In this article, we’re going to examine how much money a Idaho medical assistant can make. We’ll also dig into how much medical assistants in ID make as compared to the rest of the country.
Later, we’ll discuss the idea of whether the cost of medical assistant school is “worth it” as it pertains to how much the job actually pays, and we’ll even compare an MA’s salary number to that of a working nurse.
Annual Salaries of Medical Assistants in Idaho
Below, you’ll find a list of the salaries one can expect to earn all throughout Idaho. The numbers you see below are estimates (generated from salary.com), so while they will give you an idea of annual salary or earning potential, they are in no way concrete numbers, nor are they representative of how much you will or won’t make if you get hired in the following cities within Idaho:
- Boise: $31,747
- Nampa: $31,747
- Meridian: $31,000
- Idaho Falls: $30,737
- Idaho City: $31,257
- Pocatello: $27,881
- Caldwell: $31,747
- Coeur d’Alene: $32,480
- Twin Falls: $27,812
Also, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Southwest Idaho non-metropolitan area has one of the highest concentration of medical assistant jobs in the entire state. Here, approximately 110 medical assistants are employed and they earn an annual mean wage of $30,300—or $14.57 per hour.
Overall, approximately 2,600 to 6,900 people work as medical assistants in Idaho.
Will My Salary Justify My Student Loans?
This is always a difficult question to answer. Medical assistants in general make an estimated figure of $31,000 a year nationwide. If you have student loans, it’s going to be difficult to live a decent life, pay for any essentials you need, and also pay back your loans.
It’s certainly doable—more than 580,000 people nationwide work as a medical assistant—it just won’t necessarily be easy.
At the same time, cost of living always comes into play here. If you’re not paying as much for your room and board, and you’re not blowing your money on eating out at restaurants or other non-essential things, then you can certain live off of your medical assistant salary.
With that said, there’s a very strong chance that it’s going to require a good amount of planning and budgeting to make it all work for you.
Should I Become a Nurse or a Medical Assistant?
Often, the next biggest question when it comes to medical assistant pay pertains to how it can compare to what a nurse earns. Ultimately, everyone wants to know if they are wasting their time with medical assistant school, and instead if they are better off pursuing a nursing degree.
This is hard to answer as well, because it’s such an individual choice. We think, however, that it’s important for you to know and realize that while nurses get paid more, they also have to sacrifice more to get a higher pay.
A nurse (an RN, for example), will need to be in school anywhere from two to four years. A medical assistant, by contrast, can graduate in as early as 12 months.
A LPN or LVN (and certainly a RN) will need to become licensed before they can practice as a nurse. This means that he or she that graduates nursing school will then need to take and pass the NCLEX examination.
There is no such requirement for those that graduate a medical assisting course, and while becoming certified through something like the AMA or AMT is no doubt encouraged, it is not a nationwide requirement for all medical assistants.
Also, while a medical assistant is more likely to work a regular set of working hours, nurses can sometimes be asked to work longer hours. Some nurses can work 12 or 13 hour days, and some have to put in additional overtime hours as well.
Now, granted, the salary numbers speak for themselves. A Registered Nurse can earn $65,000 per year on average, according to the BLS. A LPN or LVN can earn about $41,000 per year on average. And a medical assistant earns about $31,220 per year on average.
But, while a medical assistant earns less money, he or she is not required to be in school as long, he or she is not required to become licensed, and he or she is more likely to work a more “regular set” of working hours than a nurse.
So, ultimately, it all can come down to what you want and what you feel is most important. If all you care about is money, then being a nurse is probably what you should consider most. But, if you can about happiness and about being able to enter the workforce at a quicker pace that your nursing peers, then becoming a medical assistant is still something that’s highly desired.
It should be noted, too, that medical assisting is a career field that’s on the rise. In fact, it’s growing 29% faster than the national average, which is 11%.
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