Medical Assistants

Training Without Certification

Medical assistants are unlicensed individuals who perform non-invasive routine technical support services under the supervision of a licensed physician and surgeon, podiatrist, physician assistant, nurse practitioner, or nurse midwife in a medical office or clinic setting without the need of receiving a certification. The supervisor must be on the premises in order for the medical assistant to perform non-invasive technical support services.

A medical assistant gains experience by training in one of two ways:

  1. Per Title 16 of the California Code of Regulations section 1366.3(a)(1), training under a licensed physician or podiatrist, who shall ascertain the proficiency of the medical assistant; or under a registered nurse, licensed vocational nurse, physician assistant, or a qualified medical assistant acting under the direction of a licensed physician or podiatrist who shall be responsible for determining the content of the training and proficiency of the medical assistant except that training to administer medication by inhalation shall be provided by a licensed physician or respiratory care practitioner; or
  2. Per Title 16 of the California Code of Regulations section 1366.3 (a)(2), in a secondary, postsecondary, or adult education program in a public school authorized by the Department of Education, in a community college program provided for in Part 48 of Division 7 of the Education Code, or a postsecondary institution accredited by an accreditation agency recognized by the United States Department of Education or approved by the Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education under Sections 94130 or 94311 of the Education Code. A licensed physician or podiatrist shall serve as advisor to the medical assistant training program. The instructor in a public school setting shall possess a valid teaching credential issued by the Commission on Teacher Credentialing. The instructor in a private postsecondary institution shall meet the requirements of Sections 94310 and 94311 of the Education Code and any regulations adopted pursuant to those sections.

Training With Certification

Qualified medical assistants, who are sometimes used for the purpose of initial training or teaching, must meet specific qualifications and pass an examination given by a certifying organization in order to obtain certification as a qualified medical assistant.

Per Title 16 of the California Code of Regulations section 1366.3 (c)(1)(2)(3), a “qualified medical assistant” is a medical assistant who:

  1. Is certified by a medical assistant certifying organization approved by the Board;
  2. Holds a credential to teach in a medical assistant training program at a community college; or
  3. Is authorized to teach medical assistants in a private postsecondary institution accredited by an accreditation agency recognized by the United States Department of Health or approved by the Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education.

A list of "Frequently Asked Questions" addressing the appropriate training, supervision, and scope of practice issues, is available to assist members of the public and profession to understand the role of the medical assistant within the health care system.

A copy of the Business and Professions Code, the Health and Safety Code, and the California Code of Regulations, relating to the scope of practice of medical assistants in the State of California, may be obtained below.