If you’re looking for a career as a medical assistant, California might be a good place to start your job search. The average salary range for California medical assistants is higher than the salary ranges are in other states. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average medical assistant in California made $31,260 in 2010.
California also employs significantly more medical assistants than any other state. In 2010, 83,000 people worked as medical assistants in this state. The state with the next highest representation of medical assistants is Texas, with 48,030 medical assistants in 2010. Texas medical assistants, however, made $27,860 on average, which is $3,400 less than those in California.
Medical assistants help physicians with a number of tasks. They’ll likely conduct interviews with patients, and determine patients’ vital signs, which include pulse, temperature, weight, height and blood pressure. Medical assistants will also likely be asked to draw blood and prepare samples for analysis. Other potential job requirements include arranging scheduling, filing medical records, billing and communicating with health insurance companies. Medical assistants are generally required to have a high school diploma as well as a medical assistant’s certificate. This position is entry level though, so salaries tend to increase with experience.
California medical assistants make, on average, between $9.73 and $18.36 per hour. This equates between $20,238 and $38,188 per year. For the most part, the range in salaries is based on experience. The national average salary range for medical assistants is $8.46 to $14.68 for less than one year of experience. This increases to $9.26 to $15.09 after a year. After five years, medical assistants can expect to make between $10.68 and $17.04. After ten years, the range increases to $11.25 to $18.76. For the most experienced medical assistants nationwide, the salary range is $12.09 to $19.86.
Another determining factor for medical assistants' salaries in California is the area of health care in which assistants work. Most medical assistants in California work in physicians offices, with an average salary of $30,110. Medical assistants who work in substance abuse clinics in California make much more than this. Their average salary is $39,220. Medical assistants who work in dental offices make the next highest average salary, which was $36,880 in 2010.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates excellent job prospects for medical assistants. Employment in this field is expected to grow much faster than the average; it is expected to grow by 34 percent between 2008 and 2018. As the number of clinics, practices and other healthcare entities grow in the coming years, the need for medical assistants will grow with it. Those seeking jobs in this field in the coming years should have no trouble finding them.
A career as a medical assistant in California can be rewarding and well paying. If you like assisting physicians and can envision yourself collecting vital signs and blood samples as a career, you might want to consider this medical career path. And if you do, California seems to be the best place to search for work.