Professional certifications have a way of improving both your job opportunities and your earning potential. A Certified Medical Administrative Assistant, or CMAA, designation is no exception. But to earn such credentialing, you must meet certain requirements. Having a high school diploma is just one. You also need to complete an approved training program by the National Healthcareer Association or have spent at least one year in the field of medical administrative support. From there, you can reap the rewards of this professional designation.
In 2011, half of all medical secretaries earned less than $31,060 a year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The top 10 percent of earners made at least $45,860, while the bottom 10 percent made no more than $21,410. None of these figures, however, accounts for certification -- a factor that has some bearing on earnings.
A survey conducted by Office Team, a national specialized administrative staffing service, found that medical administrative assistants can expect to earn anywhere from $31,500 to $40,000 a year in 2013. But you can add up to 6 percent for a professional designation, and the same should hold true for a certified medical administrative assistant certification. Now, you’re looking at a salary between $33,390 and $43,400 a year.
Although California has the highest rate of employment for medical secretaries, it isn’t the most lucrative of states for this profession. That distinction goes to the District of Columbia, where medical administrative assistants earned an average of $40,280 a year in 2011. Those working in Alaska were a close second, averaging $39,940 a year, while medical secretaries in Massachusetts earned $39,310 a year. In West Virginia, the average salary was $26,980 -- the lowest in the nation.
Through 2020, medical secretaries should experience an employment growth of 41 percent. That’s much faster than the average growth rate for all occupations, an estimated 14 percent. As with any medical career, the ever-expanding aging population drives growth. People are living longer, requiring more medical assistance. This creates more jobs for doctors and nurses, and additional administrative support is needed to order supplies, transcribe dictation and prepare reports and other documents for hospital or clinic staffs.
2016 Salary Information for Secretaries and Administrative Assistants
Secretaries and administrative assistants earned a median annual salary of $38,730 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, secretaries and administrative assistants earned a 25th percentile salary of $30,500, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $48,680, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 3,990,400 people were employed in the U.S. as secretaries and administrative assistants.
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Medical Secretaries
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook – Secretaries and Administrative Assistants
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: Secretaries and Administrative Assistants
- Career Trend: Secretaries and Administrative Assistants
Based in Minneapolis, Minn., Dana Severson has been writing marketing materials for small-to-mid-sized businesses since 2005. Prior to this, Severson worked as a manager of business development for a marketing company, developing targeted marketing campaigns for Big G, Betty Crocker and Pillsbury, among others.