Career prospects for the field of Medical Assisting are great no matter where you live, but in California the outlook is even rosier than most. Average salaries for Medical Assistant jobs in California are 7% higher than the national average and rank 7th highest in the entire nation. We love those numbers, and if you like them too, here are the top 10 medical assistant schools in California to get you started.
Medical Assistant Schools in Los Angeles
Southern California Health Institute (SOCHi)
L.A. is home to SOCHi, a health practices school founded in the mid-1990s. They specialize in European Medical Massage Therapy but offer programs in all sorts of therapeutic therapies. To complement those programs, they also offer a program in Medical Billing and Coding. It’s one of the more lengthy programs you’ll see: 900 hours. Students are trained in billing, intake, and coding of medical charts. Courses range from subjects like anatomy to medical terminology and business.
Upon completion, students may sit for the CPB exam, the CPC exam, and the CIC exam. Tuition is very reasonable and students love the smaller class size because they can get to know instructors who for the most part are dedicated and passionate.
West Coast University
Despite its misleading name, West Coast University has branches all over the country. The L.A. campus offers a Medical Assistant program at American Career College that can be accelerated so students can finish in just nine months. This includes a 160-hour externship at a local health care facility.
At the time this was written, their program did not list a course in Medical Law, which is often a favorite with students.
Medical Assistant Schools in San Diego
UEI College, Chula Vista
As the Medical Assistant profession is described by UEI, it’s very much a people job. Courses in their program cover skills like informing patients about what will happen during their exam, or explaining procedures, talking to patients about healthcare practices, and taking medical histories from patients.
While this is all true, there’s no mention of learning about billing and coding…indeed that’s often a separate certificate program at most colleges so if that’s what you want, you’re better of with a program like the one at California College, below.
Chula Vista is a 20 minute drive from San Diego, going south on Interstate 805. It’s also reached via the blue line, the orange line, or the 929 bus.
California College San Diego
The program at California College is much more intense than you’ll see at many medical assistant schools. For starters, it’s a 20-month program, with the option to complete in 15 months. It also covers a full range of subjects (including medical billing), from “Introduction to Logic” to Microbiology, American Civilization, and Computer Fundamentals. One especially useful-looking course is “Computerized Pharmacy Systems and Databases”. You don’t see these courses in every MA program.
In the end, however, you graduate with an Associate of Occupational Studies, not just a certificate in medical assisting.
Medical Assistant Schools in San Jose
Bryman College – San Jose
Bryman College has several branches, but the one in San Jose offers the medical assistant program at a 27,000 square foot facility right in the heart of Silicon Valley. This ACCSC-accredited college has been around for more than 40 years and offers an excellent, very well-rounded Medical Assistant program.
Courses cover a wider range than many other programs, spanning from courses in medical insurance forms to therapeutic procedures, anatomy, and administrative procedures.
Students who complete the diploma program are eligible to sit for the RMA (Registered Medical Assistant) Exam and the CMA (Certified Medical Assistant) Exam.
Carrington College – San Jose
Another Silicon Valley school for Medical Assisting is Carrington College. This program is faster than many since it can be completed in as little as nine months. There’s an externship, and students who graduate can sit for the RMA and the CMA.
The program helps students develop critical thinking as well as learn new practical skills which will be used immediately in the workplace. Courses cover everything from communication skills to processing insurance claims.
Carrington does a great job of promoting is graduates with area businesses and health care facilities, and they have a 30 year history of placing graduates in successful careers.
Medical Assistant Schools in San Francisco
Bay Area Medical Academy
The standout feature of the Bay Area Medical Adacemy’s MA program is that it’s combined with Phlebotomy and EKG programs. After completing the program, students will be eligible to sit for not one, not two, but three different certification exams (CMA, EKG, and CPT-1). In case you didn’t know, many employers require the CPT-1 certification for employment these days. Tuition runs $14,000 as of 2015.
San Francisco State University
Attending SFSU as a Medical Assistant student gives you the best of both worlds: it’s a full-fledged university, with all the facilities, activities, and campus energy which comes with that, plus it’s still only a Certificate Program so both the cost and the time commitment are lower than a full degree.
Tuition is incredibly low, at less than $2500 including books and materials. We don’t usually mention price but this does seem to be an exceptional feature of San Francisco State’s program. Training is incredibly diverse, covering areas in everything from taking vital signs in patients to medical terminology and even assisting with minor surgeries. This program trains students for the clinical side of medical assisting, not the billing side.
Medical Assistant Schools in Fresno
Fresno City College
The Medical Assistant (Clinician) program at Fresno City College can be completed in two semesters and packs 6 courses into the first semester while the second semester is fully dedicated to the externship portion of the program. The externship is 180 hours of practical work experience at a health care facility somewhere in the Central Valley area.
If you want more out of your studies, there’s an Associate in Science Degree option that lasts two years. After completion of either program, students can sit for the California Medical Assistant State Certification Examination.
Gurnick Academy of Medical Arts
This sounds unusual, but Gurnick Academy has an ongoing “special” involving their Medical Assistant Program on their Fresno campus (among others). If you enroll in the MA program, they’ll also enroll you in the Phlebotomy Technician Progam for no extra cost. Might as well! Your resume will be that much the better for it.
After completing both programs you’ll be ready to take certification exams for National Certified Medical Assistant, National Certified EKG Technician, and California Certified Phlebotomy Technician (CPT-1)/National Certified Phlebotomy Technician.
Students will get clinical training onsite at a real medical facility for 180 hours. This is an 8-month program and total cost is between $12,000 and $13,000. Even so, it’s a value because of the extra program included with the package.
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