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SJVC’s Clinical Medical Assisting and Clinical and Administrative Medical Assisting programs prepare graduates to work in medical offices and clinics.

At a Glance

  • Graduate in as few as nine months with a Certificate of Completion

  • Earn an Associate of Science Degree in as few as 15 months

  • Conveniently available online or at 15 campuses (availability varies by campus)

  • Graduates are eligible to sit for the National Certified Medical Assistant (NCMA) exam*

  • Affordable tuition varies by location, learn more now

About the Program

What Will I Learn

Do you want to work in healthcare? SJVC’s Clinical Medical Assisting and Clinical and Administrative Medical Assisting programs prepare graduates to work in medical offices and specialty clinics. Training helps students learn the skills required to be a valuable member of the healthcare team.

In SJVC’s Clinical Medical Assisting program, students are introduced to the core skills and competencies needed to work as a medical assistant in California. You can graduate in as few as 9 months with a Certificate of Completion. You will learn the knowledge and hands-on skills needed to provide clinical support in healthcare settings such as medical offices, clinics, and hospitals. Some of the skills you will learn as a Clinical Medical Assisting student include:

  • Drawing blood/venipuncture
  • Maintaining patient records
  • Preparing patients for exams

In SJVC’s Clinical and Administrative Medical Assisting program, students receive the same back-office training as those in the Clinical Medical Assisting program. They also learn front-office training to be able to perform administrative duties such as patient charting, billing, letter writing, and handling coding procedures for insurance purposes using a variety of applicable software.

Career Opportunities

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that employment of medical assistants is projected to grow 19 percent between 2019 and 2029, which amounts to nearly 139,200 new jobs nationwide¹. The BLS states multiple factors behind the growing demand for medical assistants, including the growth of the aging baby-boom population, increasing patient access to medical care, and the need for administrative and clinical healthcare support workers².

The nationwide job outlook for medical assistants is good, and it’s just as bright for California medical assistants. According to the BLS, California had the highest employment level for medical assistants in the United States in May 2019³. Some of the top-paying metropolitan areas for medical assistants in May 2019 were also found in California, per the BLS³, including:

  • Vallejo-Fairfield, CA
  • San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA
  • Santa Rosa, CA
  • San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA
  • Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA

Cost & Financial Aid

Education is the most important investment you can make in your future. There is a financial plan available for everyone, including a broad range of financial assistance options. Visit SJVC’s Net Price Calculator to get personalized information on college costs and financial aid. Check out SJVC’sAcademic Catalog to learn about program costs by campus and credential level. You also can talk to an Admissions Representative to discuss the costs of your chosen program, and schedule an appointment with an experienced financial aid officer. Student loans, grants, and scholarships are available to those who qualify.

Program Availability

SJVC’s medical assisting programs are available online* and at the following campuses:

*These locations offer both the Clinical Medical Assisting Certificate of Completion and Clinical and Administrative Medical Assisting Associate of Science Degree programs. Campuses not marked with an asterisk only offer the Clinical Medical Assisting Certificate of Completion program.

Accreditation & Approvals

Institutional Accreditation

San Joaquin Valley College holds dual institutional accreditations.

San Joaquin Valley College is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC), 985 Atlantic Avenue, Suite 100, Alameda, CA 94501,(510)748-9001 and also the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, Western Association of Schools and Colleges, 10 Commercial Blvd., Suite 204, Novato, CA 94949, (415) 506-0234, an institutional accrediting body recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation and the U.S. Department of Education. Additional information about accreditation, including the filing of complaints against member institutions, can be found at

State Approvals


SJVC is a private institution and is approved to operate as an accredited institution by the California Bureau of Private Postsecondary Education (BPPE). Approval to operate means that SJVC has been found in compliance with the standards set forth in the California Private Postsecondary Education Act of 2009 (as amended) and Title 5, Division 7.5, – Private Postsecondary Education of the California Code of Regulations. As a prospective student, you are encouraged to review this catalog prior to signing an enrollment agreement. You are also encouraged to review the School Performance Fact Sheet, which must be provided to you prior to signing an enrollment agreement.

A student or any member of the public may file a complaint about this institution with the Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education by calling (888) 370-7589 or by completing a complaint form, which can be obtained on the Bureau’s internet website (

View additional State Approvals for SJVC.

Read Our Career Guide On Medical Assisting in California.

Have you always wanted to work in a medical setting, but don’t want to attend school for years? Then a job as a medical assistant might be a good career for you.

Medical Assistant FAQ

How long do you go to school to be a medical assistant?

Those who wish to become medical assistants can do so with either a certificate of completion in a qualified medical assistant program, or an associate degree. At SJVC’s Clinical Medical Assisting program, students can receive a certificate of completion in as few as nine months, or an associate of science degree in Clinical and Administrative Medical Assisting in as few as 15 months. 

Is a medical assistant better than CNA?

Certified nursing assistants (CNAs) and medical assistants may seem similar, but they’re incredibly different healthcare careers. A CNA may help patients with daily hygiene and personal tasks, like bathing and using the bathroom, under the supervision of a nurse. A major distinction is that medical assistants work in more clerical capacities than CNAs, though medical assistants also help patients, fulfilling duties such as taking vital signs and sterilizing equipment. Ultimately, it is up to you to decide which is better, a medical assistant or a CNA. 

Do you need a degree to be a medical assistant?

One benefit of medical assisting is that you do not need a degree to be a medical assistant. While you can get an associate degree, you can also complete medical assistant training in as few as nine months and receive a certificate of completion. 

Do medical assistants make more money than CNA?

The median annual wage for medical assistants was $34,800 in May 2019, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).4 The median annual wage for nursing assistants was $29,660 in May 2019.5 This suggests that medical assistants make more money than CNAs. 

Be advised, salary for entry level positions may be lower than the national average.

What is a medical assistant?

A medical assistant is a vital part of a healthcare team. Medical assistants help support physicians, nurses and other health professionals in a clinical setting. Medical assistants may be tasked with both clinical and clerical work. 

What does a medical assistant do?

Medical assistants typically do the following:6

  • Record patient history and personal information
  • Measure vital signs, such as blood pressure
  • Help physicians with patient examinations
  • Give patients injections or medications as directed by physicians and as permitted by state law
  • Schedule patient appointments
  • Prepare blood samples for laboratory tests
  • Enter patient information into medical records

How much do medical assistants make?

The median annual wage for medical assistants was $34,800 in May 2019, according to the BLS.4 The lowest 10% earned less than $25,820, and the highest 10% earned more than $48,720.

Be advised, salary for entry level positions may be lower than the national average.

Where can I take the certified medical assistant exam?

The certified medical assistant exam is proctored at Prometric testing sites. Visit the Prometric website to find a testing location near you.7

Does a medical assistant require a degree?

You do not need a degree to become a medical assistant. SJVC offers a certificate of completion for their Clinical Medical Assisting program. This program can be completed in as few as nine months.

What classes do medical assistants take?

Some medical assistant courses you may take when attending SJVC include:

  • HCP 103 Foundational Office Skills
  • HCP 203 Medical Office Management
  • MOP 130 Billing Principles
  • MOP 140 ICD Coding
  • MAP 205 Front Office Procedures
  • MAP 501 Externship
  • MAP 510 Certification Prep
  • GRS 100 Graduate Readiness Seminar 

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*SJVC prepares students to take appropriate certification and licensure exams related to their individual majors. The College does not guarantee students will successfully pass these exams or be certified or licensed as a result of completing the program.

  1. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Medical Assistants, on the Internet at (visited January 21, 2021).  Data reflects a national projected percentage change in employment from 2019-2029 and may not reflect local economic conditions.
  2. BLS, visited 1-21-21,
  3. BLS, visited 1-21-21,

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