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 below we have ranked the top 25 to help you choose the best one for your needs.
Why Should You Select an ABHES or CAHEEP Accredited Medical Assisting Program in California?
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.
Following are the 25 Best Medical Assistant Programs in California for 2023
Locations: Antelope Valley, Atascadero, Bakersfield, Delano, Fresno, Hanford, Madera, Modesto, Ontario, Porterville, Rancho Mirage, Santa Maria, Temecula, Victor Valley, & Visalia
Program Type: Certificate (8 months) & Associate of Science Degree (15 months)
California offers bright prospects to medical assistants and seemingly so, they are earning some of the highest salaries in the nation. If you find a calling in this career, then San Joaquin Valley College’s medical assisting training prepares you with two program options, a certificate, and an associate degree. You can take either of these programs through the distance format or face-to-face classes. Both these programs train you in clinical and administrative duties through theoretical learning and hands-on experiences. Vital professional skills that you learn include front office management, billing processes, taking vital signs, collecting blood samples and performing emergency procedures under the supervision of a physician.
2) De Anza College
Program Type: Certificate of Achievement-Advanced (18 months) & Associate in Science (18 months)
De Anza College is one of the few medical assistant schools in California that apart from its traditional medical assisting certificate and associate in science program, also offers specialized short health care courses. Both, the certificate and associate degree programs train you in clinical and administrative skills and are offered on a full-time (18 months) as well as a part-time basis (two-years), allowing you the flexibility to choose your convenient schedule. On the other hand, the short-specialized health care certificate courses in medical reception, medical file clerk, medical secretary, medical transcribing, insurance coding and phlebotomy span anywhere from six to twelve months. So, depending on your interests and career goals you can decide on taking either the comprehensive medical assistant training or opt for the short health care courses. All the programs prepare you to work in physician’s offices, out-patient departments, health centers, and medical facilities.
Locations: Mission Viejo
Program Type: Comprehensive Medical Assistant Certificate, Administrative Medical Assistant Certificate, & Clinical Medical Assistant Certificate
If you are a high school student looking at becoming a medical assistant, then Saddleback College provides students with professional training that combines hands-on experiences with coursework that is in tune with the latest trends in medical care. You can opt for either the comprehensive certificate course that trains you in both, the clinical and administrative functions or if the administrative duties of medical assisting interest you, then you can pursue the administrative certificate. Alternatively, the college also offers a clinical certificate course that focuses on the clinical functions carried out at a physician’s office. Regardless of the program you choose, the coursework includes an externship that allows you to practice skills in a clinical setting.
Locations: Santa Ana
Program Type: Certificate & Associate Degree
A career as a medical assistant in the state of California is quite lucrative as not only is it in growing demand but can also used as a stepping-stone to other healthcare careers. Santa Ana College’s medical assistant training is offered through its certificate and associate degree programs that cover both, the clinical and administrative functions. The medical assisting certificate takes two semesters to complete, while the associate degree takes an additional two semesters as it also includes general education courses. Additionally, apart from the national certification for medical assisting, you can also earn a certified phlebotomy status by completing a hybrid basic course in phlebotomy. This dual certification can broaden your employment avenues and even fetch you comparably higher salaries.
Locations: Santa Rosa
Program Type: Certificate (one year)
Santa Rosa Junior College aims at preparing medical assisting graduates to work in a variety of clinical settings. Students are taught by an experienced faculty who deliver coursework that is designed in consultation with industry experts. Practical skills are enhanced through extensive experiential learning at its simulation lab and clinical sites in neighboring areas. This certificate program covers both, the clinical and administrative aspects and trains you to be a competent and ethical entry-level medical assistant. Besides, the support services offered by the college that include financial aid, career development, and scholarship opportunities further make your journey as a student a rather seamless one. Upon completion of the program, you can either kick start your career or transfer credits towards an associate degree and pursue higher education.
Locations: Orange County, Los Angeles, & Ontario
Program Type: Diploma (9 Months)
Established in 1978, the American Career College is one of the popular medical assistant schools in southern California. The 9-month accelerated diploma training is designed to help you gain professional skills and knowledge in both, administrative and clinical procedures. Upon graduation, you will be ready to establish a career in a medical office, physician clinic or any other health care setting. 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 learning units or modules. At the end of your coursework, you will undergo a 200-hour externship at a local health care facility.
Locations: Citrus Heights, Pleasant Hill, Sacramento, San Jose, San Leandro, & Stockton
Program Type: Certificate (9 months) & Associate Degree (16 months)
Carrington’s several locations spread across California make it feasible for an aspiring student to become a medical assistant in the Golden State as they can, well, find a campus not too far from home. The college’s accelerated career-ready training emphasizes on courses that can be immediately applied to the workplace. Both, the certificate and associate degree program aim to train future medical assistants to become adept at handling clerical duties, recording vital signs, performing diagnostic tests and basic clinical procedures. Additionally, the associate degree also includes general education courses in English, computer literacy and social sciences, providing you with a broader learning base. Besides, as a student of Carrington, you also enjoy benefits such as student finance, tutoring, study groups, and career services.
Locations: Garden Grove, North Hollywood, San Bernardino, & San Diego
Program Type: Diploma (Garden Grove & San Diego – (8 months), North Holywood & San Bernardino – (9 months))
Medical assisting education at Concorde Career College is designed taking-into-account the latest medical-care practices and standards across the nation. In a short span of eight months, the college prepares students with both, the clinical and administrative functions through a well-designed curriculum that focuses on the practical aspects of this career. The coursework teaches you to examine patients, provide first aid and CPR, infection control, assist the physicians during the treatment of patients and process patient records. To enhance your practical skills, the college pairs you up with appropriate clinical sites to complete the externship which forms an integral part of your learning. Concorde also offers financial aid opportunities to eligible students, so ensure you explore these possibilities.
Locations: West Covina, Riverside, Santa Ana, Pomona, Long Beach, Glendale, Anaheim, & Van Nuys
Program Type: Diploma (9 months)
North-West College’s nine-month medical assisting diploma offers the option of taking classes during the day or evening. With classes starting throughout the year, you can begin the program whenever you are ready. The coursework is divided into eight classes that train you for entry and mid-level medical assisting responsibilities. Courses you take will include medical front office, medical insurance and coding, communications, office procedures, lab and EKG and an internship. You also go through a seminar to develop career-ready skills. Apart from this comprehensive diploma that includes courses in clinical and administrative functions, the college also offers a medical administrative assistant and a medical insurance biller & coder program that you can pursue, depending on your interests.
10) UEI College
Locations: Anaheim, Bakersfield, Chula Vista, Encino, Fresno, Gardena, Huntington Park, Ontario, Riverside, San Marcos, Stockton, West Covina, & Sacramento
Program Type: Certificate (10 months)
In ten months, UEI College helps you master skills in front and back-office functions that are carried on at a physician’s office. The college is equipped with an experienced faculty that shares their professional experiences and insights with students and helps them succeed in their careers. This medical assisting program in California teaches you administrative functions, basic anatomy and physiology, infection control, medical management pharmacology, office emergencies, and clinical medical assisting functions. Towards the end of your coursework, you complete an externship where you apply the professional knowledge in a real-world setting. Program graduates are successfully working in labs, clinics, insurance companies, and physician’s offices across the state.
11) Mayfield College
Locations: Cathedral City
Program Type: Certificate (40 Weeks)
The medical assisting program at Mayfield College is a certificate course of 40 weeks. The program covers the clinical and administrative functions of an entry-level medical assistant. With a combination of simulation learning and real-world practical experiences at local hospitals, you will master the professional skills required to work in any kind of clinical settings. Mayfield’s small-sized classes, supportive faculty, active career services, and financial aid opportunities make this college a conducive place for students to successfully reach their academic goals. Additionally, if direct patient care is not your cup of tea, then the college offers a medical front office program that focuses only on the front office duties of medical billing and coding, processing of insurance claims, and medical laws and ethics.
Locations: Chula Vista & San Marcos
Program Type: Certificate (9 Months)
You can start your medical assisting training in CA by pursuing the 9-month course at Pima Medical Institute that prepares you to assist the physician in any kind of healthcare setting by efficiently performing basic back and front office procedures. Duties you will be trained in, include, taking vital signs, performing electrocardiograms, sterilizing instruments, drawing blood, authorizing drug refills, processing insurance claims, preparing patients for examinations and procedures, and basic accounting and bookkeeping. Upon graduation, you will be eligible to sit for the national certification examinations and take up an entry-level job in a physicians’ office, clinic or outpatient medical facility.
Locations: Concord, Fresno, Modesto, Sacramento, San Mateo, & Van Nuys
Program Type: Certificate (9 Months)
As a high school graduate if your interest lies in the health care field, then completing the medical assisting certificate program at Gurnick Academy of Medical Arts can get you started with your career in just nine months. The comprehensive coursework that covers back and front office duties is delivered through 220 hours of didactic classes, 351 hours of simulation learning and 180 hours of clinical externship at a local healthcare facility. Additionally, to add to the learning experience, students are expected to immediately apply the newly acquired theoretical knowledge to practice through outside practical work assignments.
14) Cabrillo College
Program Type: Medical Assisting Certificate of Achievement
Medical assistants in California earn higher salaries compared to anywhere in the nation. If you are keen on entering this fulfilling healthcare career then you can consider Cabrillo College’s certificate program, offered in an accelerated format. Before applying to this program, you must complete a course in Medical Terminology and English. This medical assistant program in CA starts with an orientation and foundation course. The three-semester full-time coursework is designed to provide skills and knowledge to help you succeed in your job as a medical assistant. Offered sequentially, your coursework includes courses in clinical skills, medical law and ethics, and healthcare communication. Additionally, you will also undergo externship training to gain vital real-world experience. Graduates of this program are known for their professional preparedness and have been in demand with local employers.
15) Chabot College
Program Type: Certificate (35 Weeks) & A.A (2 years)
Chabot College prepares students for a career in medical assisting with two different program options. While the certificate can be completed sooner, the associate is well-rounded and takes two years to complete. Both these programs include courses in medication administration, electronic health records, medical terminology & disease process and aim at preparing students with both administrative and clinical skills required to successfully work in an ambulatory care setting. To hone your professional skills, you will undergo an externship at a health clinic. Furthermore, you will participate in a clinical seminar where you analyze and discuss your clinical learning experience with faculty and peers. Upon completion of the program, you will be eligible to sit for the AAMA Certified Medical Assistant exam.
Locations: San Francisco
Program Type: Certificate & Associates of Science Degree
City College of San Francisco is a medical assistant college in California that offers two program options for those keen on a career in allied healthcare, so depending on your career goals, you can decide on either the certificate or an associate degree offered by the college. While the certificate serves you well for a career as a medical assistant, the associate degree is ideal if you desire a well-rounded education as it also includes general education courses. Both programs teach you about administrative functions, lab procedures, and diagnostic tests. The coursework also includes courses in organization & management and advanced computer applications. Graduates are well versed with billing, insurance, medical record management and bookkeeping & scheduling appointments, basic phlebotomy procedures and the use of Electronic Health Record. Adherence to OSHA regulations and infection control is also taught as part of your coursework. Regardless of whether you complete the certificate or associate, you will be eligible to take CMA and Phlebotomy Technician exam.
17) CBD College
Locations: Los Angeles
Program Type: Certificate (41 Weeks)
CBD College is a non-profit institution that offers a 41-week medical assisting program with flexible day and evening classes, allowing you to easily accommodate the new academic timetable into your schedule. This certificate program boasts of a high job placement rate, state of the art equipment, and individualized attention with its small-sized classes. It aims to prepare you in all aspects of medical assisting with extensive classroom lectures and practical experiences. The last module of the coursework entails applying professional knowledge in a clinical facility under the expert supervision of surgeons and nurses. Upon graduation, you will be ready to take up entry-level positions at a physician’s office, medical clinic, ambulatory care setting, skilled nursing facility or a rehab center.
18) Milan Institute
Locations: Visalia, Merced, Palm Desert, Fresno, & Bakersfield
Program Type: Certificate (36 Weeks)
Milan Institute prepares you for a medical assisting career within a short time of four months. Thanks to its strong focus on career-ready skills, graduates of the college are in strong demand with employers across the region. This certificate program teaches you the administrative and clinical functions that are required while assisting a physician. The industry-ready curriculum and career assistance services ensure students make a smooth transition from college to the workplace. Additionally, there is also an option of completing training to become an administrative medical assistant that prepares you to manage the front office duties at offices of physicians, podiatrists, and chiropractors.
Program Type: Certificate (8 Months) & A.S
Medical Assisting education at Modesto Junior College comes with two options, a certificate, and an associate degree. While the certificate can get you started with your career in just eight months, the associate degree takes longer to complete. Both programs train you to take the national certification exam and become a Certified Medical Assistant. The curriculum focuses on the foundations of clinical practice, communication skills, medical business practices, medical law & ethics, and safety policies & practices to avoid injury and illness. Post-graduation students can take up entry-level positions at appropriate health care settings.
Program Type: Certificates & A.S.
A career as a medical assistant can not only be promising in itself but also serves as a foundation for higher-paying careers such as a Physician Assistant or Medical Administration. To cater to individual career goals, Cosumnes River College offers three certificate courses and an associate degree with rigorous didactic classes and lab training sessions. While the certificate comes with specialty options in Medical Insurance Billing, Administrative Medical Assistant, and Clinical & Administrative Medical Assistant, the associate degree is comprehensive and covers both, the front and back-office functions. If you plan on career advancement in the future, it is recommended that you complete the associate program. Regardless of the option you choose, your training also includes a minimum of 180 hours of externship at area health care centers.
Program Type: Certificate (38 weeks)
Downey Adult School’s medical assisting training can serve your busy life schedule rather well as the program is offered with flexible full-time and part-time options where you can take classes either during the day, morning, afternoon or evening. The program also includes training in EKG and lab procedures, apart from human anatomy, physiology, measurement of vitals, administration of medications and injections, bandaging and urinalysis. You also learn about the clerical functions that include record keeping and customer service. Towards the end of the program, you complete an externship that provides the real-time experience of working in a clinical setting. Program graduates are successfully pursuing health care careers as entry-level medical assistants, ER technicians, and lab technicians.
Locations: Huntington Park, Riverside, & Santa Ana
Program Type: Diploma (9 Months)
When you graduate from the American College of Healthcare’s medical assisting program, you become adept at handling the front and back-office functions of an out-patient healthcare facility. This diploma 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 real-world experience. The program enrolls students every month and offers three schedules to choose from – morning, afternoon and evening. Upon graduation, you should be able to seek employment in clinics, physician’s offices, hospitals, and outpatient care settings.
23) West Valley College
Program Type: Certificate & Degree
West Valley College offers a certificate and an associate degree in medical assisting that prepare you to fulfill the front and back-office responsibilities at a physician’s office. While the certificate requires completion of 42 credits, the associate degree with its 60-credit curriculum is more well-rounded. The additional 18 credit hours in general education courses are aimed at enhancing communication and critical thinking skills. An internship also forms a part of your coursework for which you must hold an active CPR certificate. Additionally, the college also offers a certificate course in the medical administrative assisting that focuses only on the front office functions of a medical facility.
Locations: Costa Mesa
Program Type: Certificate (10 Months) & A.S.
Orange Coast College aims at preparing students for a medical assisting career through its certificate, and associate degree program. While both programs equip you with the requisite clinical and clerical skills, the associate degree is preferred by those who aspire career advancement through higher education. The certificate program starts in fall and admits a maximum of 24 students each year, upon completion of which, interested students can opt for the associate degree completion. If you aspire to enter this college, it is recommended that you take Math and Science in high school to lay a strong base for the medical assisting courses. Program graduates will be eligible to take the certification exam to become a certified medical assistant.
Program Type: Certificate (33-week)
A medical assistant is a significant member of a healthcare team and what better opportunity than to complete your training in a short duration and embark on this career. The 33-week medical assisting certificate program from Charles A. Jones Career and Education Center prepares you with clinical and customer service skills without making you pay through the nose. The coursework entails completing 990 hours in front office and back-office courses as well as an externship at a medical facility. Customer service, medical terminology, anatomy & physiology, EHR Sim Chart, typing, EMR, insurance, billing & coding, CPR/first aid, and malpractice insurance are some of the courses you take that prepare you for a successful allied health career as well as the certification exam.
How Many Schools in California are Currently Offering Medical Assisting Programs?
How Long are Medical Assistant Programs in California?
|Program Type||Program Length|
|Certificate||8 to 12 Months|
|Diploma||10 to 18 Months|
|Associate Degree||Two Years|
How Much Do Medical Assistant Programs Cost in California?
|Program Type||Program Cost|
|Certificate||$3,020 – $33,610|
|Diploma||$4,660 – $41,300|
|Associate Degree||$11,660 – $50,900|
What are the 5 Best Medical Assistant Programs in California?
1) San Joaquin Valley College
2) De Anza College
3) Saddleback College
4) Santa Ana College
5) Santa Rosa Junior College
Is Licensure or Certification for Medical Assistants Required to Work in California?
Options for Medical Assistant Certification in California
|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 California 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.
Medical Assistant Average Salary in California
The medical assistant salary in CA ranges from $25,600 to $55,830 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 $38,250.
|Type||Salary Range||Average Salary|
|Hourly||$12.31 – $26.84||$18.39|
|Monthly||$2,130 – $4,650||$3,190|
|Annual||$25,600 – $55,830||$38,250|
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2019)
Average MA Salary Comparison: California Vs National
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2019)
How Much More Do Certified Medical Assistants Make in California?
|(Source: In-House Research)|
Annual Job Openings for MAs 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.
|New||Replacement||Projected Annual Job Openings (New + Replacement)|
Top 6 Cities to Work as a Medical Assistant in California
|City||Current Employment||Hourly Wage||Monthly Salary||Annual Salary||Annual Salary Range|
|Los Angeles||33,280||$17.75||$3,080||$36,920||$24,340 – $52,840|
|San Francisco||11,960||$21.94||$3,800||$45,640||$28,490 – $62,820|
|San Diego||7,350||$18.49||$3,200||$38,450||$28,150 – $51,410|
|Sacramento||6,340||$19.32||$3,350||$40,180||$27,300 – $58,260|
|San Jose||4,410||$21.09||$3,660||$43,870||$28,860 – $61,630|
|Fresno||2,900||$16.40||$2,840||$34,110||$25,700 – $45,230|
|(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.
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.
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