How Much Does a Medical Assistant Earn AnnuallyIn this article, we’re going to show you how much a medical assistant working in Iowa can expect to make per year in salary. We’ll then compare that annual salary to that of the national average, so you can get idea of what medical assistants are collectively earning across America.

Later, we’ll get into the touchy topic of whether or not your annual salary will help to justify the cost of taking medical assistant classes. And finally, we’ll examine whether those that are nurses earn more money than medical assistants, and if pursuing that kind of training really is a smart decision, or whether there’s more than meets the eye there.

Medical Assistant Salary Inside Iowa

Using salary.com as our helpful guide, we have provided an estimated average annual mean wage for medical assistants working in the state of Iowa. As we go city by city on this list, please note that these numbers are simply estimates and are no way indicative of how much or how little you will earn while working as a medical assistant:

  • Des Moines: $31,516
  • Cedar Rapids: $29,672
  • Davenport: $29,768
  • Sioux City: $25,625
  • Iowa City: $29,672
  • Waterloo: $27,000
  • Council Bluffs: $31,000
  • Ames: $26,000
  • West Des Moines: $31,000
  • Dubuque: $27,000
  • Ankeny: $31,516
  • Urbandale: $31,000
  • Cedar Falls: $27,000
  • Marion: $29,000
  • Bettendorf: $29,768
  • Mason City: $25,885
  • Marshalltown: $27,000
  • Clinton: $29,320
  • Burlington: $28,121

How Much Does a Medical Assistant Make Nationally?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, a medical assistant makes approximately $31,220 on average. And all throughout the country, there are over 580,000 medical assistants employed.

This national average seems to be in line with some of the cities in Iowa, especially the one that has the highest population—Des Moines. As we mentioned above, medical assistants in Des Moines make $31,516 on average, and while that number is simply an estimate, it is actually higher than the national average provided by the BLS.

Will Medical Assistant School Be Worth It Based on My Salary?

A lot of people interested in pursuing any semblance of training for medical assisting are likely nervous about one major factor: Will the salary I earn following graduation from school ultimately justify the expense of actually going through school?

Well, this is of course a difficult question to tackle. For those living in Iowa, it’s important to mention that just like any salary figure, the cost of going to school or partaking in a certain program will vary from location to location.

With that said, there are medical assistant programs that can cost at least $10,000 or more. Now, if you’re someone that graduates with student debt and must payback loans, you’re of course going to want to find a job that will pay you the most money.

To that degree, in many ways, medical assisting is not an ideal job. You likely won’t get paid too much more than $31,000, and even if you do, the increase in salary you make over the national average might be boosted by your state’s cost of living. So while Iowans don’t have to worry about expensive apartments or mortgages, those living on the west coast do—and their salaries increase as a reflection of that.

Still, no matter where you live, $31,000 is still $31,000. While no doubt a salary one can live on, if you know ahead of time that you’ll likely graduate with debt, it would be wise to prepare for this situation by setting aside a budget that forces you to be smart with your money.

Once again, remember—over 580,000 people are employed throughout the county as medical assistants. That’s a lot of people who have found a way to “make it work.” And if they can do it, you certainly can too.

Is Nursing a Better Choice Than Medical Assisting?

Becoming a nurse can be exciting. They make TV shows about nurses (“Nurse Jackie” springs to mind). They appear to be more respected within the medical field because, in some cases, they’ve gone to school longer. And they make more money.

But, it’s not all roses and rainbows here. Here’s the truth: A medical assistant can graduate from school in about a year and immediately begin entering the job market. There’s no delay here. While you may not get the job you seek, you at least have the opportunity to chase after it.

It doesn’t work that way, at all, if you want to become a nurse. A LPN or LVN, for example, is required to take and successfully pass the NCLEX examination. And a Registered Nurse, who must also pass the NCLEX exam to practice, must also go to school for two to four years.

So, I say all of that to simply point out this: While nursing will pay you more in salary than being a medical assistant ($31,000 vs $41,000—medical assistant vs LPN), and $31,000 vs $65,000—medical assistant vs Registered Nurse, medical assisting is a job that you can immediately jump into once school ends, giving you a lot more freedom.

Don’t also forget, too, that you can always try out medical assisting for a year or two, and then eventually take a BSN or ADN program in case you ultimately decide you’d prefer to be a nurse.

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