How to Become a Medical Assistant in Illinois

Medical assistant professions often offer job stability and opportunities for advancement.

Compared to other healthcare careers, medical assistant typically requires less time and investment.

Education and Training

The fastest way to get started is through an online certification program from a local school.

Search Medical Assistant Programs

Get information on Medical Assistant programs by entering your zip code and request enrollment information.

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Why Should You Take a Course?

Besides learning everything you need to know, you will prepare for a certification.  It could be any of these:

  • Certified Medical Assistant (CMA)
  • Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CMAA)
  • National Certified Medical Assistant (NCMA)
  • Nationally Registered Certified Medical Assistant (NRCMA)

Your instructors can help you choose the right certification for you.

How Much Does It Cost?

Certification courses (12 months or less) are typically between $2k to $3k.  An associate degree can be substantially more

How Long Does It Take?

Medical assistant certificate programs last 9 to 12 months.  Sometimes they can be completed faster if they are online, self paced courses.

An associate degree program would be at least 2 years.

What Do You Study?

Most substantial curriculums cover the following:

Introduction to Medical Terminology

  • Overview of Medical Terminology
  • Systems of the Body:
    • Musculoskeletal System
    • Cardiovascular System
    • Lymphatic and Immune Systems
    • Respiratory System
    • Digestive System
    • Urinary System
    • Nervous System
    • Special Senses: Eyes and Ears
    • Integumentary System
    • Endocrine System
    • Reproductive System

II. Diagnostic and Clinical Procedures

  • Diagnostic Procedures, Nuclear Medicine, and Pharmacology
  • Pathophysiology
  • Infection Control and Medical Asepsis
  • The Chief Complaint and Patient History
  • Body Measurements and Vital Signs
  • Preparing for Examinations
  • Complete Physical Examination (CPE)
  • Specialty Examinations and Procedures
  • Physician’s Office Laboratory (POL)
  • Specimen Collection and Processing
  • Introduction to Phlebotomy
  • Diagnostic Testing
  • Minor Office Surgeries

III. Medical Assisting Skills

  • Medication Dosage Calculations
  • Administering Medications
  • Emergencies and First Aid in the Medical Office
  • Rehabilitation
  • Nutrition and Special Diets

IV. Professional Skills and Office Management

  • Certified Clinical Medical Assistant Overview
  • Medical Assisting Foundations
  • Professional Behavior
  • Legal and Ethical Issues
  • The Art of Communicating
  • Telecommunications, Telephone Professionalism, and Techniques
  • Written Communications
  • Medical Office Environment
  • Patient Scheduling
  • Managing Medical Records
  • Introduction to Health Insurance
  • Medical Coding: An Overview
  • Patient Accounts, Insurance Claims, Billing, and Collections
  • Daily Financial Practices
  • Managing the Office

V. Career Preparation

  • Certification
  • Preparing for Your Career

Other Local Trade Schools

    First Institute
    53 week Medical Assisting program with externship located close to Chicago. Prepares students for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA), Certified Phlebotomy Technician (CPT) and Certified Electrocardiogram Technician (CET) exams. Flexible scheduling.

    • Chicago, Libertyville

    Lincoln Tech
    Along with skills needed for an entry level position, the Medical Assistant Training Programs will prep you for the Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) exam. Hybrid format. Flexible class schedules.

    • Chicago

    Midwest Technical Institute
    MTI School of Medical Assisting offers a 9 month CMA diploma program with day and evening classes, along with career placement.

    • Springfield, East Peoria, Moline

    Rasmussen University
    12 month online and on campus ABHES accredited Diploma that prepares you for entry level positions and the CMA or RMA certifications. Exam fees included.

    • Rockford

    Rockford Career College
    10 month hybrid diploma program with an option to continue on for a Healthcare Administration Associate Degree.

    • Rockford

Illinois 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.

Common certifications include:

Those who are interested may also become certified in a specialty, such as optometry, podiatry, or ophthalmology.

Salary Range in IL

Below is a table with average hourly wages and annual pay for parts of the state.

Area Hourly Annual
Bloomington $18.59 $38,660.00
Carbondale-Marion $17.38 $36,140.00
Champaign-Urbana $18.59 $38,660.00
Chicago-Naperville-Elgin $20.24 $42,100.00
Danville $17.05 $35,450.00
Decatur $18.20 $37,850.00
East Central Illinois $18.08 $37,600.00
Kankakee $18.59 $38,680.00
Northwest Illinois $17.49 $36,380.00
Peoria $17.97 $37,370.00
Rockford $18.45 $38,380.00
South Illinois $17.20 $35,780.00
Springfield $18.01 $37,460.00
West Central Illinois $18.09 $37,620.00

Occupation:Medical Assistants (SOC Code319092)

Career Overview

Job Description

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.

Here are some top employers in Illinois per

  • Advocate Aurora Health
  • Ascension
  • Heartland Health Services
  • Hopedale Medical Complex
  • Lake Count
  • Lakeshore Talent
  • Medix
  • Northwestern Medicine
  • Rush University Medical Center
  • Shawnee Health Service
  • Southern Illinois Healthcare
  • TotalMed
  • Vtech Solution Inc
  • Will County Health Department


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.

Career Outlook

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.

Search Medical Assistant Programs

Get information on Medical Assistant programs by entering your zip code and request enrollment information.

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