Medical assistants in the United States make, on average, $31,910 per year. Salaries for medical assistants in Canada range between C$26,425 ($19,693 USD) and C$48,350 ($36,032 USD) per year. Medical assistants in the United Kingdom make from £16,800 ($20,849 USD) to £22,458 ($27,873 USD) per year. In Australia, pay spans from AU$37,889 ($29,058 USD) to AU$55,017 ($42,183 USD). The average pay for medical assistants is CHF 55,209 ($56,126 USD) in Switzerland and NOK381,600 ($48,857 USD) in Norway. Learn below how work history, national policies or laws and other factors affect the medical assistant salary.
Medical Assistant Salary Influencers
The pay for medical assistants can turn on factors such as experience, location and type of employer. Those who work for physicians in private practice or private-sector hospitals may earn more than medical assistants in the public sector.
In countries such as the United Kingdom, the government runs or operates the health care system. Thus, government agencies in these countries set the salaries for most medical assistants, based on a schedule of experience. Where private practitioners or private sector providers are involved, medical assistant salaries are set by the employers.
2. Geographical Area
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Medical Assistant Salary in the US
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average pay of medical assistants are $31,910 per year, or $15.36 per hour, as of May 2015. The top 10 percent of earners had salaries above $43,880 per year, or $21.10 per hour.
Medical Assistant Salary in Canada
Payscale reports that medical assistants earned, on average, C$15.57 per hour, or C$33,000 per year. The pay ranges between C$26,425 and C$48,350 per year.
Medical Assistant Salary in the UK
In the United Kingdom, the National Health Service normally classifies medical secretary/personal care assistants in Band 3 or Band 4 for pay purposes. For those in Band 3, annual pay runs from £16,800 to £19,655 per year. The pay for medical secretary/personal care assistants in Band 4 ranges from £19,217 to £22,458. More experienced workers in this position can enter Band 5, where the salaries are between £21,909 and £28,462.
Medical Assistant Salary in Australia
According to PayScale, medical receptionists had an average annual salary of AU$45,000, or AU$21.78 per hour. Earnings range between AU$37,889 and AU$55,017. According to the Australian government, receptionists, which include medical receptionists, make an average weekly salary of AU$850 full-time, which translates to AU$35,700 per year.
Medical Assistant Salary in Switzerland
According to SalaryExplorer, the average yearly earnings for Swiss medical assistants is CHF 55,209.
Medical Assistant Salary in Norway
Statistics Norway reports that physicians secretaries in health enterprises in Norway earned an average salary of NOK31,800 per month, or NOK381,600 per year. Clerks in the private health and social services sector make NOK33,400 per month, which equates to NOK400,800 per year.
Generally, medical assistants obtain experience either through training in a post-secondary program or in a medical or health setting. For example, in the United States, post-secondary programs last one or two years. Apprenticeships may also provide experience and knowledge in medical terminology. In the United Kingdom, medical secretaries/personal assistants climb the earnings scale based on work hours.
Classes, even in high school, such as biology, health and anatomy can prepare those seeking to work as a medical assistant. Computer and typing skills are also helpful.
The working hours of a medical assistant will depend generally on the work setting. In hospitals, shifts generally run at irregular times, including weekends and holidays. Medical assistants in physicians’ offices likely will have traditional work hours. Evening and weekend work is common where clinics and primary care centers are open beyond the 9 am to 5 pm.
Generally, medical assistants work full-time. As a result, those in the United Kingdom’s National Health Service work 37.5 hours a week.
Bonuses & Benefit Packages
According to a survey from the American Association of Medical Assistants, only six percent of full-time medical assistants did not receive employer-provided benefits. However, paid vacation was available to 84 percent of medical assistants. Three out of four had major medical coverage.
In countries such as Norway and Switzerland, medical assistants have occupational pension, paid holiday leave and also insurance. For example, Switzerland has a three-pillar system. As a result, in the first two pillars, contributions are mandatory and are intended to supply up to 60 percent of salaries during retirement. The National Health Service in the United Kingdom allows medical assistants and other health workers to draw pensions at age 55. In Australia, employees participate in “superannuiation,” which guarantees workers 9.5 percent of salary.
Job prospects for medical assistants turn generally on the demand for medical services. In fact, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of medical assistants should grow in the United States by 23 percent from 2014 to 2024. Additionally, increased access to health insurance and health care and the growth of the elderly population should drive demand for physicians’ services.
In many countries, populations are aging. For instance, in Canada, the age 65 and older sector exceeded the numbers of those 14 years old and under in 2015. in fact, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the proportion of Australia’s population age 85 and above doubled from 1.1 percent in 1995 to two percent in 2015. Those at least age 65 years comprised 11.5 percent of the population in 1995, but 15 percent in 2015. In Switzerland, the ratio of those between 12 and 64 years old and those age 65 and older is four to one; in 1860, that ratio was 12 to 1.
To conclude, medical assistants can generally increase their pay as they become more experienced. Opportunities for positions should remain solid, as aging populations and expanding access to health care will surely sustain demand for medical services. To get an overview of the pay for physician assistants according to specialty, read our article on the topic.