How to Become a Medical Assistant

medical assistant certification illinois

Medical Assistant Certification in Illinois: What You Need to Know

Medical assistants help doctors provide medical care to patients. Safely treating patients is important to physicians and healthcare practices. Many employers prefer to hire certified medical assistants (CMAs) to ensure they have the necessary skills and competency to care for patients. 

Are you thinking about earning your medical assistant certification in Illinois? This article explores some of the basic responsibilities and requirements of how to become a medical assistant in Illinois.

What Is the Role of a Medical Assistant?

Medical assistants play supportive roles in doctors’ offices, hospitals, and other healthcare settings. Depending on the size of the practice, they may help out in the front office with customer service and business administration tasks or assist the doctor in the back office by preparing patients for treatments, for example by taking vital signs or blood samples. In some doctors’ offices, medical assistants are responsible for administrative and clinical tasks.

Learn more: “What Does a Medical Assistant Do?

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Medical Assistant Education Requirements

Medical assisting schools in Illinois offer classroom instruction and hands-on training in the subject matter and skills needed for an entry-level job. Students will learn how to perform administrative and clinical tasks relevant to a medical assistant’s role.

How to Become a Medical Assistant in Illinois

  • Step 1 (Required): Earn your high school diploma or GED. Courses in blueprint reading, shop mathematics, and mechanical drawing are recommended.
  • Step 2 (Preferred by Employers): Complete a post-secondary medical assistant training program in Illinois. MTI’s Medical Assisting Program is accredited and includes hands-on training in both clinical and administrative tasks.
  • Step 3 (Required in Some States & Preferred by Employers): You can study for and take a certification exam after completion of your medical assisting training or on-the-job training. At MTI, medical assisting students will be scheduled to sit for the American Association of Medical Assistants’ (AAMA) National Medical Assistant (CMA) Certification Exam or the National Medical Assistant (NCMA) Certification Exam through the National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT) prior to graduation.

What Do You Learn at Medical Assistant Schools in Illinois?

When you attend MTI’s medical assistant schools in Illinois, you’ll learn the essential skills to become a certified medical assistant (CMA). 

MTI’s hands-on Medical Assisting Program offered in Illinois covers a wide variety of subject areas, including:

  • Human anatomy, physiology, and medical terminology as it applies to the specific systems of the body. 
  • Body systems, functions, and diseases, including symptoms, diagnostic tests, treatments, and medications.
  • Laboratory tasks routinely performed in a medical facility, including the collecting and handling of specimens for testing, both at a facility and at an outside laboratory. 
  • Aspects of the insurance industry relative to the medical office, for example fees, billing, collections, and credit, as well as financial management in the medical office. 
  • Integrated Electronic Health Records as well as Insurance coding (CPT and International Classification of Diseases). These duties are essential to the success of the medical assistant in the administrative role.
  • Medications and side effects, actions, contraindications, routes of administration,and other factual data about the drugs. 
  • Assisting with physical exams, including 12-lead EKG hook-ups and troubleshooting. Students will learn to differentiate between normal and abnormal EKGs and will learn to recognize the most commonly occurring major arrhythmias. 
  • Pulmonary function test and urinalysis
  • Electronic medical records (EMR) use and importance, as well as HIPAA Compliance with regard to EMRs. 
  • Phlebotomy and injections with communications. Each student will be introduced to the importance and practice of effective public speaking.
  • Hematology, phlebotomy, drug calculations and administration of parenteral medications.
  • Understanding of the chronic and acutely ill mental health patient. Students will learn about the most common psychiatric disorders and conditions and be familiar with the signs and symptoms, treatments, and the role of the medical assistant with a mental health patient.
  • Assisting with the life specialties, physical therapy, and patient education.
  • Knowledge of medical law, ethics and bioethics so that patients may be treated with understanding, sensitivity, and compassion. The goal is to provide students with education involving ethical and legal responsibilities so that they may better serve the ambulatory care provider and their patients.
  • Employment preparation, professionalism development, and certification exam review. 

Get Real-World Medical Field Experience at Externship

All MTI students are required to complete an externship to be eligible for graduation from the Medical Assisting Program. The externship portion of the program is 10 weeks (225 hours), and students will perform all work under the direct supervision of licensed medical personnel at the extern site. MTI currently has externship site agreements in place with several employers throughout Illinois, including Springfield Clinic. 

“Having the externship opportunity has really been integral for us building our team, because we get somebody in here and we can really coach them through the initial learning and working through what it’s going to be like in this environment. For us, it’s a nice, several weeks long interview where we really get to learn who they are, and they get to learn who we are.” – Jenny Patton Operations Manager at Springfield Clinic Orthopedic Surgery & Podiatry

MTI has also partnered with Springfield Clinic to provide a Tuition Reimbursement Program for Medical Assisting Program students at MTI. Visit Springfield Clinic’s website to learn more (scroll to the bottom of the page for more information).

Medical Assistant Programs in Illinois: The Benefits of Trade School

There are several benefits to choosing MTI for your medical assistant training. 

Medical Assistant Programs in Illinois: The Benefits of Trade School

For more information about MTI’s accreditations and approvals, please visit 

How to Become a Certified Medical Assistant in Illinois

Medical assistant certification is not required in Illinois, but many employers prefer to hire applicants who are certified. At MTI, medical assisting students are prepared to sit for a Medical Assisting CMA-AAMA certification exam through the American Association of Medical Assistant’s (AAMA) or the National Medical Assistant (NCMA) Certification Exam through the National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT) prior to graduation.

MTI offers a Medical Assisting Program in

MTI also offers a Medical Assisting Program in Springfield, Missouri.

Start Your Medical Assistant Training in Illinois!

Medical assisting is growing much faster (18%) than the average for all occupations (8%) through 2030, making it not only a promising career, but also a fulfilling opportunity to help improve the health and wellness of the country. Employment for medical assistants in Illinois is projected to grow by 8% in Illinois through 2028.

Employment opportunities tend to be best for those with the right credentials: medical assistant training and medical assistant certification. The Medical Assisting Program at MTI can serve as a starting point to get you into the healthcare industry!

If you have questions about becoming a medical assistant, the Admissions Team at MTI is happy to help. Fill out the form below to learn more!