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Medical Assistant Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Medical Assistant Certification Course?

The Medical Assistant Certification Course is a 5-6-month program that prepares participants for entry-level positions in the healthcare field as Medical Assistants. Participants complete an accelerated medical assistant program which is then followed by 160+ hours of clinical externship experience with a prominent healthcare employer. Participants are provided continuing professional development skills training and job placement support after program completion.

When do these MA trainings begin?

Kaiser Permanente Orientation will take place on Friday, June 17.  Training will begin Friday, June 17 and continue through approximately November 17.  Graduation will be held November 18.

UCSF Orientation will take place on Friday, June 24.  Training will begin Monday, July 11 and continue through approximately November 11.  Graduation will be held November 18.

What is the application deadline?

Applications for both MA programs must be submitted by midnight on Sunday, May 1st. No exceptions will be made for late submissions.

When and where does the training take place?

Both Kaiser Permanente and UCSF programs will be blended training models, with real-time Zoom classroom instruction with JVS, and alternating in-person/zoom classroom training at the SFSU College of Extended Learning (SFSU-CEL) on Spear Street in downtown San Francisco. 

Participants will be given full details prior to program start. Professional Development sessions and Career Labs with JVS will take place via Zoom.  Classroom training is expected to be Tuesday through Friday 8:30am-3:30pm for Kaiser Permanente, and 9-3:30pm Monday through Friday for UCSF.  Additional in-person and zoom training with Kaiser Permanente and UCSF is expected.

For the Kaiser Permanente program, students will be required to travel to Oakland for 8 days for the phlebotomy training component that takes place in person at Project Heartbeat at 333 Hegenberger Rd #855, Oakland, CA 94621

What are some of the safety precautions or vaccination requirements for in-person classroom trainings?

Our last two cohorts were blended online/in-person learning models. Both Kaiser Permanente and UCSF programs will be hybrid models with live online instruction as well as in-person instruction. During in-person portions, all participants are expected to wear personal protective equipment, such as masks and gloves.  Social distancing, wellness screenings, and Infection Control protocols are in place to support safe training of all participants.  All program participants are required to provide proof of COVID19 Vaccinations, including boosters for these two training programs.

What is the cost for the program?

There is no fee or tuition costs for candidates that are accepted into the program.  Clients are expected to pay for their individual materials (such as notebooks, pens; etc) and transportation costs.   JVS pays for the following:

  1. Tuition at SFSU (which includes e-textbooks for the course)
  2. Basic Life Support (BLS) Certification
  3. State board-accepted NCCT Phlebotomy certification (CPT-1) for Kaiser Permanente program only
  4. State board-accepted Medical Assistant Certification Exam (CCMA-C)
  5. Drug Panel/Background Check
  6. Starter Uniform Kit

What is the certification and how is that different from the SFSU training?

JVS strives to be at the forefront of placing individuals with the most up-to-date skillsets in the field.  Several hospitals and clinics are moving towards requiring Medical Assistants to have a CA State Board-recognized certification, which is why JVS provides payment for the CCMA-C exam.  This is separate and in addition to receiving a Certificate of Completion as a Medical Assistant once participants pass the SFSU-CEL course.

What if I am a Medical Assistant but I need to become certified? Does JVS offer that support?

This program is for candidates who have not completed a Medical Assistant course.  MAs that are looking for refresher courses are encouraged to complete an interest form at the JVS MA Refresher page.  JVS does not currently offer support for certification only. We recommend that current MAs visit the CA Certifying Board for Medical Assistants at https://ccbma.org/ to become certified.

What if I am a phlebotomist with CPT-1 certification, but I’m trying to become trained as a Medical Assistant?

The Kaiser Permanente Medical Assistant Certification with CPT-1 Course is for candidates who have not completed a Medical Assistant or Phlebotomy course.  Phlebotomists who are looking to become MAs are encouraged to apply to the UCSF Medical Assistant Certification Course as they will not be eligible for the Kaiser Permanente program. 

Where do externships take place?

Externships with Kaiser Permanente will take place ambulatory clinics throughout San Francisco.  The main campuses include Geary, French Campus, and Mission Bay.  Externships with UCSF place ambulatory clinics throughout San Francisco.  The main campuses include Parnassus, Mt. Zion and Mission Bay, as well as additional SF satellite clinics.

What are the externship hours?

Externship schedules are expected to be full-time, 32-40 hours a week, from 8am-5pm.

Are the externships paid?

The live virtual and in-person portions of the training are not paid, however, externs will be paid for externships for both Kaiser Permanente and UCSF programs.

What are the physical and mental requirements of the program and externship?

During the program, participants will be expected to operate a computer/laptop to partake in live virtual zoom trainings, and expected to travel for in-person training sessions. The physical and mental requirements may vary depending upon the Kaiser Permanente placement site. The physical requirements are typically related to frequent sitting, standing, bending; using hands, fingers and wrist to operate a computer keyboard and mouse, as well as clinical tools to obtain vitals. The mental requirements are typically related to the ability to use reasonable and sound judgement and communication in accordance with Kaiser Permanente policy.

Will I be guaranteed a job after the externship ends?

We can never guarantee that an extern will be retained by their externship site once the externship ends.  All graduates will have continued job placement support with their program coordinator. 

What roles and wages are available to Medical Assistants?

This depends on the employment environment.  Hospital settings typically provide higher wages and benefits and have a more narrow scope of practice for MAs, and usually require additional experience.  Private and community clinics typically offer lower wages with more hands-on clinical practice.  Our target wages for entry-level positions are $19-$22/hour, and will vary depending on the employer and clinic type.

What are your ideal candidates like?

Candidates most likely to succeed in enrolling in the program are individuals that can articulate their specific interest in the healthcare field, enjoy working with people, are collaborative team players, are dedicated and able to commit to program completion, and take direction and feedback well.  We advise candidates to be thoughtful in filling out the application during recruitment and prepare specific examples to share during interviews.  Individuals who demonstrate that they will benefit from JVS support for this program to achieve their healthcare career goals are given higher priority.

What if I have something on my record? What types of backgrounds are you looking for?

All applicants will be asked to complete a General Conviction Statement disclosing any past criminal history. Applications will be considered on an individual basis and a conviction does not automatically disqualify an applicant.  We encourage candidates to be open so that JVS can determine how to best support individuals in the recruitment process.

What if I am taking a medication that may show up in a drug panel screen? What about cannabis or medical marijuana?

Individuals with physician-approved medications that may flag a drug panel screen will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.  Our program and employers operate on stricter guidelines and cannabis/marijuana use that shows on a drug panel screen will disqualify a participant from the program.

Can I apply for both programs?

No. Please apply for only ONE program.  This is to avoid duplication in efforts during the recruitment process.  Also, not all candidates will be eligible for both programs.  JVS staff will refer candidates and/or transfer an application to the other training program where applicable.

What happens after I apply?

There are multiple steps to the application process.  They may include the following:

  1. Phone screen
  2. Zoom Virtual interview
  3. Assessment Testing and Eligibility Paperwork
  4. Panel Interview
  5. Orientation

How will I know my status?

Candidates for the program will be notified via email about their status.  Candidates are highly encouraged to regularly check their email and spam folders to ensure they do not miss any communication from JVS.  Invitations to all the application steps, including not being moved forward, will be sent via email.  Due to the high volume of interest in the program, JVS staff will not be able to follow up with non-responsive candidates to assess continued interest. 

For Kaiser Permanente, all candidates may expect to receive a response by June 10th. For UCSF, all candidates may expect to receive a response by June 17th.

What do I do if you are not currently accepting applications?

Interested candidates may consider signing up for our email newsletter by visiting the webpage at https://www.jvs.org/courses/medical-assistant-certification-course-san-francisco-state-university/ and clicking on the “Express Interest” button at the bottom of the page. Enter your contact information to receive our Healthcare e-blast email updates when we are accepting applications to our program.

Where can I find out more about Medical Assistants?

We recommend that all candidates conduct their own research on the Medical Assistant role to determine if this is the right career path for them.  Some suggested places to start are:

https://cel.sfsu.edu/cma/course  – link to SFSU CEL Course description
https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/mobile/medical-assistants.htm  – Bureau of Labor Medical Assistant information and overview
https://www.cacareerzone.org/profile/31-9092.00 – CareerZone Medical Assistant job overview

Is there an Information Session I can attend about this program?

There is a recorded Information Session available on the JVS MA Training webpage.

If I have additional questions, who should I contact?

Email [email protected]