Those who wish to become a medical assistant (MA) in California should have at least a high school diploma or GED. It is possible to work as an MA without certification in this state, but you must be able to satisfactorily demonstrate that you meet the Medical Board of California’s training criteria.
Some employers or their malpractice insurance carriers prefer MAs to become certified by a state or nationally-approved certifying agency. If you enrolled in an accredited medical assisting program, you are eligible to take most certification exams upon earning the diploma, certificate, or associate’s degree. If you received training while on the job, the California Certifying Board for Medical Assistants requires you to be fully employed for at least two of the last five years.
The tasks performed by MAs vary based on certification and place of employment. As long as the procedures are non-invasive, and they are completed under the express orders and supervision of the licensed physician or nurse practitioner, most MAs in California may:
- Draw blood
- Screen vision and hearing
- Administer intramuscular (in the muscles), subcutaneous (under the skin), or intradermal (between layers of the skin) injections
- Administer flu shots and vaccinations
- Take blood pressure, height and weight measurements
There are several procedures MAs are prohibited from performing:
- Starting and disconnecting the infusion tube of an IV
- Administering medications into the IV
- Charting pupillary responses
- Inserting a catheter
- Performing telephone triage without supervision
- Injecting collagen
- Using lasers for hair, wrinkle, scar, etc. removal
- Administering chemotherapy
Individual employers may train MAs on additional responsibilities as needed.