What Is the Medical Administrative Assistant Salary? And 6 Other Questions About This Career
You’ve heard the news—healthcare is a booming industry. Most jobs in the field offer stability, great pay and, of course, the ability to help others. All of this appeals to you, but you know you definitely couldn’t handle a job working with blood or hands-on patient care. It seems like most of healthcare involves one or the other, so what could be left for you?
Put aside your worries, because we might just have the perfect healthcare career for you: a medical administrative assistant. Before jumping into this job, we know you may have some questions.
You may be wondering what the medical administrative assistant salary looks like, what the job outlook is, and even what medical administrative assistants do on a day-to-day basis. To help guide you, we assembled some of your most pressing questions and answered them.
6 Frequently asked questions about medical administrative assistants
1. What is the average salary for medical administrative assistants?
In 2016, the average salary for a medical administrative assistant in the United States ranged from $23,220 to $49,730, with the median annual salary as $33,730.1
While this might not be “doctor money,” some of this is offset by the fact these positions don’t require years and years of formal education and training. Another factor is the stability and growth this field is expected to see—you can rest assured knowing you have a career that provides a sound and steady income.
2. What is the job outlook for medical administrative assistants?
You may be looking into healthcare because you’ve heard of the huge growth happening across the industry. While healthcare has been continuously growing, it is still smart to check individual jobs for more accurate predictions of what jobs are most in demand.
For medical administrative assistants, you’re in luck. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that from 2016–2026, employment of medical secretaries will grow 22 percent. That’s more than triple the national average of seven percent growth for all occupations. So if you’re looking for a stable job that you can grow into and enjoy for many years, this could be the perfect fit.
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 medical administrative assistants work.
According to the BLS, seven percent of medical administrative assistants work in a physician’s office, compared to the 2.5 percent who work in a hospital. Other places you can find medical administrative assistants include dental offices, health practitioner offices and in outpatient care centers. Wherever there are patients waiting to be seen by a doctor or healthcare professional, you will likely also find a medical administrative assistant.
4. What do medical administrative assistants do on a day-to-day basis?
Now that you know the statistics and basic facts about this job, it’s time to see if you would actually enjoy the day-to-day work involved. Each medical administrative assistant position will be different, depending where you work. For example, working in a pediatrician’s 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. Medical administrative assistants usually work at a front desk of a healthcare office. Recall the last time you went to the doctor or dentist—do you remember the person who checked you in and maybe even took your insurance information? You might not have thought much of it at the time, but that person was likely a medical administrative assistant.
Medical administrative assistants all answer telephone calls from patients, schedule appointments, help connect patients to the right healthcare staff and greet patients as they arrive for their appointments. They may process insurance payments, take case history notes for patients over the phone and compile medical charts and records. Overall, medical administrative assistants are there to ensure your healthcare appointment runs as smoothly as possible.
5. What are the education requirements to work as a medical administrative assistant?
If you’re seeking a way to enter the healthcare profession as quickly as possible, then you are in the right place. We used real-time job analysis software to analyze more than 72,000 medical secretary job postings from the past year. Of these job postings, only 11 percent asked for an Associate’s degree or higher.2
So what does this mean for you? For starters, it means that you can be out in the working field sooner. The BLS states that those looking to go into the medical industry may need additional training to learn industry-specific information. A nine-month Certificate program could be the answer, as you learn everything you need to succeed in the industry, while standing out among candidates who have no post-high school education.
6. Which skills and qualities are needed from medical administrative assistants?
Many people can succeed in a medical administrative assistant position if they have the right blend of skills. We rounded up the top soft skills employers are looking for in medical secretary and administrative assistant positions to help you get a better feel for the field:
- Communication skills
- Computer skills
- Telephone skills
- Organizational skills
- Problem solving
- Language skills
As for hard skills, here are the top 10 skill employers are seeking. Remember that most of these can be learned with time and experience.
- Administrative support
- Appointment setting
- Customer service
- Patient care
- Medical terminology
- Front office experience
- Data entry
- Customer billing
- Microsoft Office
Could you be a medical administrative assistant?
If you enjoy interacting with people and want to join the healthcare industry in a non-medical role, then you could be a medical administrative assistant. The short amount of schooling, coupled with a promising job outlook and steady salary are all appealing reasons to join this profession.
If you’re still not sure if this is the career for you, learn more about the ins and outs of the job in our article, “What Does a Medical Administrative Assistant Do?”
1BLS salary data represents national, averaged earnings 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.
2Burning-Glass.com (analysis of 72,316 medical secretary job postings, Oct. 1, 2016 – Sep. 30, 2017)