In this article, we’re going to present you with estimated numbers for the salary of medical assistants all throughout Connecticut. We’re then going to let you know how the annual median wage of medical assistants in CT compares to the rest of the country. Finally, we’ll discuss if the salary you earn justifies the cost of going to school, and whether pursuing medical assisting or nursing is better in terms of long-term pay.
How Much Will I Make as a Medical Assistant?
Broken down by city, we’ve provided you with estimated salary numbers for medical assistants in Connecticut. These numbers were garnered from sites like salary.com and Indeed.com’s salary search, so while they have been provided to you for informative purposes, do note that these numbers are estimates and potentially are out-of-date or inaccurate:
- Bridgeport: $36,484
- New Haven: $36,000
- Stamford: $36,773
- Hartford: $34,416
- Waterbury: $35,000
- Norwalk: $36,773
- Danbury: $36,484
- New Britain: $34,416
- West Hartford: $37,000
- Greenwich: $45,000
- Hamden: $35,000
- Meriden: $36,000
- Bristol: $37,000
- Fairfield: $27,000
- Manchester: $27,000
- West Haven: $25,000
- Milford: $25,000
- Stratford: $27,000
- East Hartford: $27,000
- Middletown: $27,000
- Wallingford: $27,000
- Enfield: $28,000
- Southington: $26,000
- Norwich: $24,000
- Shelton: $28,000
- Trumbull: $28,000
Medical Assisting in Connecticut vs the Country
Medical assistants that reside in Connecticut really have it good when it comes to earning potential, at least according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). In fact, in 2014, the BLS created a list of the top five states that pay their medical assistants the best, and CT cracked list by ranking number five.
The list showed that in Connecticut, the annual mean wage for medical assistants is $35,360. That comes to approximately $17.00 per hour.
CT ranks behind the following four states/regions: Washington, Massachusetts, Alaska, and the District of Columbia. D.C., which ranked #1 in the country for medical assistant pay, compensates its MA’s with $39,860 (annual mean wage).
As far as employment goes in Connecticut, there are approximately 2,620 to 6,920 working medical assistants within the state.
Does the Salary Make the Tuition Cost Worth It?
This is always a difficult question to answer, because everyone’s individual situation or hardship is different. With that said, if we’re talking about working as an MA in Connecticut specifically, then it very well might be worth the tuition cost because medical assistants are well compensated in this state as compared to many other areas in the country.
With that said, it’s always important to take a look at the tuition cost of a given school, and also factor in costs you might not immediately expect—like books, food, and other fees or expenses.
No one wants to be stuck with a lot of student loans, so even if you land a good job, you’ll definitely want to take a look and see how you’re spending your salary on a weekly or monthly basis, and see if you are able to live comfortably or will have to make sacrifices.
The truth is that, even if you were able to make about $35,000 as a medical assistant, you’ll have to sacrifice a little to be able to stretch that money. When you add student loans on top of that, it can potentially become difficult.
But, with that said, medical assisting has one of the best job outlooks through 2022 of any job in the medical field. According to the BLS, it’s growing at 29% rate, which is much faster than the national average (which is 11%). This means that more employers will need medical assistants in the future, and that means that more jobs will be available and, hopefully, you’ll be able to land one of those positions.
So while it might not be the most glamorous job, and you certainly won’t get rich doing it, it’s a job that is in demand and requires only about a year’s worth of school.
Will This Job Prepare Me to Be a Nurse?
Well, the truth is that if you want to be a nurse, you should work towards simply being a nurse. Working as a medical assistant won’t prepare you to be a nurse because these are two separate jobs with different responsibilities, daily tasks, and education requirements.
First, let’s break down the average salary for these positions.
According to the BLS, in 2012, medical assistants made approximately $29,370 per year in salary on average.
In 2012, an LPN (Licensed Piratical Nurse) made $41,540 on average per year.
And lastly, in 2012, a RN or Registered Nurse earned approximately $65,470 per year.
So as you can see, there’s a pretty vast difference in salary. And that’s for a good reason.
Let’s first begin with a RN. A Registered Nurse must either have a BSN (Bachelor’s of Science degree in Nursing), an Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN), or a diploma from an approved nursing program. A Registered Nurse must also be licensed in order to practice.
In terms of length, a BSN program usually takes four years to complete. An ADN program, by contrast, takes two to three years to complete. On top of that, you must become licensed in order to work as a RN (which usually requires passing the NCLEX-RN examination.
To be a LPN or LVN (Licensed Vocational Nurse), you must complete an education program that’s approved. These programs take about 1 year or more to complete, and you’ll graduate with a certificate or degree. But, just like a Registered Nurse, an LPN or LVN must also be licensed (again, you must successfully pass the National Council Licensure exam).
Now, to be a medical assistant, you usually need to graduate from a postsecondary educational program (these can be found at technical schools, community colleges, and even universities). It will take you about one year or so to complete the program (though some students opt to stay a second year and graduate with an Associate’s degree). If that’s not the case, the student will receive a diploma or certificate.
Other than that, there are no other significant requirements. And while graduating from an accredited program in order to be apply to become a Certified Medical Assistant is certainly encouraged, it’s not wholly required throughout the entire country.
This means that becoming a medical assistant offers you the path of least resistance. But because of that, you’re education is not as specific as that of a nurse and because of that, you’re daily tasks aren’t the same. The only thing that might transfer—from working as a medical assistant to working as a nurse—might be your social experience you learned on the job as a MA. Things like talking and working with patients, conflict resolution, or interacting with a physician will no doubt be a benefit to you once nursing clinicals begin.
Hopefully, this article has better helped you understand what you can expect when it comes to earning a living as a working medical assistant, as well as how it comes to those that decide to become a nurse.
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