Illinois Accredited Medical Assistant Schools and Programs
Illinois is a top choice if you’re looking to live and work in a bustling state. The state mixes large metro areas, like Chicago, and smaller urban areas rich in the arts, beautiful parks, and fine dining. Many areas offer public transportation or residential areas close to medical centers, which makes commuting to work easier.
Illinois has many medical centers and hospitals that offer great employment opportunities for medical assistants. Top cities to work as a medical assistant in Illinois include:
There are many schools in Illinois to choose from for medical assistant training. Be sure to interview several schools before deciding on a college. Consider how each school’s curriculum, degree type, fee structure, and accreditation status meets your needs. Choosing a school that is accredited is important, as this allows you to sit for medical assisting certification exams after graduation. Certification increases your credibility as a medical professional and is becoming a common requirement by employers.
Illinois Medical Assistant Certification Requirements
Unlike medical assistants, state law requires individuals who’re working in similar entry-level healthcare positions like practical nurses (LPNs) and nursing assistants (CNAs) to hold nationally approved credentials in order to work within the field. Although there are no legally compulsory credentials for MAs in any of the states, there are two nationally recognized certifications that both aspiring and current MAs are encouraged to pursue. To enhance employability and earn higher salaries, medical assistants practicing in the state of Illinois can earn either of these credentials:
- The Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) whose certification exam is administered by The American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA)
- The Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) whose certification exam is administered by The American Medical Technologists (AMT)
The Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) Credential
The credential’s exam which is administered by the AAMA cannot be taken unless the following requirement has been satisfied:
- Successfully complete a medical assisting program which: a) has been accredited by either the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES), and b) curriculum contains clinical and theoretical components covering
- topics which include but aren’t limited to office practices, clinical and diagnostic procedures, medication administration, medical law & ethics, computer competency, and record-keeping & accounting
- CMAs must renew the credential every 60 months and can do so via an exam or by continuing education credits
The Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) Credential
The credential’s exam, administered by the AMT, cannot be taken unless at least ONE of the following requirements has been fulfilled:
- Requirement 1: Complete college-level medical assistant program that’s:
- Composed of two main components: 1) 720 hours of theoretical instruction delivered by an instructor in an online or in-class setting and 160 hours supervised clinical training at a healthcare facility
- and 2) accredited regionally or nationally by an agency which has been approved by the US Department of Education, the AMT Board of Directors, or The Council for Higher Education Accreditation
- Requirement 2: Complete a program through the US Armed Forces comparable to collegiate MA programs that is:
- Composed of two main components: 1) 720 hours of theoretical instruction delivered by an instructor online or in-class, and 2) 160 hours of hands-on clinical training at a hospital that is overseen by an instructor
- Requirement 3: Prior employment as a medical assistant program instructor
- Provide proof of having at least 5 years of experience working as an MA program instructor OR provide proof of having over one year of experience working as an MA program instructor combined with three years of regular work experience in the field
- Requirement 4: Prior employment as a medical assistant
- Provide proof of having been employed in the MA profession for at least 5 of the past 7 years, carrying out both clinical and administrative tasks common to the profession
List of Illinois Medical Assisting Programs
1. College of DuPage
The College of DuPage offers both an Associate of Applied Science and a certificate in medical assisting. The campus is located in Glen Ellyn, where students receive focused education in medical assisting. The college has specific admissions requirements and recommends prospective students meet with an admissions representative for more information. Graduates of the medical assisting program may sit for certification exams upon completion.
2. Fox College
Fox College is located in Oak Lawn, Illinois. The college offers both an Associate of Applied Science degree as well as a diploma in medical assisting. Students receive concentrated instruction in administration and clinical practice, which prepares them for entry-level employment. The program takes 10-18 months, depending on the degree type chosen. Students from either degree type are eligible to take certification exams upon graduation.
3. College of Lake County
Students may earn a certificate in medical assisting at College of Lake County’s Grayslake campus. The college has a selective admissions process. Students are encouraged to complete required prerequisites before applying to the core medical assisting program. Upon graduation, students may take certification exams.
4. Midwest Technical Institute
A diploma in medical assisting is offered via the Midwest Technical Institute at their Springfield campus. The program takes about 36 weeks to complete full-time. Students learn basic medical assisting skills which prepare them for entry-level employment in the field. The program is accredited, and students may take certification exams upon graduation.
5. Moraine Valley Community College
Moraine Valley Community College offers a certificate in medical assisting at their Palos Hills campus. Students enrolled in medical assisting learn administrative and clinical skills. Additionally, students may earn certification in phlebotomy, medical coding, and medical transcription. The medical assisting course consists of 42 credits and graduates may sit for certification exams.
6. Robert Morris University
Robert Morris University has campuses in Chicago and Springfield, Illinois. Students may earn a unique Associate of Science degree as a Multi-Skilled Healthcare Technician. Students take a combination of liberal arts classes, core clinical courses, and administrative classes. General education courses must be completed before entrance to the program. Students may sit for certification exams upon graduation.
7. Rockford Career College
Rockford Career College offers a two-year Associate of Applied Science degree in medical assisting at their Rockford campus. The program combines in-depth instruction in both clinical and administrative medical assisting. Full-time students usually complete the program in 8 semesters, or two years. The college offers job placement assistance with a 61% job placement rate. Students are required to take an entrance exam and graduates may sit for certification exams.
8. South Suburban College
Located in South Holland, South Suburban College offers a certificate in medical assisting. The school states it has specific requirements for admission. Students who live in the college’s district will be given first priority for entrance to the program. All other prospective students must meet entrance requirements before being admitted. The program combines administrative and clinical training and graduates may take certification exams upon program completion.
9. Southwestern Illinois College
Southwestern Illinois College, located in Belleville, offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in medical assisting. Admission to the program is competitive. Prospective students must complete an entrance exam and any prerequisite courses prior to applying to the program. This two-year program incorporates clinical fundamentals and advanced skills/administrative procedures. Graduates are eligible to take certification exams.
10. Waubonsee Community College
Students can earn a certificate of medical assisting in four semesters at Waubonsee Community College in Sugar Grove, Illinois. Students who wish to attend part-time will take longer to complete the course. Students also have the option to earn certification in phlebotomy as part of this program. Graduates may sit for certification exams.
11. Harper College
Harper College is a comprehensive community college located in the city of Palatine. The school offers a Medical Assistant certificate program that readies students for an entry-level healthcare career. HC’s 36-credit hour program can be taken in part-time and full-time formats. The program focuses on both administrative and clinical duties such as record keeping, computer skills, medication administration, and more. The Commission on the Accreditation of Allied Health Educational Programs (CAAHEP) accredits the program.
12. Illinois Central College
Illinois Central College is a public community college offering a medical assistant certificate program at its campus in East Peoria. Whereas the college’s 20 credit-hour certificate program only focuses on administrative duties, its 32-credit hour program covers both the administrative and clinical aspects of medical assisting. Only the 32-credit hour program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Program. This program can be completed in one year.
13. Rend Lake College
Rend Lake is a public community college located in the town of Ina which offers a Medical Assistant Associate in Applied Science degree as well as an Occupational Certificate program. The former program, which costs about $10,500 to attend, is composed of 66 credit hours and can be completed in four semesters. The latter program, which costs about $5,700 total, is 36 credit hours and can be completed in just two semesters. In 2016, RLC’s medical assistant program had a retention rate of 86.7 percent.
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