Medical Assisting Program Information







Length and Kind of Program

Several options are available to those interested in working in the Ambulatory Care environment:


1.         Medical Assistant Certificate of Achievement

This Medical Assistant program may be completed in two semesters when started with the Fall semester.  The focus is on both front office (administrative) and back office (clinical) responsibilities.  A clinical lab experience is completed through an internship or occupational work experience.

2.         Medical Assistant Associate in Arts Degree

The student must complete the requirements for a Certificate of Achievement in Medical Assisting.  In addition, the student must take A&P 120, electives, and general education requirements to achieve a minimum of 60 units.  The length of time to complete this depends on the student’s curriculum load.  See the Cerritos College Graduation Requirements. 


Full time students can complete this program in two semesters when starting with the fall semester.  Discussion with the department chair regarding questions on course selection is encouraged.  Course selection for a full-time Fall student is recommended as follows:


Fall:  MA 60, MA 63, MA 64, MA 161, HO 53, HO 54, HO 55.


Spring:  MA 66, MA 67, MA 68 or MA 73 or MA 74, PSYC 101 or PSYC 150 or equivalent and additional electives if needed.


Full-time students starting in the Spring semester are advised to consult with the program chairperson regarding course selection(s).


The program is designed to help meet the needs of the part-time student as well.  Course selection in numeral order is advised.  Again, consult with the program chair regarding specific course selection questions.  Some classes are offered in specific semesters and efficient planning is necessary.




Academic Requirement

The student may obtain a Certificate of Achievement or an Associate of Arts in Medical Assisting. The student must achieve a grade of “C” or better in allrequired medical assisting and general education course work. (Twelve units of the Medical Assistant program must have been taken within the last five (5) years.) MA 67 and MA 68 have prerequisite courses, which must be completed with a grade of “C” or higher.


Program Progression/Completion

Successful completion of all levels of course work is necessary for completion of and graduation from the program of study.  In order to complete the program, the student must maintain a grade of “C” or higher whether enrolled in combined lecture/lab courses, practicums, or clinical experiences.  When content is tiered, each level must be completed according to identified criteria.  Upon successful completion of all program requirements, students are eligible to receive either the Certificate and/or Associate in Arts degree.



  1. See the college catalog for enrollment fees
  2. The student may expect to spend approximately $600 for books, equipment (including watch with a second hand), and uniforms.  Health screening will be at the student’s expense.  This may include but not limited to immunizations and CPR/First Aid certification completed at private agencies.  Students are responsible for their own living accommodations, uniform laundry, and transportation to selected clinics.


Essential requirements for the Medical Assistant Program


The Medical Assistant (MA) Program requires the acquisition of knowledge and skills related to the practice of patient care in ambulatory settings.  Cerritos College endeavors to educate students who have the ability to become highly competent MAs.  Program completion decisions for starting and/or completing the MA program are based on the academic clinical factors which serve to insure that the student can complete the essential functions of the MA program in a variety of clinical settings such as general practice, internal medicine, pediatrics, OB/GYN, after hours care, and specialty practices in the ambulatory care settings.


Cerritos College is committed to the principle of equal opportunity, and as such does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientations, age, marital status, disability or veteran status.  When requested, the College and the Program will provide reasonable accommodation to otherwise qualified students with disabilities.


The program curriculum requires the following essential abilities:  sensory and motor skills related to patient treatment, ability to comprehend, analyze problem solving and behavioral and social aspects of performance related to that of a medical assistant.  The student must have the cognitive abilities necessary to master relevant content in academic and clinical courses at a level deemed appropriate by the faculty.  These skills may be described as the ability to comprehend, memorize, analyze and synthesize material.  S/he must be able to discern and comprehend dimensional and spatial relationships of structures and develop reasoning and decision-making skills appropriate to the practice of medical assisting.


The student must have the ability to demonstrate proper body mechanics.  The students must have the ability to safely assist a patient in moving: different positions on the exam table, from a chair to an exam table and back down, or from a car to a wheelchair and from a wheelchair to a car.  The student will be able to: sit up to 1.5 hours in an 8 hour shift (charting, talking on the phone; stand or walk on a continuous basis (rooming patients, assisting provider, retrieving medical records/X-rays/lab reports, assisting family members; equipment sanitization/disinfection; lifting on a frequent basis from 25 to 250 pounds (charts, equipment, X-rays, supplies, patients); pushing on a frequent basis up to 45 pounds effort (gurneys, wheelchairs, carts, crash cart); pulling on a frequent basis up to 70 pounds effort (positioning patients on the exam table/surgical table, transferring from gurney or wheelchair to chair/exam table); crouching frequently = bending at the knees (retrieving supplies/equipment from cabinet shelves/off the floor); stooping frequently = bending at the waist (during assisting the provider, procedures, retrieval of items from cabinet); twisting frequently (transferring patients, assisting provider with procedures/treatments, performing sterile techniques); reaching frequently (during procedures, EKGs, transferring, assisting provider/family members, obtaining supplies); kneeling occasionally (transferring patients, performing CPR, obtaining supplies); handling and grasping frequently (preparing and administering medications, performing dressing changes, suture/staple removal and other procedures, manipulation of oxygen equipment, obtaining supplies, using computer keyboards, fine motor dexterity for handling medical instruments, autoclave operation); operations of equipment and tools on a frequent basis ranging from 2 to 40 pounds of effort (bovie machine, CPR crash cart, sigmoidoscopy, suture trays, surgical trays, cystoscopes, exam tables, autoclave operation, measuring vital signs, specimen collection, phlebotomy.


The student must be able to take information and record patient treatment into the patient’s record.  The student must be able to communicate with the patient, caregiver and staff, all aspects related to the patient’s care.  This communication will include verbal, written and non-verbal content including the transmission and follow-up inquiry of information.  The student must be capable of responsive, empathetic listening and speaking to establish rapport in a way that promotes openness on issues and concern and sensitivity to potential cultural differences.  S/he must have the emotional stability to function effectively under stress and be able to adapt to an environment which may change rapidly without warning and/or in unpredictable ways.


These essential requirements of medical assistant education are used in consideration of starting, retention and completion from the Cerritos College program.  Graduates are expected to be fully qualified to enter the profession as an MA.  It is the responsibility of the student with disabilities to provide verification of the disability and resulting limitations, and to make advance requests for those accommodations that s/he feels are reasonable and needed to execute the essential requirements described above.



Employment in this field requires good vision, hearing, and the ability to communicate verbally, nonverbally and through written word.  In addition, students must have the ability to comprehend, analyze, and evaluate patients’ charts in order to provide appropriate treatment.  Students must be able to record in the patients’ charts and have the manual dexterity to use small instruments to provide patient care.  The student must be able to work as a team player and demonstrate efficient customer service skills.


Internship and Occupational Work Experience

Health clearance requirements will vary depending on where clinical lab experiences will be completed (MA 68, MA 73, MA 74).  To be placed in a health care facility where direct patient contact will occur (MA 68, MA 73, MA 74), the student must present evidence of compliance with facility health standards and current certification in CPR and First Aid training.  The health standards will include, but are not limited to, T.B. testing and immunization.  The Medical Assistant Program Record of Immunizations, Vaccination, and Test for (located in HS room 106) must be completed before the first class session and prior to placement in the health care facility.  Health clearance, CPR and First Aid requirements must be valid for the duration of the clinical affiliation.  Student placements are predominately during the day hours.


Criminal Background Check

Clearance of a criminal background check may be required prior to internship/work experience placement.  Students who do not clear agency requirements are not eligible for clinical placement and will, consequently, be ineligible to continue in the course.  If there is any concern regarding clearance of a criminal background check, please contact the Health Occupations Division for additional information.


Medical Assisting

Certificate of Achievement


Course Number          Course Name                                                        Units

HO53    Electrocardiography                                                                          1.0

HO54    Medical Laboratory Skills                                                                  1.0

HO55    Phlebotomy Procedures                                                                   1.5

MA60     Introduction to Medical Assisting                                                     2.0

MA63     Health Insurance Coding and Billing                                                3.0

MA64     Medical Office Assisting                                                                   3.0

MA66    Medications and Specialties                                                             3.0

MA67    Medical Office Administration                                                           3.0

*MA68   Medical Assisting Internship Experience                                         4.0

*MA73  Medical Assisting Occupational Work Experience                           (3.0)

*MA74   Medical Assisting Occupational Work Experience                          (4.0)

MA161   Medical Terminology                                                                      3.0


PSYC101  General Introductory Psychology                                               3.0

or PSYC150 Personal and Social Adjustment                                            (3.0)

AND classes from the list below to complete a minimum of 29 units:

BCOT114   Introduction to Microsoft Office                                                 3.5

CIS101  Introduction to Computer Information Systems                             3.0

HO150   Professional/CPR and First Aid (Fall semester only)                    1.5

HO152  Nutrition                                                                                          3.0

SPAN223   Spanish for Health and Medical Careers (or equivalent)          3.0

TOTAL CERTIFICATE REQUIREMENTS:                                                (29)31

*Students may select one of these options to complete the medical assisting internship requirement.  Only one option can be selected and the course may not be repeated more than one time.  Students not currently employed in a medical office should enroll in MA 68. Students who are currently employed in a medical office up to 19 hours per week shouldenroll in MA 73. Students who are currently employed in a medical office more than 20 hours per week should enroll in MA 74.

 CAREER OPPORTUNITIES:  Upon completion of the program, employment is available as a medical assistant, in a variety of settings: office clinics, hospitals, insurance companies, government agencies, pharmaceutical companies, and educational institutions.  Job duties can entail front office (administrative) duties such as receptionist and insurance clerk to back office (clinical) duties such as assisting the provider of care or lab duties