How to Become a Medical Assistant in Illinois
If you’re interested in a career in the healthcare field, you may want to consider a job as a medical assistant.
These workers play an important role in the daily operations of hospitals, doctors’ offices, and other healthcare facilities.
Medical assistants complete clinical and administrative tasks depending on their roles to help with patient care.
Education and Training
Many medical assistants receive their high school diploma or GED and pursue a post-secondary education as a medical assistant. While some medical assistants may be able to receive on-the-job training from an employer, the majority of individuals looking to enter the workforce as medical assistants complete some form of post-secondary training.
Medical Assistant Trade School Programs
Those interested can find medical assistant training programs at Illinois trade schools, community colleges, and vocational colleges. These programs typically take one to two years and lead to the student receiving a certification or diploma upon graduation. Students may also receive an associate degree depending on the program and post-secondary institution.
Topics that a student may learn about while in a medical assistant program are:
- Medical Terminology
- Insurance Processing
How Much Does It Cost?
The cost of becoming a medical assistant in the state of Illinois can vary depending on your chosen path. Individuals who choose to obtain a certification may be able to do so for less than 2k. Conversely, those who attend a trade school or vocational college may pay more than 20k over the course of their two-year degree.
Earning a Certification
While there is no state mandate for a medical assistant to have a license or certification to obtain employment, many employers prefer that an individual has a certification from an accredited institution.
Those who are interested may also become certified in a specialty, such as optometry, podiatry, or ophthalmology.
Attending a Medical Assistant Program
If you’re interested in becoming a medical assistant, attending a medical assistant program is an effective way to get the knowledge you need to thrive in the role.
How Long Does It Take?
Many medical assistant programs can be completed in under two years. Generally, a medical assistant program that lasts one year or less will result in a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile, programs that last two years typically will result in the student receiving an associate degree.
Illinois Medical Assistant Requirements
There are no formal education or training requirements mandated by the state of Illinois to become a medical assistant. However, obtaining a certification or associate degree from an accredited post-secondary institution can give you the necessary training and help you stand out from other applicants.
Medical Assistant Salaries in IL
Wondering what a medical assistant salary in Illinois is? The answer can depend on numerous factors. Aspects such as experience, type of facility you work at, and region may affect your yearly income.
A few salaries that you may be able to earn as a medical assistant in Illinois are:
- Chicago $41,267
- Bloomington $37,371
- Arlington $40,328
- Normal $37,474
- Moline $36,429
Medical assistants in IL can have a wide range of job duties depending on the type of facility they work at and if they have a specialized role. Many medical assistants typically complete administrative and clinical tasks, while in larger hospitals they may specialize in one or the other.
Where do Medical Assistants Work?
Medical assistants work in places such as physicians’ offices, hospitals, outpatient care centers, and chiropractors’ offices. Many medical assistants work a full-time schedule, often working 40 hours per week. Depending on the facility, some medical assistants may have to work evenings, weekends, and holidays to cover shifts.
If you’re trying to start your career as a medical assistant and are curious about your future job outlook, the numbers are promising. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the employment of medical assistants should grow by sixteen percent from 2021-2031, with around 123,000 new openings per year. This will likely mean thousands of new medical assistant jobs in Illinois.
Experts predict this larger-than-average growth for a number of reasons. With the baby-boomer generation entering into an older age group, there are typically more healthcare concerns that come along with getting older that will need to be addressed. There will also be a need to replace retiring workers and those who change their occupation.