How to Become a Patient Access Representative in California

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Becoming a patient access representative (PAR) in California differs slightly from other states.

Luckily, there is a need for PARs across the state.

Those searching for a high-demand career might be interested in this position.

If you’re unaware of what a patient access representative does, don’t worry.

A PAR is responsible for administrative work in the healthcare field.

This includes communicating with patients, booking appointments, and contacting insurance.

Below, we’ll break down everything you’d need to know to become a PAR in California.

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Steps to Become a Patient Access Representative in California

Becoming a patient access representative in California takes a few steps.

All potential applicants must meet specific age requirements, educational requirements, and experience or schooling.

Below, we will provide a step-by-step guide to becoming a PAR in California.

Step 1: Obtain High School Diploma or GED

You must obtain a high school diploma or equivalent as a patient access representative.

Potential candidates can be attending a GED program or working towards their high school diploma if they complete it by the time of hire.

Step 2: Gain Experience in the Field

California requires applicants to have education in a related field, previous job experience, or completion of course study approved by the Medical Board of California.

Each job will have different requirements, which means that you should gain experience in the field.

This can help you get ahead of the crowd and understand the job’s demands.

Step 3: Research Qualifications & Requirements

The job requirements require applicants to have job experience, education, or a verified course.

If applicants haven’t completed a training course, then it’s recommended that they have experience in data management, customer service, or a related field.

Having strong interpersonal skills and organization is a must for the job.

Experience working with Microsoft programs is also required.

Step 4: Gain Certifications

Depending on the institution you apply to, you might be required to take a verified program.

In most cases, you will not need to get a certificate.

However, getting one can help you land a job.

If you choose to get a certificate, get a Certified Healthcare Access Associate (CHAA) certificate.

As long as it is credited by the National Association of Healthcare Access Management (NAHAM), then you will be good.

Step 5: Network & Attend Job Fairs

Networking is extremely important because a PAR job is in high demand.

The field has multiple job openings, and you might be pushed down the list of applicants if you don’t have good connections.

It’s best to volunteer or shadow those already in the field.

Step 6: Tailor Your Resume & Cover Letter

Changing your resume and cover letter to better align with the job you’re applying to is recommended.

Doing so guarantees that only relevant information is displayed to the recruiter.

Be sure to also list any relevant skills on your resume, as this can give them a better idea of your fit for the job.

Include any jobs or skills they list in their job ad, making you look better in the long run.

Step 7: Practice Interviewing

Everyone has trouble mastering the skill of interviewing for a specific position.

However, there are still ways you can perfect your interview.

Many requirements for the PAR position will be looking for certain traits.

Staying calm, collected, and informative are big indicators if you’re a good fit for the job.

Being able to mention or answer job-related questions is also a plus.

Step 8: Interview

The interview process might initially seem stressful, but it can be very simple if you practice.

One tip to ace the interview is to dress appropriately.

During the interview, take time to showcase your interpersonal skills.

Be polite, courteous, and ask about the company.

Be sure to answer any questions that the recruiter asks.

Always be honest, and you should do fine.

Schools in California

Patient access representative jobs in California most often require some form of education.

If you don’t have education, you can supplement that with job experience or relevant experience in another field.

However, schooling puts you ahead of the curve.

Below, we’ll walk you through your options for schooling programs in California.


The course offered is a certified patient access specialist program focused on Medi-Cal.

Medi-Cal is California’s medical health care program.

It’s different from other state programs, as it has its own rules and regulations.

Medi-Cal programs are approved by the Medical Board of California, which is sometimes a requirement.

Length of Program

The program includes a total of 25 courses that cover a wide variety of topics.

There is also a final exam that allows you to become a Certified Patient Access Specialist.

The course also includes a practice exam, which can help prep you for the exit exam.

Course Cost

In total, the course only costs $349.

Compared to other online training programs, this is significantly less.

However, the course is less comprehensive than other programs.

Students will have to pay upfront to access the course and its contents.

Course Overview

Students will learn about Medi-Cal compliances and other skills relating to a PAR position.

This includes learning about HIPAA, COBRA, and ABN laws.

Students will then be introduced to insurance basics and how to bill patients.

All types of billing will be covered thoroughly.

This includes learning about service authorization, patient liability determination, and more.

The end of the course will summarize critical core concepts and prepare students to pass the exam.

At the end of the course, students will take the Certified Patient Access Specialist Recertification Exam for Medi-Cal.

Patient Access Representative Schools in California – Summary Table

Top 1 Schools in California

School NameAddress
Clarivate249-299 Lincoln Hwy, Carson City, NV 89701, United States


Patient access representatives make a total of $56,574 yearly in California.

This can typically range between $51,479 to $63,237.

As an entry-level PAR, you will make money towards the lower end.

You will make more towards the higher end if you have more than five years of experience.

Annual Salary Range:

Average Salary of Patient Access Representatives in California

City NameSalary
Los Angeles$56,574
San Diego$54,380
San Jose$63,240
San Francisco$62,988
Long Beach$56,186
Santa Ana$56,236
* Salary information last updated 2024

Regional Salary in California

RegionEmployedAvg. Annual SalaryAvg. Hourly PayTop 10% Annual SalaryBottom 10% Annual Salary
Bakersfield, CA410$52,860$25.41$90,960$33,180
Chico, CA100$58,160$27.96$90,910$34,300
El Centro, CA80$48,010$23.08$80,930$31,260
Fresno, CA580$52,240$25.11$81,420$33,010
Hanford-Corcoran, CA40$47,700$22.93$58,870$31,660
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA8,290$67,880$32.63$101,120$37,120
Madera, CA90$55,130$26.51$78,370$36,540
Merced, CA90$43,650$20.99$57,990$30,970
Modesto, CA310$49,150$23.63$63,220$35,360
Napa, CA60$55,260$26.57$71,940$38,100
Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA350$54,650$26.27$98,520$29,970
Redding, CA80$53,270$25.61$105,000$30,880
Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA1,710$65,800$31.63$97,510$34,780
Sacramento--Roseville--Arden-Arcade, CA1,300$73,810$35.49$102,180$37,790
Salinas, CA150$51,610$24.81$66,720$38,380
San Diego-Carlsbad, CA1,630$57,990$27.88$91,380$36,080
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA2,630$73,800$35.48$107,530$43,670
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA1,070$71,090$34.18$105,370$44,500
San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles-Arroyo Grande, CA90$50,340$24.2$73,450$30,070
Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA120$55,490$26.68$102,500$35,040
Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA220$55,240$26.56$93,510$30,850
Santa Rosa, CA180$62,520$30.06$81,870$38,070
Stockton-Lodi, CA380$67,490$32.45$99,710$35,910
Vallejo-Fairfield, CA230$62,770$30.18$82,910$38,660
Visalia-Porterville, CA190$49,190$23.65$75,040$32,960
Yuba City, CA40$48,630$23.38$74,410$34,750
* Salary information based on the May 2022 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Medical Records Specialists, OCC Code 29-2072, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is being a patient access representative difficult in California?

California has strict guidelines for becoming a patient access representative.

In addition, most of the state uses Medi-Cal and local laws.

Due to this, the job can seem more demanding than the same position in other states.

What do patient access representatives need to wear in California?

Many organizations in the healthcare field require a patient access representative.

Depending on your organization, you might have a strict dress code. In most hospital settings, employees can expect to dress in scrubs.

However, outpatient facilities may allow patient access representatives to dress more casually.

What is the highest-paying city for patient access representatives in California?

The highest-paying area for a patient access representative in California is Santa Rosa.

Here, PARs get paid on the higher end, with most of them making, on average, $20 an hour.

However, this can depend more or less on the applicant’s prior experience in the field.

Are patient access representative jobs in demand in California?

Patient access representative jobs are actually in high demand in the state of California.

Currently, the job outlook is good, as many medical organizations are understaffed.

That being said, there seems to be a need for PARs in the future, making it a good career choice.

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