SDSU’s Clinical Medical Assistant Program Opens Doors to a Solid Career Choice

James Cothron

James Cothron

If your goal is to enter the field of healthcare, and you want a career you can train for quickly, becoming a Clinical Medical Assistant is an excellent choice. With patient loads ever increasing, physicians rely on CMAs to help them complete many of the routine tasks involved in patient care. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, employment of medical assistants is projected to grow 29 percent through 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations.

San Diego State University’s College of Extended Studies offers a comprehensive Clinical Medical Assistant course with 140 hours of classroom lecture and hands-on labs, plus a 160-hour clinical externship at a local healthcare service provider for students who qualify.

“The program can really help open many doors for students — whether it’s getting medical assistant licensure or going on to further your medical profession,” says graduate Makenna Wilcoxson. “The externship is a great way to get your foot in the door. Students leave the program with 160 hours of medical experience. This looks great on a résumé.”

“Students are exposed to the administrative, clinical, and laboratory aspects of a medical facility, which gives them several areas within the industry to explore,” says instructor James Cothron, who views the class schedule as another strength of the program. “We meet twice a week from 6–9:30 pm, and six Saturdays from 9–4:30 pm., making it convenient for students with work or family responsibilities.”

Cothron’s long career in health care began in 1977 in Columbus, Ohio at Grant Medical Center as a Float Patient Care Assistant. He has since worked as a Medical Assistant with Scripps Mercy Clinics, followed by a tenure with Rady’s Children Physicians Management Service.

“During my employment with RCPMS, I obtained my Bachelor of Science in Human Services Management from the University of Phoenix in San Diego,” said Cothron, whose teaching career began with the Medical Assistant program at San Diego’s Concorde Career Colleges in 2010. He has been the instructor for SDSU’s Clinical Medical Assistant program since the spring of 2018, and what he enjoys most is, “Knowing that my students have successfully completed the course and passed the certification examination! My objective in the classroom is to create both an environment of enlightenment and enjoyment!”

Cothron is also a full-time minister.

 SDSU’s College of Extended Studies also offers an EKG Technician Certification course, and Pharmacy Technician Training and Test Prep. Learn more at neverstoplearning.net/healthcare.