Medical Assisting


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.