Do You Need to Be Certified as a Medical Assistant to Work in California?

Do You Need to Be Certified as a Medical Assistant to Work in California?

Medical assistants are an important part of the healthcare system.

Demand for medical assistants is high right now, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics projecting an 18% increase in positions between 2020 and 2030.[1] This demand raises questions like "Can you be a medical assistant without certification?" which is especially relevant given the varied state requirements.

Most medical assistant programs take between 9 and 24 months to complete, with most employers preferring certified medical assistants.

If you are interested in becoming a medical assistant, you can usually find several Medical Assisting Certificate programs in your local region.

Are You Required to Become Certified as a Medical Assistant?

In California, there is no mandatory requirement for certification to work as a medical assistant. However, it will be much easier to find employment if you are certified as a medical assistant. This leads many to ask if they can work as a medical assistant without certification and still find good job opportunities.

According to the Medical Board of California:

“Medical assistants are not required to be licensed or certified by the State of California. Despite this, many people still wonder, "Do medical assistants need to be certified in California?" as local employer preferences can vary. For example, the medical assistant's employer and/or supervising physician's or podiatrist's malpractice insurance carrier may require that the medical assistant be certified by a national or private association.”

In the United States, only four states require all medical assistants to be certified: Idaho, Washington, Connecticut, and New Jersey.

MA’s in other states usually choose to stay certified, as jobs can be very competitive, and employers generally will choose a certified candidate over an uncertified candidate. Uncertified individuals frequently inquire, "Can I work as a medical assistant without certification?" considering the competitive nature of the field. Also, according to a 2020 study by the National Healthcare Association (NHA), 63% of healthcare institutions increase pay when an employee earns professional certification. Many medical assistants may pursue specialized certifications to advance their career opportunities.

How Often Do You Need to Renew your Medical Assistant Certification?

In California, depending on your certification, you may need to recertify every 1 to 5 years. For example, the Nationally Certified Medical Assistant certificate (NCMA) must be re-certified every 12 months.

What Medical Assistant Certifications are Available?

Some of the most common certifications for medical assistants are:

  • Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) certification
  • Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) certification
  • Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) certification
  • Nationally Certified Medical Assistant (NCMA) certification

Campus, formerly known as MTI College, prepares students to pass the Nationally Certified Medical Assistant (NCMA) Exam. We also prepare them for all the above tests, except the CMAA (which is certified by CAAHEP).

You can read more about each of the certifications here.

Note on Certification and Externship

MTI College assists in getting students certified, with most of our students haven taken and passed their NCMA exam prior to heading to externship.

Do You Want to Start Your Career as a Medical Assistant?

Becoming a Medical Assistant is a great way to start a career in the medical field, with many ways to advance your career. Campus in Sacramento offers two programs to help you become a NCMA certified Medical Assistant.

Our flagship Medical Assistant program is a 36 week program that trains students in the protocols and procedures used every day in clinics, hospitals, and assisted living environments.

Due to popular demand, we also offer a Medical Assistant with Phlebotomy Certification program that helps students become certified as a medical assistant and become a Certified Phlebotomy Technician.

If you want to take the first step towards this in-demand career, complete the Request Information form or call our Admissions team to learn more today!

[1] Note: The data provided above are from a source unaffiliated with Campus, are for informational purposes only and represent the employment field as a whole. They are not solely specific to Campus graduates and, by providing the above information, Campus makes no representation, direct or implied, or opinion regarding employability.