How to become a Medical Assistant in California
Medical assistants are individuals who help medical professionals treat patients by taking vitals, recording patient histories, conducting exams, scheduling appointments, maintaining medical records, administering drugs and injections, preparing blood samples and more.
Requirements to Become a Medical Assistant in California
Apart from the right education and training, you are also required to have a certain skill set to become a medical assistant. As an aspiring medical assistant, you are expected to have excellent analytical skills, and be detail oriented. This is so that you can decipher medical charts and tests as well as record medical histories and symptoms. Medical professionals are also required to have good interpersonal and good communication skills because often, they are the ones relaying medical histories to physicians and surgeons.
Steps to Become a Medical Assistant in California
There are a few steps you need to follow to become a medical assistant in California.
- Getting the required education
To become a medical assistant, you do not need to fulfill a long list of requirements – however, you are required to hold at least a high school diploma. Aspirants can also get a post-secondary nondegree award in their chosen specialty. During high school, it is expected that you have a strong understanding of biology, chemistry, math and anatomy.
- Go to a vocational school
A lot of vocational schools and community colleges offer programs for medical assistants. If you want to be better prepared before you start your first job, it is possible to get an associate’s degree to this effect. Alternatively, you could get a certificate or a diploma as well. Either way, the process should take you about 1 to 2 years of school.
- Apply for jobs
After your training as a medical assistant is complete, you should start applying for jobs in the field. Check if hospitals and other medical facilities are short-staffed and in need of medical assistants and apply accordingly. Most medical assistants work at offices of physicians, state and local hospitals, outpatient care centers and offices of chiropractors. These professionals work full time and sometimes have to cover evening shifts on holidays as well since the demand for medical assistants is ever-present.
How Much Does a Medical Assistant Make in California?
According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, California is the state with the highest level of employment in this occupation. The mean annual wage for medical assistants in California was $38,250 and the hourly mean wage was $18.39 as of May 2018. 92,960 people were employed as medical assistants in California as of May 2018.