Best Medical Assistant Programs in Illinois – 2024

Written By: Pattie Trumble, MPP, MPH

Being a medical assistant is emotionally rewarding since you know that you get to help people every day. In Illinois, you are also rewarded financially since this state pays medical assistants well, and you have room to move up professionally as you gain experience and education. We have listed the best medical assistant programs in Illinois so that you can begin working on getting the knowledge that you need to succeed in the growing healthcare industry.

What Courses Will I be Taking During my Medical Assistant Training?

When you begin your medical assistant training, you can expect to take some basic education courses such as anatomy and physiology that help you learn the terminology that physicians use when they refer to different parts of the body. You will also take courses that are specific to medical assisting. For example, you will practice taking vital signs such as a person’s blood pressure. Medical assistant schools in Illinois also require you to take courses that pertain to handling common office tasks that come up in a healthcare environment. Health and business technology courses teach you how to maintain records for patients and assist with setting appointments as needed.

Medical Assistant Program Length & Cost in Illinois

In IL, you can expect to see a wide range of costs among schools that offer medical assistant courses. At the lowest, you can expect to pay about $1510 for a course that allows you to earn a certificate. For an associate degree, you could pay as much as $47,130. However, this type of program is usually offered within a college that offers opportunities to continue to work on a higher-level degree later.

Type of Program Length Cost
Certificate / Diploma 8 – 18 Months$1,510 - $29,180
Associate Degree2 Years$5,550 - $47,130


(Based on our Ranking Methodology, below are the 10 best Medical Assistant programs in Illinois. The list includes both campus-based and online programs.)

1) Southwestern Illinois College, Belleville

Southwest Illinois College offers quality education that reflects in its high student graduation rates. Exceptional teaching, an extensive curriculum and convenient schedules lead to this positive academic outcome.

To become a medical assistant, you can either choose from a certificate or associate degree program. Classes begin twice a year, in fall and spring. While the fall semester limits intake to a maximum of 28, in spring only 15 students are admitted. The certificate course prepares you with the vital skills and knowledge required to function as a medical assistant. The degree program on the other hand includes general education courses as well. Graduates will gain proficiency in anatomy and physiology, medical office procedures, medical law and ethics, cardiopulmonary procedures, medical insurance and coding, pharmacology and effective patient communication.

2) Midwest Technical Institute, East Peoria, Moline & Springfield

For medical assisting aspirants, Midwest Technical Institute offers flexibility in terms of day and evening schedules at three locations in the state. Students are taught by a dedicated team of instructors who have firsthand patient care experience.

This diploma takes just 9 months of study, precisely 765 clock hours to become a medical assistant. It educates you with entry level - clinical and administrative duties, and also prepares you for the CMA certification exam. You will complete the coursework in six modules, starting with an introduction to a medical assistant’s career and culminating in an externship. Billing, coding, drawing blood, medical ethics and law, performing clinical procedures, patient record keepings are some of the areas you will master.

3) William Rainey Harper College, Palatine

Medical Assisting training at William Rainey Harper College comes with affordable tuition costs and rigorous hands-on experience at its close to real virtual hospital, where you put your professional knowledge to practice.

If a healthcare career is your calling, then completing this medical assistant certificate course can help you set foot into this career and even lay a foundation for higher education. This 36-credit hour program is available as a part-time and full-time option, with some classes scheduled in the evenings. The coursework covers a broad spectrum of topics, including the front and back office functions required of a medical assistant at a physician’s office. After completing the coursework, you will undergo a clinical externship at a physician’s office. Before you start with this session, the college requires submitting a CPR certificate.

4) Rend Lake College, Ina

Rend Lake College serves a diverse student population that come from different countries. This provides for a rich cultural environment, where students learn to be culturally sensitive towards one another, a trait that helps a healthcare professional in providing effective patient care to a diverse population.

The college offers a certificate and an associate degree for those seeking to become a medical assistant. While the 2 semester certificate trains you with the required professional knowledge; the associate, which is 4 semesters long, works well for those who are interested in advancing their education. Medical terminology, anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, billing, coding, medical law and ethics and patient care are some of the courses you will take. The associate includes additional general education courses as well.

5) Lewis and Clark Community College, Godfrey

Lewis and Clark Community College’s Godfrey campus can enchant quite a many for the remarkable restoration it has done, standing tall today on the grounds of the old Monticello College.

The medical assistant program focuses on both, the front office and clinical duties required at a physician’s office. The coursework is extensive and thoroughly trains students to fulfill multiple functions, from greeting patients to medical transcription to clinical lab procedures. While you can acquire all these skills by completing the certificate course, there is also an associate to choose from, that is, if you are interested in a more rounded education. Your training will culminate in a clinical practicum at a physician’s office, where you will be given an opportunity to work with real-time patients.

6) Carl Sandburg College, Galesburg

If you are someone with a keen desire to serve patients, then you can consider this medical assistant school in Illinois to get an entry into this patient care field. Carl Sandburg College offers education that goes beyond the classroom. With its many student organizations, learning continues outside the class as well, leading to professional and personal growth.

Its one-year certificate in medical assisting covers administrative, clinical as well as lab functions. By taking this program you will gain competence in bookkeeping, billing, coding, taking patient history, preparing patients for a medical examination, taking electrocardiograms and drawing blood. Upon completion of the coursework, you will be well-prepared to take the certification exam.

7) Illinois Central College, Peoria

Illinois Central College can put you on a career fast track by offering accelerated programs in allied health that typically focus on relevant job ready skills and knowledge.

This medical assistant program in IL comes with two options, one which leads to a 20-credit hour certificate in administrative duties and the other a 32-credit certificate that covers both, the administrative as well as clinical aspects of this career. While the former is a non-accredited program, the latter is accredited by the CAAHEP. To be eligible, you must be a high school graduate with at least a GPA of 2.6. Additionally, the college requires you to have a typing speed of 40 words per minute and an active CPR certification. It is highly recommended for high schoolers who are keen on applying for this program to opt for English, algebra, biology and word processing as their subjects.

8) College of Lake County, Waukegan

College of Lake County has been successfully training medical assistant students to work in a variety of clinical settings. The curriculum incorporates faculty experiences to provide students with the most relevant skill-set.

Although formal education is not a requirement to become a medical assistant in IL, you can considerably better your employment prospects by completing your medical assisting training. Depending on your career goals, you can choose to complete Lake County’s certificate or associate degree program. Classes begin in fall (day classes) and spring (evening classes), so you can enroll for the cohort that suits your personal schedule. You will master the skills, knowledge and attitude required to succeed as a medical assistant. Graduation requires you to complete all the courses with a minimum of “C” grade.

9) Moraine Valley Community College, Palos Hills

Moraine Valley community College sets the tone just right for medical assistant students to flourish. A dedicated faculty, conducive learning environment and tuition assistance can make pursuing this health career, simply a cakewalk.

A career as a medical assistant, besides being in demand can be fulfilling as well. All you need is a year of study to become a vital member of the healthcare team. This certificate program is rigorous and requires dedicated hours of study at home. If you are working full-time, then the part-time schedule will work better. However, it is recommended you limit your work commitments during the program. Covering the administrative, clinical and laboratory functions of a medical assistant, you will gain professional competence by putting theory into practice at the college’s lab. After considerable practice, students go on to experience 160 hours of medical assistant externship, where they provide patient care at a physician’s office.

10) College of DuPage, Glen Ellyn

College of DuPage is known for its quality healthcare education, and the excellent employer satisfaction rate for its medical assistant graduates is simply reflective of the same.

You can choose from either a Medical Assistant certificate or associate degree to acquire the professional competence required for this career. Upon successfully completing the coursework, you will be eligible to take the CMA exam. Additionally, by taking a course in phlebotomy you will also be prepared to take the certification exam for a Certified Phlebotomy Technician, which can be a handy boost to your career. The 43- credit certificate coursework offers flexibility in terms of courses you can select, depending on your topic of interest. The associate degree entails completing of three credits in general education courses, in addition to the MA coursework.


Medical Assistant Career Information For Illinois - 2024

How Many Medical Assistants are Currently Employed in IL?


Where do Medical Assistants Work in Illinois?

You will find that the majority of medical assistants work within traditional physician offices in Illinois. If you choose to work in the office of a physician, you can expect to work normal business hours and perform routine tasks that contribute to the patient experience. For instance, you may greet patients and help them to the examining room where they will describe their reason for being at the office that day. You can also discover many positions in hospitals. These positions may require you to work hours that are different from your typical doctor’s office. Evening and weekend hours are common in a hospital environment, yet you may enjoy the experience of helping with different types of health conditions each day. Outpatient care centers hire medical assistants to help doctors perform procedures such as suturing a wound. Chiropractic care is another industry that is experiencing a boom with the aging population increasing, and they need medical assistants to provide help with procedures that alleviate back, neck and shoulder pain.

Industry Number of Medical Assistants
Offices of Physicians12,280
Outpatient Care Centers2,030
Offices of Chiropractors1,770

What is the Average Salary of a Medical Assistant in Illinois?

The average medical assistant salary in Illinois falls around $19.58 hourly and $40,730 annually. For most areas of IL, this is a comfortable wage that you will find changes slightly depending upon the metro area in which you work. You can also increase your salary by taking advantage of continuing education opportunities or applying for leadership positions in the medical facilities in which you work.

Type Salary
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Salary Based on Years of Experience

Years of Experience Hourly Monthly Annual
Less than 1 year (Starting) $15.16 $2,630 $31,540
1-4 years $17.69 $3,070 $36,790
5-9 years $18.76 $3,250 $39,020
10-19 years $21.44 $3,720 $44,600
20 years or more $23.33 $4,040 $48,530
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Medical Assistant Average Salary Comparison: Illinois vs. National

As a medical assistant in Illinois, you get to look forward to making a nice average salary that is 0.07% higher than the national average. This puts you in one of the most prime places to work in this position in the United States.

Illinois National Difference
Number %
$40,730$40,700 +$30 0.07%
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Job Outlook

Illinois has experienced a tremendous amount of growth in the healthcare field, and medical assistants have benefited from this need. The current level of projected growth for medical assistant positions in IL is at 11.15%. percent. This can be attributed to several different reasons. In recent years, the Affordable Health Care Act expanded options such as Medicaid that allows more people to benefit from having access to health insurance. Since Illinois once held one of the highest amounts of uninsured people, this has led to a need for more health care facilities to open. Similar to other parts of the country, the aging population has also led to a need for more quality healthcare workers to assist in medical offices and hospitals.

Employment Employment Growth (2020-2030)
2020 2030 Number Percent
(Source: careeronestop)

Annual Job Openings

New Replacement Annual Job Openings (New + Replacement)
(Source: careeronestop)

Metro Wise Employment & Salary Data

Illinois is filled with some of the most bustling metroplex areas in the nation, and each one has unique needs for medical assistants. The hourly salary tends to stay mostly the same for all the metroplex areas, although Chicago tends to pay the highest at $20.24. The Chicago area is also an exciting place to live and work. Not only do you get to enjoy living in a bigger city, but this area is also home to seven accredited medical schools that make it a known hub for healthcare training. Rockford employs the second higher number of medical assistants, with three major hospitals it is known for being a leading city in the medical industry. You can find a position at one of these hospitals or within smaller outpatient care clinics in the area. Springfield holds third place for hiring the most medical assistants. As one of the largest cities in the state, the population growth here has also led to a higher need for people to work in this position. You will also find multiple senior care centers that need compassionate medical assistants to work with elderly patients within the facilities.

Metro Employment Average Salary
Hourly Monthly Annual
Chicago-Naperville-Elgin 16,820 $20.24 $3,510 $42,100
Rockford 950 $18.45 $3,200 $38,380
Springfield 890 $18.01 $3,120 $37,460
Peoria 790 $17.97 $3,110 $37,370
Champaign-Urbana 690 $18.59 $3,220 $38,660
Carbondale-Marion 390 $17.38 $3,010 $36,140
Bloomington 250 $18.59 $3,220 $38,660
Kankakee 240 $18.60 $3,220 $38,680
Decatur 90 $18.20 $3,150 $37,850
Danville 60 $17.04 $2,950 $35,450
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Useful Medical Assistant Organizations & Associations in Illinois

Illinois Society of Medical Assistants

This organization is associated with the American Association of Medical Assistants. In the Illinois chapter, you can meet other medical assistants that live and work in your area so that you can all work toward growth and professionalism in your chosen positions.

Pattie Trumble, MPP, MPH
Pattie Trumble is a nurse who worked in both California and New York for many years as an emergency room nurse. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from the University of California, Berkeley, and an Associate Degree in Nursing from the Samuel Merritt Hospital School of Nursing. After 10 years of providing direct care, she went back to school and earned concurrent Master’s degrees in both public policy and public health from the University of California, Berkeley. Thereafter, she worked for various public health agencies in California at both the community and state levels providing economic and legislative analysis.

Medical Assistant Schools in other States

  • Arizona
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Kansas
  • Michigan
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Pennsylvania
  • Texas
  • Utah
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