In this article, we will tell you how much you can expect to be paid in annual salary for working as a medical assistant in California. We will break down the annual income city by city, and even give you a rough estimate for how much the hourly wage is.How Much Does a Medical Assistant Make in California

Before getting started, you should know that these prices are estimations based on research from a variety of different websites—from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics to and others. It’s not quite set in stone, and every city and state’s average salary can fluctuate based on employer or even an employee’s working experience, so while every effort has been made to get these numbers correct, some of them may have changed or simply be inaccurate.

Breaking Down Medical Assistant Salary in CA

Before we go state by state, let’s first begin with the top five highest paying metropolitan areas in all of California. This data comes via the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:

  • San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, California:4,180 medical assistants are employed here. They make, on average, $20.76 per hour. Annually, medical assistants in this area earn $43,180 a year.
  • Santa Rosa-Petaluma, CA:850 medical assistants are employed in this area. They earn $20.46 per hour, which equates to $42,560 each year.
  • San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City, CA Metropolitan Division:This area of Cali employs 4,150 MA’s. They earn $40,800 per year, which averages out to be about $19.61 an hour.
  • Oakland-Fremont-Hayward, CA Metropolitan Division:This area is home to 5,420 medical assistants. The MA’s here earn about $19.38 per hour, or $40,310 a year.
  • Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA:Finally, this metro area has 610 medical assistant employees. They earn $40,300 a year, or $19.37 an hour.

Salary By City (Based on Population Size)

Now, let’s begin by listing the average salary in 100 different cities (categorized by population size). We decided to use (as well as’s) stats pertaining to California salary averages by city. Do know that none of these numbers are official—these are just estimates—but it should give you a rough idea of what you can expect to earn in each city.

  1. Los Angeles: $36,043
  2. San Diego: $34,975
  3. San Jose: $38,801
  4. San Francisco: $40,143
  5. Fresno: $33,509
  6. Sacramento: $35,708
  7. Long Beach: $36,349
  8. Oakland: $37,314
  9. Anaheim: $39,000
  10. Santa Ana: $39,000
  11. Riverside: $36,000
  12. Stockton: $35,000
  13. Chula Vista: $38,000
  14. Irvine: $37,000
  15. Fremont: $38,801
  16. San Bernadino: $41,000
  17. Modesto: $35,000
  18. Oxnard: $35,000
  19. Fontana: $34,000
  20. Moreno Valley: $33,000
  21. Huntington Beach: $39,000
  22. Glendale: $41,000
  23. Santa Clarita: $44,000
  24. Garden Grove: $39,000
  25. Oceanside: $38,000
  26. Santa Rosa: $41,000
  27. Rancho Cucamonga: $33,000
  28. Ontario: $34,000
  29. Elk Grove: $39,000
  30. Lancaster: $37,000
  31. Corona: $36,000
  32. Palmdale: $37,000
  33. Salinas: $41,000
  34. Hayward: $53,000
  35. Pomona: $35,000
  36. Escondido: $39,000
  37. Sunnyvale: $54,000
  38. Torrance: $42,000
  39. Orange: $39,000
  40. Pasadena: $42,000
  41. Fullerton: $39,000
  42. Thousand Oaks: $45,000
  43. Visalia: $38,000
  44. Roseville: $40,000
  45. Simi Valley: $44,000
  46. Concord: $50,000
  47. Victorville: $42,000
  48. Santa Clara: $54,000
  49. Vallejo: $50,000
  50. Berkeley: $50,000
  51. El Monte: $40,000
  52. Downey: $41,000
  53. Costa Mesa: $38,000
  54. Inglewood: $42,000
  55. Carlsbad: $38,000
  56. Fairfield: $42,000
  57. Ventura: $30,000
  58. West Covina: $39,000
  59. Richmond: $50,000
  60. Murrieta: $38,000
  61. Antioch: $44,000
  62. Temecula: $39,000
  63. Norwalk: $41,000
  64. Daly City: $54,000
  65. Burbank: $42,000
  66. Santa Maria: $29,000
  67. El Cajon: $38,000
  68. Rialto: $34,000
  69. San Mateo: $53,000
  70. Clovis: $35,000
  71. Jurupa Valley: $41,000
  72. Compton: $41,000
  73. Vista: $38,000
  74. Mission Viejo: $37,000
  75. South Gate: $41,000
  76. Vacaville: $41,000
  77. Carson: $41,000
  78. Santa Monica: $43,000
  79. Hesperia: $32,000
  80. Westminster: $40,000
  81. Redding: $44,000
  82. Santa Barbara: $27,000
  83. San Marcos: $38,000
  84. Chico: $42,000
  85. San Leandro: $53,000
  86. Newport Beach: $38,000
  87. Whittier: $40,000
  88. Hawthorne: $42,000
  89. Citrus Heights: $40,000
  90. Livermore: $51,000
  91. Tracy: $38,000
  92. Alhambra: $41,000
  93. Indio: $25,000
  94. Menifee: $36,000
  95. Buena Park: $40,000
  96. Hemet: $36,000
  97. Lakewood: $41,000
  98. Merced: $43,000
  99. Chino: $35,000

Can These Salaries Change?

As mentioned before, these salaries are estimates and can always change employer to employer. In general, salaries can change based on region of the country, employer, and even an applicant’s work experience.

Are These Salaries Enough to Live Off On?

A major reason people want to know how much they can earn as a medical assistant isn’t just because they want to purchase material goods—people need to know if it’ll be enough to pay the rent.

We listed 100 different cities above, so of course they’re all a little different. With that said, living off of a medical assistant salary in a city inside California is doable, but it will no doubt be challenging. Without knowing every single person’s personal needs (and wants), the quick answer is that you’ll more than likely need a roommate (or two) because the cost of living is so high in California, especially in highly coveted and populated cities like San Diego and San Francisco.

Does a Medical Assistant Salary Justify the Tuition Cost?

This is a very hard question to answer. If you can make, for instance–$38,000 per year as a medical assistant in CA—it’s very possible that your tuition costs were anywhere from $10,000 to $20,000.

On top of that, matters are further complicated if loans are involved and paying them back can be cluttered with additional interest one must pay off.

It’s impossible to say if it’s “worth it” or if the salary is justified, because it matters on where you’re living, how big or small your everyday needs are, and whether or not you have student loans to pay off.

With that said, it certainly might feel more “justified” if one lived in an area with a lower cost of living. But, that would also likely mean you’re earning less money annually.

The truth is that in California, and all throughout the USA, medical assistants are absolutely vital to making a medical office run smoothly. But, as you can see here with our robust listing of cities and salaries, outside of certain areas, MA’s aren’t paid a large amount of money.

With that said, here’s the good news. You don’t have to go to school for four years to become a medical assistant. Because of that, your student loans will certainly be lower. You can realistically go to school for about a year or two and (depending on where you live and the amount of other applicants you’re battling with) acquire a job.

And, while it’s certainly encouraged, you don’t need to pass a certification or licensure examination to acquire a job.

So there are definitely perks to getting into the medical assistant field. If you’re just pursuing it solely for the money, it might not be the ideal career field for you. But if you can look past the income, and make it financially work for you once you acquire the job, you have a very good chance of being a content person and worker.

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