California is one of the most populous states in the US. California is the third-largest state by area, with Los Angeles being the most populous city. Because of the ever-increasing population, California is considered the best geographical location for medical assistants.
According to the Medical Board of California, Medical Assistants are only authorized to perform technical or straightforward services under the supervision of a licensed Nurse practitioner, physician assistant, surgeon or podiatrist.
To become a medical assistant in California, one must be adequately trained and qualified to perform the job. The basic steps one must fulfil includes:
- Receiving training from recognized institution by the Medical Board of California
- Earn Medical Assistant Certification
- Receive Training in injections
- Must have pursued a Medical Assisting job with one of California’s top employers.
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How Much Does a Medical Assistant Make in California?
Due to California’s large population, there is an ever-growing demand for healthcare facilities, which means that Medical Assistants have high demand.
According to data from the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of March 28, 2019, Medical Assistants in California received an average median salary of $38 287.
The best-paid medical assistants in the upper quartile took home $41,540, while the lowest-paid in the lower quartile take $30 640.
According to the U.S BLS, the salary ranges vary from city to city and depend on many factors, including the education level, experience, certifications, unique skills, cost of living in the state, and many other factors.
The job description of medical assistants in California includes assisting in examining, interviewing patients, measuring vital signs such as pulse rate, temperature, blood pressure, and ensuring general hygiene of a healthcare facility.
Average Medical Assistant Hourly Wage & Benefits in California
You won’t be an overnight millionaire working as a medical assistant, but the hourly package is very handsome. Medical Assistants earn an average hourly wage of $15.02, which is 8% above the national average. The hourly wages fall in the range of $9.02 to $16.87.
Among the benefits medical assistants receive: health insurance, paid time off, and a retirement/pension plan. The tenure for a Certified Medical Assistant is less than one year, but under special occasions, the tenure can be extended up to two years.
Best Paying Medical Assistant Companies in California
- Medley Certified Medical Assistant: – Pays Medical Assistants an average salary of $25.57 per hour.
- Sutter Health Certified Medical Assistant: – Medical Assistants earn $24.43 per hour.
- County of San Mateo:-Pays $22.92 per hour
- Rady Children’s Hospital: – Pays $18.70 per hour
- Adventist Health Certified Medical Assistant: – Pays $18.34.
- The CSI Companies Certified Medical Assistant: Pays $17.80.
But to land an opportunity in such a field, you should possess some technical skills and have empathy for helping sick people. You should also have amazing skills in vital duties such as taking signs like blood pressure and pulse rate, temperature, and documentation.
As a Medical Assistant, there are several options available for you, such as clinical roles, administrative roles or working with a specialist such as a dental doctor. But those working in a general or surgical hospital would have a higher hourly rate than other practitioners in the field.
Education & Training for Medical Assistants in California
How do you become a medical assistant in California? Do you know the kinds of training, diploma or degree you should possess? Well, to work as a medical assistant in California, there are some certifications you should have to demonstrate your competency.
This means that you must enroll in an accredited medical assisting program to train and test for your skills through intense interviews and rigorous examinations.
The California Certifying Board for Medical Assistants is the popular body that issues certifications for Medical Assistants.
In California, there are a lot of roles Medical Assistants can do, among them:
- Taking a patient’s vital signs such as blood pressure, height, weight, temperature etc.
- Administering vaccinations.
- Screening vision/hearing
- Conducting blood transfusion
However, there are some procedures a California medical assistant is not supposed to perform, such as: inserting a catheter, administering chemotherapy, and other technical duties.
In California, you can start a career as a medical assistant only if you have a high school degree or equivalent. Moreover, you must have some background in biological sciences such as biology, chemistry, anatomy, and much more.
After joining a college, you must complete either one or two years of training in a certified community college or any certified technical school. Upon successful completion of the two-year program, you will be eligible to receive an associate’s degree, which will enable you to do some lab work.
You can then receive certification from the California Certifying Board for Medical Assistants. But other bodies can give such certifications, such as the American Association of Medical Assistants and the National Health Career Association.
The Future of the Job Outlook for California Medical Assistants
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs for medical assistants are expected to increase by 40% between 2020 and 2025 due to the growing population of both the elderly and baby boomers.
This growth rate is three times higher than the national average of 14 percent for all occupations, and experts say that the growth has been stimulated by the launching of new healthcare facilities, which requires the HR managers to hire more medical assistants.
How Medical Assistant Experience Level Affects Their Pay in California
In California, experience is a critical factor that directly affects the pay structure. An entry-level Medical Assistant and an experienced Medical Assistant with more than five years of experience earn different compensation. The gap can go to the tune of $10,000.
The average compensation for an entry-level Medical Assistant in California is $28,000. However, the figure might be higher than that if we include bonus and overtime pay.
A mid-career experience Medical Assistant whose employment experience ranges from 2-8 years can expect to earn average compensation of $36 700.
An experienced Medical Assistant whose employment history ranges above ten years to 20 years can expect to earn average total compensation of $42,000.
A Medical Assistant with late-career experience, whose employment history is more significant than 20 years, can get average compensation of $48,000.
Job Description for Medical Assistant in California
Medical Assistants mostly work in a doctor’s office, hospitals, or medical clinics. Their roles in such healthcare facilities include preparing treatment rooms, sterilizing medical equipment, walking patients in treatment rooms, interviewing patients, and administrative tasks such as receiving patient’s complaints, handling phone calls, writing down patient’s information, keeping medical records and much more.
Best Paying Cities For Medical Assistants In California
The employment type in LA is a mix, and the total number of Medical Assistants employed is slightly above 25,000. The mean annual wage in Los Angeles is $19.46, and the annual Mean Wage is $38,410.
Total Medical Assistants employed is approximately 8,980. The mean hourly wage is $17.53, and the annual mean wage is $36 340.
The total MAs employed is 7600. The mean hourly wage is $18.76, and the annual mean wage is $37,190.
The total MAs employed is 6,100. The mean hourly wage is $20.74. The annual mean wage is $41,840.
The total number of medical assistants employed is 4 200. The mean hourly wage is $21.70. The annual mean wage is $45 130.
The total number of medical assistants employed is 4,600. The mean hourly wage is $21. 65. The annual mean wage is $35 100.
The total number of medical assistants employed is 900. The mean hourly wage is $20.90, and the annual mean wage is $43 470.
How Can Medical Assistants Earn Certifications in California?
Nearly all employers in California require Medical Assistants to be certified by an approved certifying organization. California provides certification for MAs through the Medical Board of California.
However, other national certifying bodies exist, which medical assistants can use as alternatives to the Medical Board of California.
As of 2018, California recognized three national certifications:
- California Certifying Board for Medical Assistants(CCMA)
- American Medical Technologist (AMT
- Registered Medical Assistant (RMA)
The CCMA Exam
The California Certifying Board for Medical Assistants is the veteran certifying body that has been in existence since 1990. The body has been administering the CCMA exam, which tests basic skills, administrative skills, and clinical skills.
A new applicant is required to take the Basic examination and either the Administrative or Clinical speciality examination. To become certified, an aspiring medical assistant must pass both the Basic examination and at least one of the speciality examinations.
There are some eligibilities for candidates who wish to sit for the CCMA examination.
First, one must ensure they hold a current CPR certification.
Secondly, one must have an outstanding employment history as a medical assistant from a licensed physician in the U.S.
Lastly, one must have graduated from a MA program through an accredited U.S. institution within the last year.
Medical Assistants salary comparison in California
The following list ranks the highest to the lowest paid medical assistants according to the department they work:
Pharmacy Technician $31k
Veterinary Technologist $29k
Dental Assistant $29k
Physical Therapist Assistant $28k
Medical Assistant $28k
Personal Care Aide $25k
Veterinary Assistant $22k
Home Health Aide $22k