Medical assistants perform basic clinical and administrative duties in the offices of physicians. In California, medical assistants made an average of $30,980 per year as of May 2009, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, though many areas throughout the state had much lower averages. The state had the highest concentration of medical assistants in comparison to its overall compensation, and was the 17th highest-paying state in the nation for medical assistants.
Medical assistants in Napa had the highest average annual rates of pay in northern California and the capital area as of May 2009. Assistants in the city earned an average of $36,200 per year, while those in the Santa Rosa and Petaluma area averaged $35,010. Throughout the rest of the region, salaries were 2 to 14 percent below the California average. The lowest-paying city in the region was Modesto at an average of $26,580 annually.
Salaries for medical assistants in the Bay Area were consistently higher than the California average as of May 2009. Vallejo and Fairfeld had the highest annual wages for medical assistants statewide at an average $43,010, making the towns the highest-paying metropolitan area for assistants in the entire United States. With average annual wages of $43,010, Salinas served as the second-highest paying metropolitan area for medical assistants in the United States. The metropolitan area comprised of San Francisco, San Mateo and Redwood City ranked as the fourth-highest paying area for medical assistants in the United States at an average of $38,580 per year.
Wages for medical assistants in Central California were the highest in Santa Barbara, where assistants made $32,070 per year as of May 2009. Annual salaries for medical assistants in the remainder of the region were 1 to 20 percent below the statewide average. Medical assistants in Merced had the lowest average annual salaries in both the region and the entire state at $24,890. In Bakersfield, assistants received average annual salaries of $25,330, while assistants working in Fresno averaged $28,920.
As of May 2009, average annual wages for medical assistants in southern California were 1 to 14 percent below the average California salary. The San Diego, Carlsbad and San Marcos had the highest pay rates for medical assistants in the region at an average of $30,790 annually. The Los Angeles, Long Beach and Santa Ana area was the second-highest-paying city for medical assistants in the region with average annual salaries of $30,140. Medical assistants in El Centro were the lowest-paid in the region at an average of $26,560 per year.