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Medical Assistant Schools in California

If you are interested in a lucrative healthcare career that involves working directly with doctors, nurses, and physician’s assistants in many different settings, becoming a medical assistant is a great choice. Medical assisting is an excellent entry-level healthcare career in California that offers a competitive salary and excellent job security, so if you want the opportunity to help others in doctor’s offices. clinics, hospitals, and other facilities, this is an excellent option. There are numerous medical assistant schools in California, and we have ranked the top 10 to help you choose the best one for your needs.

Type, Length & Tuition Cost of Medical Assisting Programs in California

Program Type Program Length Program Cost
Certificate 8 to 12 Months $3,020 - $33,610
Diploma 10 to 18 Months $4,660 - $41,300
Associate Degree Two Years $11,660 - $50,900

Why Select ABHES or CAHEEP Accredited Program?

When choosing a medical assistant program in CA, you should look for the one that is accredited by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) or the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAHEEP). These organizations set excellent standards for medical assisting education in California, and employers across the state look for candidates who have graduated from accredited programs.

10 Best Medical Assistant Programs in California for 2019

Our Ranking Methodology

1) American Career College Ranking Score: 98.57

Locations: Orange County, Los Angeles & Ontario

Accreditation: ABHES

Program Type: Diploma (9 Months)

Established in 1978, American Career College at three different locations (Orange County, Los Angeles, & Ontario) in California currently offers a 9-month accelerated medical assistant training program. This program is designed to help you gain skills, knowledge and confidence in both administrative and clinical procedures. Upon graduation you will be ready to establish a career in a medical office, physician clinic or other health care setting.

What will I Learn: You will learn to schedule appointments, prepare patients for exams, take medical histories, assist the physician with examination and procedures, record vital signs, perform lab tests and prepare & sterilize instruments.

The entire curriculum is divided into 4 modules. Prior to starting with the core class modules, you need to complete "Introduction to Healthcare class" module.

At the end of your coursework you will be undergoing 1200-hour externship at a local health care facility.

2) Chabot College Ranking Score: 96.23

Locations: Hayward

Accreditation: CAAHEP

Program Type: Certificate (35 Weeks) & A.A

Chabot College at its campus in Hayward is currently offering 2 medical assistant programs - Certificate course of 31 credits that will take 35 weeks to complete and an A.A degree of 60 credits that will take approximately 2 years. Both these programs with coursework that includes medication administration, electronic health record, medical terminology and disease process is aimed at preparing students with both administrative and clinical skills required to successfully work in an ambulatory care setting. You will also become eligible to sit for the AAMA Certified Medical Assistant exam.

Curriculum also includes:

Externship Experience: You will assist a physician in a health organization or clinic.

Clinical Experience Seminar: You will be able to discuss about experiences in a clinical setting.

3) Carrington College Ranking Score: 95.11

Locations: Citrus Heights, Pleasant Hill, Sacramento, San Jose, San Leandro, & Stockton

Accreditation: CAAHEP

Program Type: Certificate (Less than 1 year) & Associate Degree (Less than 2 years)

Carrington offers a certificate and an associate degree program in medical assisting at multiple locations in the state of California. Coursework in both these programs aims to train future medical assistants to become adept at handling clerical duties, record vital signs, perform diagnostic tests and basic clinical procedures.

As a student of Carrington, you will also enjoy other benefits being offered by the college such as student finance, tutoring, study groups and career services.

Upon graduation you should be able to seek employment in clinics, physician/s offices, hospitals and outpatient care settings.

4) Cabrillo College Ranking Score: 93.26

Locations: Aptos

Accreditation: CAAHEP

Program Type: Medical Assisting Certificate of Achievement

To keep up with the rising demand for healthcare in the Santa Cruz county, Cabrillo College offers an Accelerated Medical Assisting Program (AMAP) at its campus in Aptos. Before seeking admission into this program, you are required to complete MA70 Medical Terminology and an English course. You need to note that the college accepts only 30-35 students every semester.

This 3-semester full-time program with 2 start dates (Fall & Spring) is designed to provide skills and knowledge to help you succeed at work. The first semester focuses on math and writing skills and provides a good foundation for the core courses. As part of this program you will also undergo externship training to gain vital real-world experience.

Medical Assisting students of Cabrillo are in high demand with local employers.

5) City College of San Francisco Ranking Score: 92.87

Locations: San Francisco

Accreditation: CAAHEP

Program Type: Certificate & Associates of Science Degree

City College of San Francisco offers 2 medical assistant training programs in California.

Certificate: This is a short course aimed at preparing you for entry level positions. Upon completion of this four-semester course you will be able to:

• Handle administrative duties like billing, insurance, medical record management and bookkeeping & schedule appointments.

• Perform laboratory and diagnostic tests.

• Perform basic phlebotomy procedures.

• Efficiently use Electronic health record (EHR) applications.

• Prepare the patients and administer medication under the guidance and supervision of the physician.

• Adhere to OSHA regulations and practice infection control.

• Sit for the CMA exam.

• Sit for the Phlebotomy Technician Examination.

Associates of Science Degree: This course takes longer time to complete compared to the certificate and you will take all courses as in the certificate course and also additional courses with emphasis on organization and management and advanced computer applications

6) Cosumnes River College Ranking Score: 91.70

Locations: Sacramento

Accreditation: CAAHEP

Program Type: Certificates & A.S.

Cosumnes River College in Sacramento offers various certificates and an associate degree program for aspiring medical assistants.

Certificate Programs: Cosumnes offers three certificate programs.

Medical Insurance Billing: This course will prepare you to handle insurance and billing positions at a physician's office or ambulatory care setting.

Administrative: This course will help you become proficient in front office skills required to work in a healthcare setting.

Medical Assisting: This 48-week course which includes a clinical practicum will teach you both administrative and clinical procedures required to efficiently work as a medical assistant at a healthcare setting of your choice.

A.S: This comprehensive training covers administrative medical assisting, intercultural communication, human disease, pharmacology, clinical procedures, medical assisting practicum, human Development & Life Span Developmental Psychology.

7) Modesto Junior College Ranking Score: 91.40

Locations: Modesto

Accreditation: CAAHEP

Program Type: Certificate (8 Months) & A.S

Modesto Junior College offers 35.5 credits with a goal to prepare you in both front and back office procedure that will take you 8-months to complete. The program starts twice each year once in fall and the other in spring. Post completion of certificate program if you are interested in studying further you can earn an associate degree by completing the Career Technical Education Pathway or go for a nursing associate degree.

Post-graduation students can sit for the CMA exam and take up entry level positions in appropriate health care setting.

8) CBD College Ranking Score: 91.32

Locations: Los Angeles

Accreditation: ABHES

Program Type: Certificate (41 Weeks)

CBD College located in Los Angeles offers a 41-week med assisting program with flexible day (9.00 AM to 1.00 PM) and evening classes (6.00 PM to 10.00 PM). This program boasts of a high job placement rate, state of the art equipment and individualized attention with its small sized classes. The program aims to prepare you in all aspects of medical assisting with extensive classroom lectures and practical real-world experience.

Upon graduation you will be ready to take up and entry level position in a physician's office, medical clinic, ambulatory care setting, skilled nursing facility or a rehab center.

9) Pima Medical Institute Ranking Score: 90.89

Locations: Chula Vista & San Marcos

Accreditation: ABHES

Program Type: Certificate (9 Months)

You can start your career as a medical assistant by pursuing the 9-month med assisting course at Pima Medical Institute's two California locations in Chula Vista & San Marcos. The program trains you to assist the physician in a healthcare setting by efficiently performing basic back and front office procedures. Duties you will be trained in includes taking vital signs, perform electrocardiograms, sterilizing instruments, drawing blood, authorizing drug refills, processing insurance claims, preparing patents for examinations and procedures and basic accounting and bookkeeping.

Upon graduation you will be able to sit for the national certification examinations and take up entry level work in a physicians' office, clinic and outpatient medical facility.

10) American College of Healthcare Ranking Score: 89.6

Locations: Huntington Park & Riverside

Accreditation: ABHES

Program Type: Certificate (8 Months)

American College of Healthcare at its 2 campuses in Huntington Park & Riverside provides a medical assisting certificate course aimed at providing the basic front and back office skills and knowledge to help students take up work entry level work in an out-patient healthcare facility.

This 870-hour program's coursework will teach you medical terminology, anatomy, phlebotomy, medical office management and medication administration. You will also undergo live training in a healthcare setting to gain experience. The program enrolls students every month and has three schedules morning (8.00 AM - 1.00 PM) afternoon (1.00 PM - 6.00 PM) and evening (6.00 PM -11.00 PM).

Is Licensure or Certification for Medical Assistants Required to Work in California?


Certification Options Available in California

Certification Exam Cost Apply
Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) $125 Click Here
Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) $120 Click Here
Clinical Certified Medical Assistant (CCMA) $155 Click Here
Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) $117 Click Here
National Certified Medical Assistant (NCMA) $90 Click Here
California Certified Medical Assistant $145 Click Here
Many employers hire only CMAs, or Certified Medical Assistants, in order to provide excellent patient care. You may take the CMA examination through the American Association of Medical Assistants after completing an accredited medical assistant program. Post certification you need to earn continuing education units to maintain your CMA credential.

In California, you can also earn your certification through California Certifying Board for Medical Assistants, or CCBMA. To become certified, you must first complete an accredited medical assistant program in the state of CA or after working two to five years in the field, then apply for the exam via the CCBMA website. You must also be CPR certified at the time of your examination to qualify.

Average Salary for all Medical Assistants Working in California

The medical assistant salary in CA ranges from $25,050 to $52,400 each year depending on the city in which they work, their years of experience, their certifications, and any additional skills they may have. If you work in a large metropolitan area, such as Los Angeles or San Francisco, you will earn more than a medical assistant working in a more rural and less populated area. The average annual salary for medical assistants across the state is $36,630.

Type Salary Range Average Salary
Hourly $12.04 - $25.19 $17.61
Monthly $2,088 - $4,367 $3,053
Annual $25,050 - $52,400 $36,630
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2018)

Average Salary: California Vs National

California National Difference
$36,630 $33,580 +$3,050+9.08
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2018)

How Much More will I Earn with a CMA Certification?

Average Salary Difference
CMA NON -CMA Number %
$38,260 $36,630 +1,630 +4.45
(Source: In-House Research)

Annual Job Openings in California

Each year in CA, 12,720 new and replacement job openings for medical assistants become available. The vast majority of these openings are in general practitioners’ offices, clinics and hospitals, but experts anticipate some openings in specialty clinics such as chiropractors’ and podiatrists’ offices, as well.

NewReplacementProjected Annual Job Openings (New + Replacement)
(Source: Careeronestop.org)

Top 6 Cities in California to Work as a Medical Assistant

City Current Employment Hourly Wage Monthly Salary Annual Salary Annual Salary Range
Los Angeles 32,760 $17.36 $3,010 $36,120 $24,400 - $50,730
San Francisco 10,520 $20.87 $3,620 $43,420 $27,420 - $62,180
San Diego 8,120 $17.83 $3,090 $37,100 $27,190 - $49,400
Sacramento 5,830 $17.54 $3,040 $36,470 $26,140 - $49,720
San Jose 4,070 $21.02 $3,640 $43,720 $28,290 - $61,910
Fresno 2,650 $15.06 $2,610 $31,330 $23,730 - $40,100
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

10-Year Job Outlook in CA

With every passing year, as the population of CA grows, and as more people gain access to health coverage, the demand for medical professionals will continue to rise. Medical assistants are particularly in demand due to their ability to perform various clinical and administrative tasks that are important to doctors’ and nurses’ ability to provide ample care. Between the years of 2016 and 2026, experts estimate that some 24,800 new medical assistants will be required in CA, representing a significant growth of 29% across the state.

84,800 109,60024,800+ 29%
(Source: Careeronestop.org)

Important Medical Assisting Organizations in California

1. The California Certifying Board for Medical Assistants


The California Certifying Board for Medical Assistants, or CCMBA, is the state’s foremost provider of medical assistant certification. The group provides numerous resources to aspiring medical assistants, including exam study guides, tips, and more.

2. California Medical Assistants Association


The California Medical Assistants Association, or CMAA, focuses on advancing continuing education and certifications for medical assistants.

3. California Society of Medical Assistants


The California Society of Medical Assistants, or CSMA, is the CA state branch of the American Association of Medical Assistants. It oversees the profession at the state level and protects medical assistants’ right to practice while recognizing medical assistants who provide outstanding patient care.