California Occupational Guides

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         What Would I Do?
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Summary Guide for

Medical Assistants in California

May also be called: Certified Medical Assistants (CMA); Medical Office Assistants; Optometric Assistants; Clinical Assistants; Registered Medical Assistants; Certified Ophthalmic Technicians; Chiropractor Assistants; and Ophthalmic Assistants.

What Would I Do?

Medical Assistants greet patients in medical offices or other medical settings where they help doctors with examinations and treatment.

Medical Assistants usually work in pleasant, well-lit, and air-conditioned offices.

Will This Job Fit Me?

Medical Assistants frequently show social traits.

What Wages and Benefits Can I Expect?

The median wage in 2016 for Medical Assistants in California is $34,518 annually, or $16.60 hourly. The median is the point at which half of the workers earn more and half earn less.

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Annual Wages for 2016Low
(25th percentile)
(50th percentile)
(75th percentile)
Source: EDD/LMID Occupational Employment Statistics Survey, 2016 Wages do not reflect self-employment.
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Benefits normally include paid vacation, holiday, and sick leave. Many Assistants also enjoy employer-paid health and dental insurance, and retirement plans.

What is the Job Outlook?

Medical Assistants are one of the fastest growing occupations in California. They will continue to be in high demand through the projections period.

How Do I Qualify?

In today’s employment environment, most employers prefer Medical Assistants who have graduated from medical assisting training programs. These programs can be found in community colleges or private vocational colleges. Programs can last one or two years. One-year programs generally result in a certificate if the program is successfully completed. If a two-year course is pursued in a community college, an associate degree can result.

Medical Assistants are not licensed, certified, or registered by the State of California. However, some employers require Assistants be certified by a national or private association.

Employers may hire applicants who have no experience or training, and then train them on the job. Completion of a Medical Assistant training program may make it easier to find a job in this field.

Finding a Job

Direct contact with employers is a traditional means to finding a job as a Medical Assistant. College placement offices, company recruiting events, job fairs, and online job search sites are also good places to look. Career associations sometimes offer job openings on their Web sites.  Online job opening systems include JobCentral at and CalJOBSSM at

To find your nearest One-Stop Career Center, go to Service Locator. View the helpful job search tips for more resources. (requires Adobe Reader).

Learn More About Medical Assistants