In this article, you will be able to look up various salary figures for what medical assistants make in different cities in Georgia. On top of that, we’ll also provide you with statistics regarding how well Georgia pays its medical assistants when compared to the rest of the country.
Finally, we’ll delve into the hot topic of whether the cost of medical assistant school is better justified with how much you can earn once hired, and whether or not it’s worth considering becoming a LPN or Registered Nurse in an effort to earn more money.
How Much Does a Medical Assistant Make?
By utilizing websites like salary.com, we’ve listed the estimated salaries for medical assistants working in dozens of cities in Georgia. Do note that these numbers are just estimates and are not fully representative of how much you can or will make once hired. While all effort will be made to update these numbers as time moves forward, do note that some or all of the salary figures listed below can potentially be inaccurate:
- Atlanta, GA: $33,154
- Augusta, GA: $30,277
- Columbus, GA: $30,974
- Savannah, GA: $29,330
- Athens, GA: $29,718
- Roswell, GA: $33,154
- Macon, GA: $30,846
- Albany, GA: $27,473
- Alpharetta, GA: $33,154
- Marietta, GA: $33,154
- Valdosta, GA: $27,194
- Smyrna, GA: $33,154
- Duluth, GA: $33,154
Now that we’ve delved into specific cities, let’s talk about medical assistant employment and salary as it pertains to certain metro areas.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has created a list (as of May 2014) of metropolitan areas with the highest level of medical assistant employment. On this list sits the Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta area of Georgia.
According to the BLS, this area employs an estimated incredible 11,710 medical assistants, or 4.90 per thousand jobs. In this metro area, medical assistants earn approximately $30,420 per year on average, or $14.62 per hour.
There’s more good news for those wanting to become a medical assistant in Georgia. Gainesville is ranked as the number one metro area with the highest concentration of medical assistant jobs. In fact, its estimated that in Gainesville, 1,020 medical assistants are employed and are making an average annual salary of $31,400 per year.
Macon, Georgia cracks this list too, employing an estimated 450 medical assistants that earn approximately $29,950 per year or $14.40 per hour.
Looking at Georgia as a whole, its estimated that anywhere from 7,000 to 13,000 medical assistants are employed.
Compared nationally, it seems Georgia fairs quite well, too. Over 580,000 medical assistants are employed nationwide, with their salaries averaging out to be $31,220. And although salary can certainly vary in Georgia, we’ve seen that medical assistants in this southern state can come very close or even exceed that national average in terms of annual pay.
Does My Salary Justify My School Cost?
The easy answer is no. The more complicated answer is potentially yes.
Here’s why we say no. The truth is that medical assistants don’t get paid very much. Yes, if you’re fortunate enough to live with a friend or family member and not have to pay for room and board, it can certainly be worth it. If you’re fortunate enough to have had enough money to pay for your medical assistant training out of pocket (thus resulting in you having zero student loans), then it can certainly be worth it.
But if that’s not your situation, it can be hard to stretch your annual $30,000 (potentially a little more or less depending on your region) salary. You would have to seriously budget your money to make everything work.
Here’s why we say potentially yes, though.
A lot of people may suggest to you that medical assistants don’t make a lot of money, and that it makes more sense for you to apply to a nursing program. And these people would not necessarily be wrong. But it certainly is much more complicated than this.
For example, yes, you can become a nurse with the ultimate expectation that you’ll earn more money than a medical assistant. But, you also will likely work longer hours than a medical assistant. And, should you be interested in becoming a Registered Nurse, you’ll not only have to become licensed by passing the NCLEX examination, but you’ll be in school anywhere from two to four years on average.
So again, while it’s easy to say that you’ll be able to earn more money as a working nurse than medical assistant, the truth is that you’ll have to decide which path you’d prefer. Do you want to graduate and begin potentially earning money faster (once you apply to a job and hopefully get hired) as a medical assistant, or would you prefer to take the slower, more involved route and likely earn more money, but doing so down the line? Only you can make that decision.
Will Being a Medical Assistant Prepare Me for Nursing?
A medical assistant doesn’t have all the same duties or responsibilities as a nurse. But, that doesn’t mean that being a medical assistant won’t look good on your resume. And it certainly doesn’t mean that you can’t utilize all the great working experience you gained as a medical assistant and bring it with you to nursing clinicals or on the job.
Yes, not everything will translate from one medical career field to the next. However, working as a medical assistant is an absolutely excellent way to get your feet wet in the medical field. You’ll be able to work under a physician, get comfortable talking to patients, and dealing with insurance companies and medical records. This is concrete, real work experience inside an office or a hospital that can’t be replicated in a didactic learning environment or by reading a textbook.
Will working as a medical assistant help you breeze through nursing school? No. Not at all. But will working as a medical assistant likely help you feel more comfortable in certain working environments or situations as you prepare to become the best nurse you can be. Yes, there’s a very good chance that it will.
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