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Medical Assistant Schools & Programs in California (CA)

The state of California, due to it’s size and population, provides endless chances for anyone already in or joining the medical assistant career field. Featuring some of the largest and most densely populated cities in the country, consequentially California also holds many opportunities for study and work for any field, but especially that of the medical community. The cost of living is high but is balanced by very high wages for medical assistants. The state also features some of the most prestigious universities in the nation for you to gain your degree and certification. Whether looking to work, learn, or play, any of California’s large cities can supply your every fancy.

Top 5 Cities

Sometimes we simply have to go where opportunity abounds. As one of the largest states in the nation, California not only is home to an incredible amount of people, but is features some of the most densely populated cities in the world. This means there are plenty of schools, hospitals and private practices, and ways to have fun on the west coast. Any well-balanced person should make time for work, study, and leisure. You’ll have no troubles achieving this in California.

As of 2013, the state of California is home to 38,332,521 people. This is literally an order of magnitude more than most other states in the country. The United States Census Bureau also provides population data on each city in the state. The top five most popular cities in California are the following:

  • Los Angeles (pop. 3,792,621)
  • San Diego (pop. 1,301,617)
  • Santa Clara (pop. 945,942)
  • San Francisco (pop. 805,235)
  • Fresno (pop. 494,665)

Los Angeles itself is home to such a large number of people that it out populates most of the New England states. The other cities are relatively just as large, ensuring medical assistant employees and students that their goals and needs can be met in California.

Medical Assistant Salary in California

As a frame of reference to the discussion on the average California medical assistant salary, the Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the annual wages on average across the nation for a medical assistant is just under $31,000 dollars. For California, it has been determined that the average salary is much higher at $47,430 dollars per year. What accounts for this 53% difference in pay?

The reason for the positive discrepancy in pay in California versus other parts of the nation is related to the cost of living in the state. Payscale.com has determined that the cost of living overall in California is 50% higher than the national average. This means that, all things being made equal, medical assistants in California earn 3% more on average than they would in other states.

Another positive aspect about this career in a highly populated area and any area in general is that it is a growing field. As our populations grow, more people need medical attention and the demands in the field continue to rise. As a medical assistant, you will have job security and opportunities for sure. But before you can work in the field, you have to study and graduate from an accredited college.

Medical Assistant Schools in California

The medical field is highly regulated by many agencies who oversee and grant certificates and licenses, demand observational and clinical hours, and more. This means that, to obtain your medical assistant certification in California, you have to attend an accredited school that legally can issue you a certification upon the completion and graduation from your studies. California offers you some of the most prestigious and coveted universities in the nation and world.

Of these top colleges, Stanford University is an easily recognizable Ivy League school. Enrollment at Stanford will cost a California resident $15,000 just for the base tuition on an annual basis. Non-residents can always expect to pay two to three times as much. A bit less expensive but equally prestigious is the University of California, Berkeley, costing $13,000 for a year’s worth of tuition. Having a degree from either of these schools is certain to impress.

The University of California has more campuses than just at Berkeley. Other high-level options include the Los Angeles and San Diego campuses. At UCLA, in-state tuition will provide you with $14,000 dollars worth of learning. The same goes for UCSD. Non-residents will pay $36,000 annually to attend these two schools.

If the costs of the above colleges didn’t surprise you in some fashion, perhaps the cost of tuition at the University of Southern California will. Attending USC for one year will cost a student $49,000 just for tuition alone. This is to say nothing of room and board, books and supplies, transportation, groceries, etc. If you want to be the best, it will cost you a premium price.

Remember that these prices don’t reflect the fact that medical assistants in California earn more money than the rest of the nation. This money is accounted for in the much higher cost of living as well. These are just highly respected, authoritative universities. Wooing employers with a degree from one of these schools is a wonderful advantage if you can afford it.


There are many reasons to choose California as your home state to work and study. It is a beautiful, multi-cultural hub of excitement and adventure. There are countless people in need of medical attention there every day, ensuring that you can find employment at the advantageous salary rates afforded you. But remember, the cost of living is much higher than the rest of the United States and the prestigious colleges are incredible expensive. Working in California after obtaining your education is one consideration, but studying there will require extra care and budgeting. It can be totally worth it, positioning you with a great degree from a respected university. California, in this sense, is the land of opportunity for medical assistants.