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.  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.  Discussion with the department chair regarding questions on course selection is encouraged.  Course selection for a full-time student is recommended as follows:

First Semester:  MA 60, MA 63, MA 64, MA 161, HO 53, HO 54, HO 55 (elective from list).

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

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 all required 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. 


A. See the college catalog for enrollment fees.

B. 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

Technical Standards/Essential Functions are available for you to review on the program’s website.  They have been designed to give you more information about the profession and important skills/functions.  This information will be helpful to assist you in deciding on your career path.


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 forms (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 Course Name Units
HO 53 Electrocardiography 1.0
HO 54 Medical Laboratory Skills 1.0
HO 55 Phlebotomy Procedures 1.5
MA 60 Introduction to Medical Assisting 2.0
MA 63 Health Insurance Coding and Billing 3.0
MA 64 Medical Office Assisting 3.0
MA 66 Medications and Specialties 3.0
MA 67 Medical Office Administration 3.0
*MA 68 Medical Assisting Internship Experience 4.0
*MA 73 Medical Assisting Occupational Work Experience (3.0)
*MA 74 Medical Assisting Occupational Work Experience (4.0)
MA 161 Medical Terminology 3.0


Course Course Name Units
PSYC 101 General Introductory Psychology 3.0
or PSYC 150 Personal and Social Adjustment (3.0)

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

Course Course Name Units
BCOT 114 Introduction to Microsoft Office 3.5
CIS 101 Introduction to Computer Information Systems 3.0
HO 150 Professional/CPR and First Aid (Currently not offered) 1.5
HO 152 Nutrition 3.0
SPAN 223 Spanish for Health and Medical Careers (or equivalent) 3.0

*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 should enroll in MA 73. Students who are currently employed in a medical office more than 20 hours per week should enroll in MA 74.


For an Associate in Arts Degree, a student must meet the requirements for a Certificate of Achievement in Medical Assisting.  The student must take A&P 120, electives and General Education Requirements to achieve a minimum of 60 units.  See Cerritos College Graduation Requirements.

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.