In this article, we’re going to discuss how much you can expect to make in annual salary while working as a medical assistant (MA) in Washington, D.C (District of Columbia). We’ll also discuss how the salary numbers in DC stack up against what medical assistants earn all throughout the country.
Later, we’ll get into the discussion of whether what you earn annually justifies the amount of money it will cost you to actually get an education while in school, and we’ll even see how the salary of an MA compares to that of an LPN (Licensed Practical Nurse) and RN (Registered Nurse).
How Much Can I Make in DC as a Medical Assistant?
Below, you’ll find the estimated salary one can expect to make while working as a medical assistant in Washington, D.C. The number was found using salary.com. While every effort is always made to bring your accurate numbers, do note that this is merely an estimate and that it’s always possible for salary numbers to be inaccurate or become outdated as time goes by.
Washington, D.C.: $36,293
Also, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of May 2014, the District of Columbia is ranked number one in terms of being the absolute best in paying medical assistants the highest annual mean wage per year (which, according to the BLS, is $39,860—so fairly close to the numbers generated by salary.com for Washington specifically).
The amount of working medical assistants in D.C is quite low, however. Only 1,180 work as MA’s in D.C., so while it’s the best city in the country in terms of annual salary on average, it’s arguably one of the tougher locations to get a job simply because the amount of people hiring is relatively low.
In fact, the state of Massachusetts ranks third in terms of being one of the top paying states for medical assistants ($37,640). By contrast, however, while D.C. employs less than 1200 medical assistants as estimated by the BLS, Massachusetts (which is a small state) employs over 16,000.
Is the D.C. Salary Worth the Cost of Tuition?
This is a very personal thing that everyone has to deal with—whether or not going to medical assistant school will be worth it in the end, especially if you have student loans and aren’t making a ton of money on the job.
Well, here’s the good news. As mentioned earlier, it doesn’t get too much better than working in D.C. in terms of being a paid medical assistant. While these numbers are only estimates and averages, the fact that D.C. is the top paying region in the country for average medical assistant pay should be enticing to anyone.
On top of that, if you can earn anywhere between $35,000 and $40,000, then that is certainly a livable wage (although D.C. is not cheap), and if you budget your expenses correctly, you’ll be able to make that amount of money work for you. Of course, everyone’s individual situation is different, so please factor in things like how much your student loans will be, how to manage any potential debt you have, and unique circumstances you may personally be dealing with (medical issues, children, and of course essential living expenses).
Also, it should be encouraging to know that over 580,000 people are employed all across the country as medical assistants—some certainly making less than $39,000), and so it’s important to note that this fast growing career (increasing at a rate of 29%, far better than the national average of 11%) is full of people being able to make ends meet in order to do a job they love.
So yes, it is doable, and depending on how much your education cost you, your salary can indeed justify the cost of your medical assistant program.
Medical Assistants vs Nurses: Which Pays Better
Well, it probably comes as no surprise, but being a nurse pays better than working as a medical assistant. But, becoming a medical assistant is technically “easier,” so it’s not necessarily as easy of a decision as you may think. Let’s break it down.
A medical assistant, on average, can expect to be in school about one year (or more) and be able to graduate with either a certificate or a diploma. And although some employers or states may want you to become a Certified Medical Assistant, this is not a requirement.
So, in other words, after you go to school and graduate, you can immediately begin sending out your resume to employers.
The path to becoming a working nurse is similar, but certainly not the same.
To become an LPN or LVN (Licensed Vocational Nurse), students can expect to be in school at least a year. But upon graduating, you will need to take the NCLEX examination to become licensed (all nurses must be licensed throughout the country).
To become a RN, you will likely be in school anywhere from two to four years. Then, upon graduating, you will also need to take the NCLEX examination. So, as you see, the more advanced in nursing you go, the more education it will take and the more it will likely cost you in tuition.
At the same time, if you’re willing to be in school that long, it can pay off for you down the road in salary. According to the BLS, a Registered Nurse earns just over $65,000 annually. A LPN, by contrast, earns just over $41,000.
So, while there are a few additional steps you must clear to become a nurse, if you’re willing to delay your ability to enter the workforce, you may be better compensated down the road.
Can I Become a Medical Assistant First, Then Be a Nurse?
Yes you can, and some people do this. But you will need to determine if this is a route you prefer.
Some people just want to get out of school within a year’s time and immediately start earning a living. Some aren’t 100% sure they’re committed to the medical field, but they’re willing to give it a try.
If that’s you, then becoming a medical assistant might be the best way to go. It’ll help you learn how to interact with physicians and patients, and even potentially teach you how to deal with the EHR (Electronic Health Record) and insurance companies.
That is very valuable.
And should you ever decide that you’d like to become a nurse, you’ll have the comfort of knowing that you can use a bit of your work experience when you transition to nursing clinicals while in school.
With that said, it should be noted that nurses are licensed professionals who (especially if you become a registered nurse) stay in school far longer than medical assistants. So while some social aspects of your MA job may help you initially while in nursing school, do not ever think that you can simply become a medical assistant and easily breeze through nursing school a couple years later.
Hopefully, this article has better helped you learn more about the salary and employment of medical assistants in the District of Columbia. If you enjoyed this article, please bookmark Medical Assistant Professional.
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