Medical Assisting

Career Outlook for Medical Assistants in California

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that employment of medical assistants is projected to grow 23 percent between 2018 and 2028, which amounts to nearly 154,900 new jobs nationwide. 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 workers.

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

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

Learn Medical Assistant Skills for a New Career

Do you want to work in healthcare? SJVC’s Medical Assisting classes prepare graduates to work in medical offices and specialty clinics in as few as 9 months. Training helps students learn the skills required to be a valuable member of the healthcare team.

SJVC’s Clinical Medical Assisting program is designed to introduce students to the core skills and competencies needed to work as a medical assistant in California. You will graduate with the knowledge and hands-on skills needed to provide administrative and/or clinical support in healthcare settings such as medical offices, clinics, and hospitals. Some of the skills you will learn as a medical assistant student include:

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

Learn More About What Medical Assistants Do

If you’re interested in becoming a medical assistant, you may be interested in SJVC’s guide to medical assistant duties and responsibilities. This guide provides an overview of the administrative and clinical tasks you may be responsible for as a medical assistant. You will also learn more about the job outlook for medical assistants, including where medical assistants work and how much they make.

Become a Certified Medical Assistant

The Certificate-level Clinical Medical Assisting (CMA) program offers all of the basic training required to work in a doctor’s office, and can be completed in as few as 9 months.

SJVC’s CMA graduates qualify to sit for the following medical assistant certification exams:

To help your career get off to the right start after graduation, SJVC will pay for one of these examinations taken within six months after completing the CMA program.¹

Although you don’t need to be licensed, certified, or registered by the State of California to work as a medical assistant, employers may require medical assistants to be certified by a national or private association. According to the Medical Board of California (MBC), a medical assistant must be certified by an approved certifying organization in order to train other medical assistants. This means that additional career opportunities may be available due to your status as a certified medical assistant.

Medical Assisting Training to Meet Recent Law Changes

Doctors are encouraged to switch from paper charts to electronic records while continuing to give their patients the best care possible. To help achieve that goal, physicians are looking to hire medical assistants who have specifically been trained in Electronic Health Records (EHR). Students get that training at SJVC, and graduates are eligible to take several national certifications and credentialing examinations which will qualify them for these positions.

SJVC graduates also earn Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) certification, which employers may also look for or prefer when hiring medical assistants.

¹San Joaquin Valley College will pay for one of these examinations taken within six months of graduation, as chosen by the graduate. Payment for retakes and subsequent examinations are the responsibility of the graduate. Failure to sit for either exam does not constitute a refund or discount in tuition.

Medical Assisting Program Details

Skills Students Learn

Students in our Medical Assisting program learn:

  • Patient care
  • Medical office procedures
  • Laboratory skills

Program Course Examples

Courses* taken by our Medical Assisting students include:

Structural Anatomy and Terminology
The course focuses on the foundational principles of structural body systems, such as the skeletal, muscular, and nervous systems, and common diseases and disorders related to these systems. The course emphasizes the effective use of medical terminology through the study of the principles of word construction, elements, abbreviations, and symbols with emphasis on spelling and pronunciation.

Laboratory Procedures
Students will be introduced to a variety of CLIA waived and Point of Care (POC) laboratory techniques and values including venipuncture, skin puncture, and various hematology tests. Students will be trained in CPR and First Aid. A grade of “C” or better is required to earn credit for this course.

Pharmacology and Medication Administration
Students will be introduced to injections and a variety of clinical procedures including basic pharmacology, immunizations, and a variety of medication administration techniques. Students will calculate medication dosages and complete appropriate documentation. A grade of “C” or better is required to earn credit for this course.

*Course listings are subject to change. Reference the SJVC College Catalog for the  most current program information.

Program Outcomes

Our Clinical Medical Assisting (CMA) students can earn a certificate of completion in as few as 9 months.

Graduates are able to sit for one of the following certification exams, with first-time exam fees paid for by SJVC*.

CMA graduates who earn their Certificates from SJVC are eligible to sit for one of the following:

Students residing outside of California are encouraged to take a certification examination recognized by their state medical board or an independent certification organization.

*San Joaquin Valley College will pay for one of these examinations taken within six months of graduation, as chosen by the graduate. Payment for retakes and subsequent examinations are the responsibility of the graduate. Failure to sit for either exam does not constitute a refund or discount in tuition.

All SJVC CMA graduates also earn Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Certification, CPR and First Aid Certification.

Career Opportunities

A well-trained medical assistant is qualified to work in a variety of medical environments such as medical offices, clinics or hospitals. Graduates can expect to perform the following job duties:

  • Take medical histories & vital signs
  • Assist the physician with procedures
  • Clean & sterilize equipment
  • Schedule patient appointments

Accreditation and Approvals

Institutional Accreditation

San Joaquin Valley College is accredited by 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 (California Education Code, Title 3, Division 10, Part 59, Chapter 8) and Title 5, Division 7.5 – Private Postsecondary Education of the California Code of Regulations.

Any questions that a student may have regarding the college catalog and/or catalog supplement that have not been satisfactorily answered by the institution may be directed to the Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education at:

Mailing Address
P.O. Box 980818
West Sacramento, CA 95798-0818

Physical Address
2535 Capitol Oaks Drive, Suite 400
Sacramento, CA 95833

Telephone Numbers
Toll free (888) 370-7589
(916) 431-6959

Fax Number
(916) 263-1897


View additional State Approvals for SJVC.