According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical assisting is expected to be one of the fastest growing occupations in the United States between 2008 and 2018, with prospects looking especially bright for those who have a certificate or an associate's degree in the field. Although you can complete the necessary training in less than a year, there can still be significant costs involved.
The tuition cost is typically the biggest expenditure when undertaking a medical assistant program. Most regionally accredited medical assistant programs are housed at public community or technical colleges, where the nationwide average yearly tuition in 2010 was $2,713, according to the College Board. Students who opt for a private college often pay considerably more -- an average of $27,000, based on 2010 data from the College Board. The type of program you enroll in will also make a difference in overall tuition cost. Certificate programs typically last less than a year. Associate degree programs usually last about two years, so you will end up paying more in total tuition.
Incoming college students are often unaware of the expense involved in purchasing their own textbooks and other supplies. In a survey the College Board conducted, students reported spending an average of $1,100 on books and supplies for the 2010 to 2011 school year. These costs can vary widely based on the courses you take.
Medical assisting students must purchase supplies that they will use throughout the program. Medical assisting students must budget for uniforms and medical tools. You may have to purchase a laptop or similar device.
Factor in living expenses, such as the cost of housing, food and transportation, when preparing your budget. Some students may be able to live at home and thus avoid paying for rent and groceries, but others may need or choose to live away from home. According to a 2010 report by the College Board, the average student at a two-year college spends almost $9,000 a year on housing, food, transportation and other personal expenses.
2016 Salary Information for Medical Assistants
Medical assistants earned a median annual salary of $31,540 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, medical assistants earned a 25th percentile salary of $26,860, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $37,760, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 634,400 people were employed in the U.S. as medical assistants.