Requirements for a Medical Assistant in California


Medical assistants uphold the efficiency of doctor's offices by performing both administrative and clinical duties duties including bookkeeping, retrieving and updating medical records, answering phones and preparing patient's for examination. Medical assistants also record patient's weight, height, blood pressure and temperature. Each state, including California, has specific requirements for individuals working as medical assistants.

Training Program Requirements

  • According to the Medical Board of California Department of Consumer Affairs, medical assistants in California are required to receive training through one of two methods: under the supervision of a licensed doctor, podiatrist, registered nurse, licensed vocational nurse, qualified medical assistant or physician's assistant, or in a high school, college, university or adult education program approved or accredited by the Bureau for Private Post-secondary and Vocational Education in the Department of Consumer Affairs.

Skill and Instruction Requirements

  • Medical assistants have clinical as well as administrative duties. To perform clinical patient procedures, California medical assistants are required to have 10 hours of training in performing skin tests and needle injections and/or 10 hours of training in skin puncture and venipuncture to draw blood. Medical assistants also must have successfully performed 10 intramuscular injections, 10 subcutaneous injections, 10 intradermal injections and/or 10 skin punctures and 10 venipunctures. If a medical assistant's employer requires them to give a patient medication through inhalation, the assistant is required to have 10 clock hours in medication through inhalation as well. Medical assistants are also required to have instruction in anatomy and physiology relevant to the procedures performed, equipment choices, sterile techniques, complications and hazards, follow-up patient care, emergency protocol and California rules, regulations and laws concerning medical assistants.

Performance Requirements

  • A licensed physician, podiatrist or other medically licensed individual must approve the proper medicine and dosage being administered to the patient by a medical assistant, and are required to be physically present in the medical facility for any procedure being performed by a medical assistant.

Certification Requirements

  • California does not require medical assistants to become certified, although many employers require medical assistants to become certified for insurance or malpractice purposes. In addition to the above training requirements, the California Certifying Board for Medical Assistants (CCBMA) requires certification applicants to be one of the following: working as a medical assistant for a licensed doctor or podiatrist in the United States, a graduate of an accredited medical assistance program in the United States (or a Bureau for Private Post-secondary and Vocational Educational approved program) within the year prior to certification application submission, working as a medical assistant for two of the five years prior to applying for certification, a current medical assistant instructor at an accredited program or United States military training or schooling equal to that offered at an accredited medical assistant program.

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