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Why the low pay????

MA's are an incredible asset to the health care community so why arent they paid according to their knowledge? MA's can do so much like give injections, take XRays, draw blood, and a host of other things. A friend of mine went the MA route, and I the RN route and the pay difference is startling. She has been on her job for 1.5 years and makes $14.75 an hour, and I have just started my job and make $27.85 an hour plus $4.00 night and $6.00 weekend differential with my total pay averaging $33.00 an hour since I work nights. I make $38,000 a year more than she does (we both work full time) and her program was more exspensive than mine and also an Associate Degree program. Needless to say she is not a happy camper! I do understand the love of the patient and being an advocate for the patient, but it seems to me that MA's are getting worked like mules!Is there a union for MA's?

Your Professional Title/Credentials: Nurse

Are You Still In School? Yes

Are You Working? Yes

Re: Why the low pay????

RE: Needless to say she is not a happy camper!
There are thousands upon thousands who feel exactly the same. Many here do, too.

They will agree that medical assisting is a great profession and they love what they do. On the other hand, the very high expectations of employers with comparatively low hourly wages and refusal to grant benefits (paid vacation, maternity leave, health care, retirement plans, reimbursement for uniforms, continuing education, etc.) as well as lack of universal standards pertaining to the scope of practice for medical assistants everywhere is an issue that has frustrated many.

Your Professional Title/Credentials: Website Owner/Site Admin

Are You Still In School? no

Are You Working? yes

Re: Why the low pay????

Obviously your pay disparity will still be great, but I did want to point out that your friend most likely works in a physician office and it sounds like you work in a hospital. RNs in physician offices make less than hospital RNs, in general. As a trade off, they usually have weekends and holidays off, and avoid much of the hassle of floor nursing. So, if you worked as an RN in her office, you may find your salaries a little closer.

An ADN usually takes longer than 2 years, and a BSN takes at least 4 (not counting the waitlist). MA programs take at most 2 years. So the education takes longer, but as we all know, length of education does not necessarily have any effect on salary.

MAs do work hard, and have a lot of technical skills. They are taught basic anatomy and physiology, pharmacology, and clinical procedures. They are there for the physician to delegate tasks to. It is a way for the physician to save money, really, if we want to be blunt about it. Nurses cost more money so if they can train someone or employ someone with the training to do some of the clinical tasks that nurses used to do, it makes for a more profitable practice.

Nurses, most especially at the RN level, learn a whole lot more about patient care than an MA though. They can do assessments, assist in codes, write nursing care plans and nursing diagnoses, and so on....its more than being able to start an IV or perform a dressing change. Its knowing what to do before administering digoxin and NOT to give it under certain conditions even though the MD may have given the order, etc... But you know all of that. I don't think you were trying to equate an MA's job with your hospital RN job, but just wanted to make that point.

CNAs and PCTs work their butts off too.

I think a part of why the salary is low is that the work setting is desirable to many - good hours, climate controlled, its not bedside nursing, etc... The second part is that MA education is not standardized. Even EMT-Bs have a standardized curriculum. The AAMA is helping to standardize by granting the CMA to graduates only of approved programs, but as long as the Become an MA in 8 weeks! programs still exist, I believe the respect and salary will be pulled down.

Just my thoughts.....

Are You Still In School? not yet

Are You Working? yes - not as an MA

Re: Why the low pay????

That is a GREAT point... I feel like everything that I worked hard for (in my 2 year Associate Degree program) is worthless, when I see an employer hire a graduate from a "Become an MA in 8 Weeks!" program. I think these programs degrade, if you will, the integrity of the Medical Assisting profession.

Your Professional Title/Credentials: RMA, BMO