Certified Nursing Assistant

How to Become a Medical Assistant in California

Venice Nuyda
May 15, 2023

Are you interested in joining the ranks of Medical Assistants (MA) in California? As one of the top-paying states for MAs, California offers excellent opportunities for those seeking autonomy in their careers. Read on to find out more!

What are the California MA training prerequisites?

To become a medical assistant in California, you must meet the following prerequisites:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Complete a high school or GED program
  • Own a U.S. government-valid ID

Besides meeting these prerequisites, you may also want to consider completing a medical assisting program. Medical assisting programs can provide you with the skills and knowledge you need to be successful in this field.

Training requirements for MAs in California

California requires MAs to complete special training, but they do not need certification. Supervisors, such as physicians, podiatrists, RNs, or instructors, can provide the required training on the job.

This is to ensure that the student is competent in performing that service. Where applicable, training must include no less than: 

1. 10 hours of training in administering injections and skin tests
2. 10 hours of training in venipuncture and skin puncture for withdrawing blood
3. 10 intramuscular, subcutaneous, intradermal injection and skin tests 
4. Or at least 10 venipuncture and 10 skin punctures
5. 10 hours of training in administering medical by inhalation
6. Demonstration in the following:

  • Anatomy and physiology appropriate to the procedures
  • Proper choice of equipment and technique, including sterile technique
  • Understanding hazards and complications
  • Patient care following treatment or tests
  • Emergency procedures
  • California law and regulations for medical assistants

Certification options and requirements to be a MA in California

While not needed, becoming certified as an MA can have many benefits. Employers who prefer to have certified MAs are willing to pay them higher salaries. Certification programs offer a wealth of information and knowledge that can benefit your future career.

To be a California Certified Medical Assistant (CCMA), you must meet the qualifications established by the California Certifying Board for Medical Assistants (CCBMA). 

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Complete a high school or GED program
  • Provide proof of current CPR Certification
  • Own a U.S. government-valid ID

If you are an applicant, you must finish the appropriate training set by the Medical Board of California. After that, pass the examination set by CCBMA to become certified. 

The CCMA certificate program takes one year to complete. There are also options to earn an associate degree, and most MA schooling lasts about two years. There are two routes you can either pursue if you want to be a MA in California:

  • Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) certification administered by the American Medical Technologists (AMT), 
  • Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) administered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA)

MA training and education process

If you opt for the CMA path, you must complete a program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or AAMA. Your program must have theoretical and labs covering both administrative and clinical practices. CMA credentials are valid for 60 months. Passing an exam or completing continuing education credits will renew your credits.

People who prefer the RMA path can qualify to take the exam by completing a traditional MA program. CAAHEP or other accrediting bodies should recognize the training institution you enrolled in. 

To do this, you must have:

  • 720 hours of in-class/online theoretical instruction 
  • 160 hours of hands-on clinical instruction at a  facility within your training.

Here at Dreambound, we provide comprehensive MA classes that can give you employment upon accomplishment. Hands-on instructors offer classes that will surely make you thrive in the field. Check out our classes if you’re from one of these cities: LA, San Bernardino, Susanville, Fresno, Bakersfield, San Jose, San FranciscoSacramento

Skills required to be MA 

To be one of the best MAs out there, you need to have a combination of soft and hard skills that’ll make you stand out. To be well-rounded, you must have clinical and interpersonal skills that’ll let you work easier with peers and patients. Here are some of the skills you should have:

1. Interpersonal/ Soft Skills:

  • Communication: MAs need to relay medical information clearly and calmly to patients and other staff.
  • Problem-Solving: MAs who can think on their feet and act quickly will prove to be an important part of the healthcare team.
  • Attention to detail: MAs must be keen on mistakes to ensure patient information is accurate and complete.
  • Empathy: MAs need to have empathy because they work closely with patients who may be experiencing physical or emotional distress.
  • Teamwork: It is important to work with your team of medical staff to find solutions for patient care.

2. Clinical/ Hard Skills:

  • Technology: MAs should be comfortable using various types of technology. This includes electronic health record (EHR) software, medical billing software, and medical equipment like blood pressure monitors and EKG machines.
  • Phlebotomy: MAs may be responsible for collecting blood samples from patients, so they must know different phlebotomy techniques and procedures.
  • First Aid and CPR: MAs may need to respond to medical emergencies and provide immediate help to patients.
  • Lab skills: MAs may need to collect and process lab specimens. This includes blood or urine samples and performs basic laboratory tests.
  • Medication administration: MAs may administer and provide certain pre-measured medications by injection, inhalation, or by mouth. 
  • Administrative skills: MAs need to be proficient in administrative tasks. This includes scheduling appointments, maintaining records, billing and coding, and managing medical inventory.

Job prospects of MAs in California

MAs can work in various employment settings, not just in doctor’s offices or clinics. They can also work in research centers, insurance companies, prisons, the military, and more. California holds the top 7 positions for the highest-paid city/area in the United States for MAs. The average salary for MAs in California is $44,780 per year or $21.53 per hour.

Choosing a career in Medical Assisting is a reliable option as the field has an impressive growth rate of 29% from 2016 to 2026. This indicates plenty of job opportunities for individuals seeking employment in this profession. With this profession, you can specialize, become a teacher, or earn more certifications under your belt.

Why become a MA in California?

In California, there is a high demand for MAs. This decade well anticipates double-digit job growth. There are many different educational institutions to choose from in California: career colleges, community colleges, and vocational schools. Many of these institutions and courses even provide an online option! Although MA pay varies by region, the hourly median wage in California is almost $2 more than the national wage—how exciting!

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Written by
Venice Nuyda

Venice Nuyda is a student-support representative at Dreambound. She is responsible for helping students through their training journey in the allied health space. She is passionate about helping others and writing informative articles to aid candidates in advancing their vocational careers.

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