Medical Assistant

Train to Work as a Medical Assistant

SJVC’s Medical Assistant classes 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. Students can prepare for work as a medical assistant by choosing the credential level that best meets their needs and career goals.

The Certificate-level Clinical Medical Assistant (CMA) program offers all of the basic training required to work in a doctor’s office, with an emphasis on clinical, back-office procedures. Graduates of the Clinical and Administrative Medical Assistant (CAMA) program earn an Associate of Science (A.S.) Degree and benefit from advanced training in medical office procedures and increased flexibility with both front- and back-office skills.

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 are specifically 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.

What Important Qualities Should a Medical Assistant Have?

Medical Assistants should be detail-oriented and have strong analytical, interpersonal and technical skills:

Analytical Skills: Medical assistants must be able to understand and follow medical charts and diagnoses. They may be required to code a patient’s medical records for billing purposes.

Detail-Oriented: Medical assistants need to be precise when taking vital signs or recording patient information.

Interpersonal Skills: Medical assistants need to be able to discuss patient information with other medical personnel – such as physicians. They often interact with patients who may be in pain or in distress so they need to be able to act in a calm and professional manner.

Technical Skills: Medical assistants should be able to use basic clinical instruments so they can take a patient’s vital signs – such as heart rate and blood pressure.


Medical Assistant Program Details

Skills Students Learn

Students in our Medical Assistant program learn:

  • Patient care
  • Medical office procedures
  • Laboratory skills
  • Medical administrative practices*
    * CAMA-specific training

Program Course Examples

Courses* taken by our Medical Assistant students include:

Basic and Advanced Phlebotomy Theory
This course covers essential techniques and step-by-step procedures for venipuncture and various specimen collections focusing on the Medical Assistant’s scope of practice for laboratory procedures. Topics include Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendment (CLIA) regulations, universal precautions, infection control and sterile techniques. An overview of anatomy and physiology of the circulatory system and hematology are introduced. The Medical Assistant’s responsibility in providing patient education, quality care, and demonstrating professional behavior are emphasized throughout this course.

Medical Assisting Competencies
This course focuses on the role of the Medical Assistant in assisting with various exams. Students will be introduced to fundamental clinical skills such as obtaining and recording vital signs, preparing rooms and setting up trays. Topics include OSHA guidelines, regulations, ambulation and mobility instruction, basic concepts of diet and exercise and the theory of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), First Aid, emergency procedures and medical office safety procedures. An overview of anatomy, physiology, and medical terminology related to the cardiovascular and respiratory systems are covered. In addition, students will receive an introduction to basic concepts of radiology. The Medical Assistant’s responsibility in providing patient education, quality care and demonstrating professional behavior are emphasized throughout this course.

Medical Assisting Applications 1
This course teaches pharmacology, administration of medication, and the skills of patient preparation and assessment for various clinical procedures. Sites and techniques of injections, and various other clinical procedures as well as health and nutritional concepts are included in this course. A grade of “C” or better is required to earn credit for this course.

*Students will take additional program courses on top of the three listed courses. Courses may vary by program, credential level and campus.

Program Outcomes

Our Medical Assistant students can earn a certificate of completion in approximately 7 months, or an associate of science degree in approximately 14 months.

Graduates are able to sit for one of the following certification exams, with first-time exam fees paid for by SJVC*. The certification exams graduates are eligible to sit for vary by credential level earned.

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

CAMA graduates who earn their A.S. Degrees from SJVC can 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 and CAMA graduates also earn Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Certification, CPR and First Aid Certification.

Program Availability

SJVC’s Medical Assistant program is available Online and at the following campuses:

Program credential level varies by campus.

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
  • Perform office accounting, bookkeeping & billing*
  • Prepare insurance claims*
    * CAMA program

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.