administrative-assistants.htm Information represents national, averaged data for the occupations listed and includes workers at all levels of education and experience. This data does not represent starting salaries. Employment conditions in your area may vary.br/>2Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, [salary data accessed May, 2021] https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes436013.htmbr/>3Burning-Glass.com (analysis of 213,604 medical administrative assistant job postings, May 1, 2020 – April 30, 2021).
4Completion time is dependent on the number of transfer credits accepted and the number of courses completed each term.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article was originally published in 2017. It has since been updated to include information relevant to 2021.
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