Why do medical assistants get paid so little?

I started my first job at an ophthalmologists office and am only getting paid 10/hr I honestly don’t see how I’m going to be able to live on that. I feel like i wasted a year of my life going to school for this. I don’t see why I’m making the same amount as someone who is flipping burgers at Mcdonalds. what’s the deal? I have a friend who went to school for the same amount of time as i did and she said she is making 28/hr as an LPN. just starting too! ugh so unfair. I planned on going to nursing school next year but with a salary like this i don’t see it happening i think I’m stuck. I really do not see how someone can live on 10 and hour.
When did I say I was a nurse?

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  1. I hope this doesn’t sound too blunt – as a medical assistant, you are not a nurse.

  2. just juli says:

    Well, you might be making the same as someone flipping burgers, but I guarantee your working environment is much more pleasant and you don’t come home smelling like fried grease. You most likely have better health insurance benefits and better working conditions. Stay with the current practice for at least a year and then start looking at other practices or specialties.

  3. Diane A says:

    Because that was exactly the role the job was created for: someone to provide LOW cost medical assistance to the physician, so that is what MAs do and are paid for. They are unlicensed and generally have no liability. Next time, do more research on what you want to be: there is plenty of info out there about salaries, duties and working conditions. MAs are discussed here a lot as well.

  4. Gata de Barrio says:

    For better or worse the degree is mostly a little bit more than a clinical secretary and it’s a dime a dozen degree with MA graduates popping everywhere. At least you are able to shadow the doctor at the practice and watch interesting eye procedures but you are not qualified to be a nurse. At least you have a bit of job security and could look for other offices elsewhere in hopes of being paid a little bit more but don’t have very high hopes.