13 Best Medical Assistant Programs in Illinois | 2024

Prepare for entry-level healthcare roles with the best Medical Assistant programs in Illinois. Programs

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Discover the best Medical Assistant programs in Illinois, including detailed information about their prerequisites, requirements, salary expectations after graduation, and more. Whether you'd like to apply to a program today or just generally curious about the role, you've come to the right place.

What Is a Medical Assistant Program in Illinois?

Medical Assistant programs in Illinois offer a blend of classroom education and hands-on training to equip students with the necessary skills and knowledge to perform a wide range of duties in medical settings. The goal is to prepare graduates to efficiently assist in patient care, perform administrative tasks, and conduct clinical procedures under the supervision of healthcare professionals.

Medical Assistant Coursework

The coursework for a Medical Assistant program typically covers a broad spectrum of subjects to ensure comprehensive training. Here's a list of common coursework components:

  • Anatomy and Physiology: Understanding the human body's structure and function.
  • Medical Terminology: Learning the language used in healthcare settings.
  • Clinical Procedures: Training in basic clinical tasks such as taking vital signs, administering injections, and assisting with minor surgeries.
  • Pharmacology: Basics of medication, including types, uses, and administration.
  • Medical Law and Ethics: Overview of legal and ethical considerations in healthcare.
  • Medical Billing and Coding: Introduction to the coding systems used for billing and insurance purposes.
  • Patient Relations: Skills for effective communication and interaction with patients.
  • First Aid and CPR: Certification in emergency care procedures.
  • Computer Applications in Healthcare: Using software for patient records and office management.

Medical Assistant Clinical Training

Clinical training is a crucial part of a Medical Assistant program, providing hands-on experience in a real-world medical setting. This training typically includes:

  • Patient Care: Assisting with patient examinations, taking medical histories, and preparing patients for procedures.
  • Diagnostic Testing: Performing basic laboratory tests and EKGs, and preparing blood samples for testing.
  • Medical Office Procedures: Scheduling appointments, managing patient records, and handling billing and insurance processing.
  • Infection Control: Applying proper sterilization and disinfection techniques.
  • Clinical Externship: A supervised placement in a healthcare facility, allowing students to apply their skills and knowledge in a practical setting.

Best Medical Assistant Programs in Illinois - Online & On-Campus

The following schools have been selected based on allnurses' methodology of surveying our readers to understand what they value most, with the addition of graduation rates, student-faculty ratio, price, mode, duration, and admission rates of hundreds of the most prominent nursing schools in the United States.

1. Southwestern Illinois College

Southwestern Illinois College offers a comprehensive Medical Assistant program that prepares students for both the clinical and administrative aspects of medical assisting. The program is structured to provide a blend of classroom education and hands-on training, ensuring students are well-equipped to enter the healthcare field.

Program Highlights:

  • Program Types: Offers both an Associate in Applied Science Degree and a Certificate in Medical Assisting.
  • Coursework: Includes Medical Office Clinical Procedures, Medical Law & Ethics, Pharmacology, Medical Insurance & Coding, and a variety of other essential subjects.
  • Clinical Training: Features a practicum and an internship, providing real-world experience in medical settings.
  • Duration: The certificate program can be completed within a year, while the Associate degree typically takes two years of full-time study.

2. Midwest Technical Institute

Midwest Technical Institute (MTI) offers a Medical Assisting program that emphasizes hands-on training to prepare students for careers in the medical field. This program is designed to equip students with the necessary skills for managing patient care and performing administrative tasks in healthcare settings.

Program Highlights:

  • Hands-On Training: Students receive practical training in labs that simulate real healthcare environments, ensuring they are ready for the workforce.
  • Accelerated Training: The program can be completed in just 9 months, allowing students to enter the job market quickly.
  • Experienced Instructors: All instructors have real-world experience in the medical field, providing valuable insights and knowledge to students.
  • Flexible Scheduling: Offers both daytime and evening classes to accommodate students with busy schedules.
  • Career Placement: MTI provides career counseling and placement assistance to all qualified graduates, helping them find employment after completion of the program.
  • Program Length: 35 weeks (9 months) including 765 clock hours (225 externship hours) and 135 additional outside clock hours.
  • Credits: 26.5 semester credits.

3. William Rainey Harper College

William Rainey Harper College offers a Medical Assistant Certificate program that is designed to prepare students for a career as a Certified Medical Assistant. This program focuses on both the administrative and clinical aspects of medical assisting, ensuring graduates are well-equipped to support healthcare professionals in a variety of settings.

Program Highlights:

  • Credit Hours: The program consists of 36 credit hours.
  • Stackable to Degree: Credits earned in the Medical Assistant Certificate program can be applied towards the Health Care Office Manager AAS degree.
  • Comprehensive Curriculum: Includes courses on human anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, clinical procedures, health care records management, principles of health insurance billing, and an externship.
  • Flexible Scheduling: The program can be taken part-time, with many courses available in the evening.
  • Clinical Externship: Includes a hands-on externship experience in a healthcare setting.

4. Rend Lake College

Rend Lake College offers a comprehensive Medical Assistant program designed to prepare students for a career in the healthcare field. The program provides training in both administrative and clinical duties to support physicians and other healthcare professionals in offices, clinics, and other facilities.

Program Highlights:

  • Program Options: Offers an Associate in Applied Science Degree and an Occupational Certificate in Medical Assisting.
  • Duration: The Associate degree can be completed in as little as four semesters, while the certificate program can take as little as two semesters.
  • Curriculum: Includes courses on medical law & ethics, pharmacology, anatomy & physiology, administrative aspects, patient care, billing & coding, and a practicum experience.
  • Total Credit Hours: 66 hours for the degree program and 36 hours for the certificate program.
  • Practicum Requirement: Both programs include a practicum experience, requiring students to complete a total of 200 unpaid hours at a designated site.

5. Lewis and Clark Community College

Lewis-Clark State College offers a Medical Assistant Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree designed to prepare students as multi-skilled Allied Health Professionals. The program emphasizes a broad scope of administrative and clinical duties within a medical facility.

Program Highlights:

  • Program Options: Students can pursue an Intermediate Technical Certificate (ITC) or an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree, with both pathways leading to eligibility for the CMA (AAMA) exam.
  • Hands-On Training: The program includes 180 hours of clinical experience in a medical facility, providing practical, hands-on skills training.
  • Cross-Training: Students are cross-trained in all aspects of administrative and clinical duties, ensuring versatility in the job market.

6. Carl Sandburg College

Carl Sandburg College's Medical Assisting program is tailored for individuals looking to enter the fast-growing healthcare occupation of medical assisting. With a comprehensive curriculum that covers both the theoretical knowledge and practical skills needed in the field, graduates are well-prepared for immediate employment in various healthcare settings.

Program Highlights:

  • Career Pathways: Graduates have the opportunity to advance into other health programs offered by the college, such as Practical Nursing (LPN), Associate Degree Nursing (RN), Paramedic (EMS), and Radiologic Technology.
  • Admission Requirements: Prospective students must meet with an academic advisor, attend a program orientation session, have Healthcare Provider CPR certification, provide proof of immunizations and required titers, undergo a TB test, physical examination, criminal background check, and drug screening.

7. Illinois Central College

Illinois Central College (ICC) offers a Medical Assistant Certificate program designed to prepare students for a rewarding healthcare career. The program focuses on training students to work closely with doctors and nurses, performing a variety of clinical and patient procedures, including taking patients' vitals, administering treatments, and working in a lab.

Program Highlights:

  • Duration and Credits: The program can be completed in 12 months if attending full-time, spanning over 3 semesters with a total of 26 credit hours.
  • Clinical Training: Includes an eight-week, 180-hour training at OSF and Carle Health in Peoria and surrounding communities, providing hands-on experience in actual medical settings.
  • Cost: Estimated at $4,030 plus supplies and fees for the 2023-24 academic year. Financial aid and scholarships are available to help manage the cost.
  • Class Size: Average class size of 20 students, allowing for more individualized attention and a higher success rate.

8. Highland Community College

Highland Community College offers a Medical Assistant program designed for individuals seeking a fast-paced career in medical settings. The program equips students with both administrative and clinical skills necessary for a variety of healthcare environments.

Program Highlights:

  • Skills Training: Students learn to obtain patient histories and vital signs, perform phlebotomy and EKGs, administer injections, apply bandages, manage records, and process insurance billing.
  • Externship Experience: Includes an externship before graduation, allowing students to demonstrate the knowledge and skills acquired in the classroom in real-world settings.
  • Total Credits: The certificate program comprises 37 total credit hours, divided across two semesters.

9. College of Lake County

The Medical Assisting program at the College of Lake County (CLC) in Waukegan, Illinois, offers a fast, affordable path to a career in the medical field. This program is designed to prepare students for in-demand jobs in healthcare by teaching them to perform both administrative and clinical duties in various medical settings.

Program Highlights:

  • Duration: The program can be completed in one year or less, offering a quick route to entering the healthcare workforce.
  • Clinical Externship: Students gain real-world experience through a clinical externship at partner healthcare institutions in the community.
  • Financial Support: Opportunities for financial support include the Pipeline for the Advancement of the Healthcare Workforce Program (PATH) grant and eligibility for Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA)-awarded vouchers.
  • Stackable Credentials: The program offers stackable credentials, allowing students to earn and learn as they go. This includes a career certificate and the option to pursue an associate degree.
  • Cost: The career certificate program costs approximately $8,716, while the associate degree program costs about $12,013.

10. Moraine Valley Community College

The mission of the Medical Assistant Program at Moraine Valley Community College is to provide an academic, social, and ethical environment that enables students to achieve entry into the medical assistant career. This program is suited for individuals who have good communication skills, a caring manner, and an interest in working in both clinical and administrative settings within the healthcare industry.

Program Highlights

  • Externship: Includes a 160-hour unpaid training at one of Moraine Valley's affiliated clinical sites, offering hands-on experience in actual medical settings.
  • Admission Requirements: Open to individuals 18 years or older who are high school graduates or equivalent. Prospective students must meet with an Academic Advisor and attend a program orientation session.
  • Technical Standards: Students must be able to perform essential functions such as using digital fine motor skills, seeing clearly, working standing for the majority of the day, and lifting a minimum of 25 pounds unassisted.

11. Fox College

Fox College offers a comprehensive Medical Assisting Associate of Applied Science Degree program designed to prepare students for a rewarding healthcare career. This 12-month accelerated program equips students with essential clinical and administrative skills needed in medical offices and hospitals.

Program Highlights:

  • Clinical and Administrative Training: Students learn to perform injections, administer medications, run medical lab tests, file medical records, manage patient scheduling, and maintain medical records using office systems.
  • Hands-on Experience: The program includes hands-on training in a simulated medical laboratory classroom equipped with the same types of medical equipment used in physicians' offices.
  • Focused Curriculum: The majority of class time is directly related to medical assisting, allowing students to complete the accelerated program in just 12 months.
  • Externship: An 8-week externship provides practical experience and the opportunity to make valuable industry contacts, with many students being hired directly by their externship employers.

12. Coyne College

Coyne College in Chicago offers a Medical Assistant program designed to prepare students for a dynamic career in healthcare. This program emphasizes both the theoretical knowledge and practical skills necessary for medical assistants to effectively support doctors and nurses in providing quality care.

Program Highlights:

  • Comprehensive Curriculum: The program covers a wide range of subjects crucial to the medical assisting profession, including Medical Terminology, Pharmacology, Anatomy and Pathophysiology, Basic Insurance and Billing, Medical Office Procedures, and Law and Ethics.
  • Hands-on Experience: In addition to classroom learning, Coyne College dedicates six weeks of the program to learning Electronic Health Records (EHRs), ensuring students are proficient in this essential area.
  • Externship: A key component of the program is an externship that allows students to apply their learned skills in a real-world medical assisting environment, providing valuable experience and industry contacts.
  • Duration: With day scheduling options available, students can earn a diploma in as little as 54 weeks, enabling them to enter the workforce quickly.

13. College of DuPage

The Medical Assistant program at the College of DuPage offers both a certificate and a two-year Associate in Applied Science degree. This program prepares students to work in medical offices, performing a wide range of administrative and clinical procedures. It caters to both full-time and part-time students, incorporating hands-on clinical experience into the curriculum.

Program Highlights:

  • Flexible Scheduling: The program accommodates both full-time and part-time students, making it accessible to a wide range of learners.
  • Comprehensive Training: Students learn administrative duties such as scheduling appointments and patient registration, as well as clinical duties including recording vital signs, preparing patients for examination, collecting blood specimens, performing laboratory tests, sterilizing equipment, and administering medications.

Medical Assistant Prerequisites & Requirements

Medical Assistant programs in Illinois, like those in other states, have specific prerequisites and requirements that students must meet to enroll and complete the program. These criteria are designed to ensure that students are prepared for the rigors of the program and can effectively pursue a career as a medical assistant upon graduation.

Prerequisites of Medical Assistant Programs in Illinois

  • High School Diploma or GED: Applicants must have completed high school or have a General Educational Development (GED) certificate.
  • Minimum Age Requirement: Most programs require students to be at least 18 years old by the time they start the clinical portion of the program.
  • Health Immunizations: Up-to-date immunizations are typically required, including Hepatitis B, MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella), Varicella (Chickenpox), and a TB test. Some programs may also require a flu shot.
  • Background Check: A clean criminal background check is often required to ensure the safety of patients and to comply with healthcare facility requirements for clinical training.
  • Drug Screening: Applicants may need to pass a drug screening test as part of the admission process.

Requirements of Medical Assistant Programs in Illinois

  • Completion of Coursework: Students must complete all required coursework with a satisfactory grade, often a "C" or better, in both clinical and administrative subjects.
  • Clinical Practicum/Externship: Successful completion of a clinical practicum or externship is required. This hands-on training is completed in a healthcare setting, providing real-world experience under supervision.
  • Certification Exam: While not always a requirement of the program itself, many employers prefer or require certification. After completing the program, graduates are eligible to sit for certification exams, such as the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) exam offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) or the Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) exam.
  • CPR Certification: Students must obtain CPR certification from a recognized organization like the American Heart Association or the Red Cross, which is often a requirement before starting clinical training.
  • Technical Skills Assessment: Some programs may require students to demonstrate proficiency in basic technical skills related to healthcare, such as using medical software, understanding privacy laws (HIPAA), and performing basic clinical tasks.

Illinois Medical Assistant Salary Expectations

According to the latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for Medical Assistants in the state is $38,720, or $18.40 per hour. This is slightly lower than the average for Illinois, which is $40,730.

Employment of medical assistants is projected to grow 14 percent from 2022 to 2032, which is much faster than the average for other occupations.

While these figures are directional, it's important to consider the various factors that affect salary expectations, such as geography, years of experience, employer, level of education, and more.

The top-paying states include:

  • Washington: $50,350
  • District of Columbia: $50,020
  • Alaska: $49,400
  • California: $47,850
  • Minnesota: $47,330

Are Medical Assistant Programs Worth It in Illinois?

Deciding whether a Medical Assistant program in Illinois is worth it requires considering the various advantages and disadvantages, relevant to your goals and financial situation.

Pros of Medical Assistant Programs in Illinois

  1. Growing Demand: The healthcare industry is expanding, and with it, the demand for medical assistants. Illinois, with its large and aging population, has a steady need for healthcare services, making medical assisting a stable career choice.
  2. Short Duration of Training: Compared to other healthcare professions, Medical Assistant programs can be completed in a relatively short period, often within a year for certificate programs or two years for associate degrees, allowing for quicker entry into the workforce.
  3. Diverse Work Environments: Graduates can find employment in various settings, including hospitals, clinics, private practices, and specialized medical facilities, offering a wide range of experiences.
  4. Foundation for Advancement: For those looking to further their careers in healthcare, working as a medical assistant can provide valuable experience and a stepping stone to more advanced positions, such as nursing or healthcare administration, with additional education.
  5. Competitive Salaries and Benefits: Medical assistants in Illinois can expect competitive salaries and benefits, including health insurance, paid time off, and retirement plans, which contribute to job satisfaction and financial stability.

Cons of Medical Assistant Programs in Illinois

  1. Cost of Education: The cost of completing a Medical Assistant program can be a significant investment, and not all students may have access to financial aid or scholarships, leading to potential debt.
  2. Physical and Emotional Demands: The role of a medical assistant can be physically demanding, requiring long hours on your feet. It also involves dealing with patients in distress, which can be emotionally taxing.
  3. Limited Scope of Practice: Medical assistants have a defined scope of practice, which can limit the procedures they are allowed to perform, potentially leading to job dissatisfaction for those seeking more clinical responsibilities.
  4. Job Competition: While there is a demand for medical assistants, certain areas may have a saturated job market, making it competitive for new graduates to find positions.
  5. Continuing Education Requirements: To maintain certification and stay current with healthcare practices, medical assistants may need to complete continuing education, which can be time-consuming and sometimes costly.

Ultimately, Medical Assistant programs in Illinois offer a viable path to a rewarding career in healthcare for many individuals.

Importance of Picking an Accredited Medical Assistant Program in Illinois

Choosing an accredited online Medical Assistant program in Illinois is crucial for several reasons:

  • Quality Education: Accreditation ensures the program meets high standards for curriculum, faculty, and student resources, providing a quality education that prepares students for the workforce.
  • Certification Eligibility: Graduates from accredited programs are eligible to sit for national certification exams, such as the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) exam, which is often required by employers.
  • Employment Opportunities: Employers prefer hiring graduates from accredited programs, recognizing their comprehensive training and readiness for the medical assisting role.
  • Transfer Credits: Credits from an accredited program are more likely to be accepted by other institutions if you decide to pursue further education.

The primary accrediting bodies for Medical Assistant programs are the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES).

Medical Assistant Programs Near Me

Discover the best Medical Assistant programs in the following states:

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: How long does it typically take to complete a Medical Assistant program in Illinois?

The length of Medical Assistant programs in Illinois can vary depending on whether you choose a certificate, diploma, or associate degree path. Certificate and diploma programs can often be completed in about 9 to 12 months if attending full-time. Associate degree programs typically take about two years to complete when attending full-time. Part-time options are available but will extend the program's duration.

Q: Can I work in a physician's office immediately after completing a Medical Assistant program?

Graduates of Medical Assistant programs are well-prepared for entry-level positions in physician's offices. These roles may involve a mix of clinical and administrative duties, such as assisting with patient care, managing medical records, and scheduling appointments. Certification may enhance job prospects and credibility.

Q: Is it possible to complete a Medical Assistant program on a part-time basis?

Many schools offer part-time Medical Assistant programs to accommodate students who may be working or have other commitments. Part-time study allows for a more flexible schedule, although it will take longer to complete the program compared to full-time study. The availability of part-time options varies by school, so it's important to check with specific institutions.

Q: What kind of clinical duties can I expect to perform as a Medical Assistant in an outpatient setting?

In an outpatient setting, Medical Assistants are involved in a variety of clinical duties, including taking patient histories, measuring vital signs, administering injections, preparing patients for examinations, performing basic laboratory tests, and assisting physicians with procedures. The specific duties can vary based on the facility's needs and the assistant's qualifications and certifications.

Q: How many credit hours and semesters does it take to complete a Medical Assistant program, and what does this entail for higher education?

Medical Assistant certificate and diploma programs typically require between 30 to 60 credit hours, which can usually be completed across 2 to 4 semesters of full-time study. Associate degree programs require about 60 to 90 credit hours, spanning 4 to 6 semesters. For those considering higher education, credits from an accredited Medical Assistant program may transfer to other healthcare-related degrees, providing a foundation for further academic pursuits in healthcare administration, nursing, or public health.

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