Video transcript available at Quick Facts: Medical Assistants 2020 Median Pay Typical Entry-Level Education Work Experience in a Related Occupation On-the-job Training Number of Jobs, 2020 Job Outlook, 2020-30 Employment Change, 2020-30
$35,850 per year $17.23 per hour
Postsecondary nondegree award
18% (Much faster than average)

What Medical Assistants Do

Medical assistants complete administrative and clinical tasks in hospitals, offices of physicians, and other healthcare facilities.

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Work Environment

Most medical assistants work in physicians’ offices, hospitals, outpatient clinics, and other healthcare facilities.

How to Become a Medical Assistant

Most medical assistants have postsecondary education such as a certificate. Others enter the occupation with a high school diploma and learn through on-the-job training.


The median annual wage for medical assistants was $35,850 in May 2020.

Job Outlook

Employmentof medical assistants is projected to grow 18 percent from 2020 to 2030, much faster than the average for all occupations.

About 104,400 openings for medical assistants are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

State & Area Data

Explore resources for employment and wages by state and area for medical assistants.

Similar Occupations

Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of medical assistants with similar occupations.

More Information, Including Links to O*NET

Learn more about medical assistants by visiting additional resources, including O*NET, a source on key characteristics of workers and occupations.


Medical assistants complete administrative and clinical tasks in the offices of physicians, hospitals, and other healthcare facilities. Their duties vary with the location, specialty, and size of the practice.


Medical assistants typically do the following:

Record patient history and personal informationMeasure vital signs, such as blood pressureHelp physicians with patient examinationsGive patients injections or medications as directed by physicians and as permitted by state lawSchedule patient appointmentsPrepare blood samples for laboratory testsEnter patient information into medical records

Medical assistants take and record patients’ personal information. They must be able to keep that information confidential and discuss it only with other medical personnel who are involved in treating the patient.

Electronic health records (EHRs) are changing some medical assistants’ jobs. More and more physicians are adopting EHRs, moving all their patient information from paper to electronic records. Assistants need to learn the EHR software that their office uses.

Medical assistants should not be confused with physician assistants, who examine, diagnose, and treat patients under a physician’s supervision.

In larger practices or hospitals, medical assistants may specialize in either administrative or clinical work.

Administrative medical assistants often fill out insurance forms or code patients’ medical information. They often answer telephones and schedule patient appointments.

Clinical medical assistants have different duties, depending on the state where they work. They may do basic laboratory tests, dispose of contaminated supplies, and sterilize medical instruments. They may have additional responsibilities, such as instructing patients about medication or special diets, preparing patients for x rays, removing stitches, drawing blood, or changing dressings.

Some medical assistants specialize according to the type of medical office where they work. The following are examples of specialized medical assistants:

Ophthalmic medical assistants and optometric assistants help ophthalmologists and optometrists provide eye care. They show patients how to insert, remove, and care for contact lenses. Ophthalmic medical assistants also may help an ophthalmologist in surgery.

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Podiatric medical assistants work closely with podiatrists (foot doctors). They may make castings of feet, expose and develop x rays, and help podiatrists in surgery.