How to Become a Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) in Illinois

Are you interested in pursuing a career as a Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) in Illinois? Becoming a CMA can open up a world of opportunities in the healthcare industry, as CMAs play a crucial role in providing quality patient care. In this blog post, we will guide you through the steps to become a CMA in Illinois, including the necessary education and certification requirements.


Before we dive into the specifics of becoming a CMA in Illinois, let's take a moment to understand the role of a Certified Medical Assistant. CMAs are healthcare professionals who work alongside physicians and other healthcare providers to ensure the smooth operation of medical offices and clinics. They perform both administrative and clinical tasks, such as taking patient histories, measuring vital signs, preparing patients for examinations, and assisting with minor procedures. CMAs are an integral part of the healthcare team and contribute to the overall patient experience.

Education and Training

To become a CMA in Illinois, you will need to complete a formal education program in medical assisting. These programs are typically offered at vocational schools, community colleges, or online platforms like MedicalAssistantCertificationOnline. While some programs may offer a diploma or certificate, others may provide an associate degree in medical assisting.

Here are the key steps to follow when pursuing a CMA education and training program:

  1. Research CMA Programs: Begin by researching different CMA programs available in Illinois. Look for programs that are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). These accreditations ensure that the program meets the necessary educational standards.

  2. Program Admission Requirements: Review the admission requirements for each program you are interested in, as they may vary. Most programs will require a high school diploma or GED equivalent. Some programs may also have additional requirements, such as prerequisite courses or a background check.

  3. Curriculum: Evaluate the curriculum of each program to ensure it covers the necessary medical assisting topics. A comprehensive curriculum should include courses in medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, medical office procedures, pharmacology, clinical procedures, and medical law and ethics.

  1. Clinical Externship: Look for programs that offer a clinical externship component. This allows students to gain real-world experience in a healthcare setting under the supervision of experienced professionals. The externship provides valuable hands-on training and helps students apply their knowledge in a practical setting.

  2. Online CMA Classes: If you prefer a flexible learning environment, consider online CMA classes. Online programs offer the convenience of studying at your own pace and from the comfort of your own home. MedicalAssistantCertificationOnline is a platform that can help you find online CMA classes in Illinois. Visit their website at MedicalAssistantCertificationOnline to explore the available options.

  3. Program Length: Consider the length of the program when making your decision. Diploma or certificate programs typically take around 9-12 months to complete, while associate degree programs may take 1-2 years. Choose a program that aligns with your career goals and availability.

  1. Financial Aid: If you need financial assistance to pursue your CMA education, explore the various financial aid options available. This may include scholarships, grants, or student loans. Contact the financial aid office of your chosen program to learn more about the options they offer.

Certification Requirements

Once you have successfully completed an accredited CMA program, the next step is to obtain certification. Certification is not mandatory to practice as a medical assistant in Illinois, but it can significantly enhance your job prospects and earning potential.

The American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) offers the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) credential, which is widely recognized and respected in the industry. To become a CMA, you will need to pass the CMA Certification Exam administered by the AAMA.

Here are the steps to becoming a Certified Medical Assistant in Illinois:

  1. Eligibility: To be eligible for the CMA Certification Exam, you must have completed an accredited medical assisting program within the past 12 months or have two years of full-time work experience as a medical assistant.

  2. Exam Content: The CMA Certification Exam consists of multiple-choice questions that assess your knowledge and skills in various areas, including general medical knowledge, administrative tasks, and clinical procedures. The exam is computer-based and can be taken at designated testing centers.

  3. Exam Preparation: To increase your chances of success, it is recommended to prepare for the CMA Certification Exam. Review the exam content outline provided by the AAMA and utilize study resources such as textbooks, practice exams, and online review courses.

  1. Exam Registration: Once you feel prepared, you can register for the CMA Certification Exam through the AAMA website. Pay the required exam fee and select a convenient testing center and date.

  2. Exam Results: After completing the exam, you will receive your results immediately. If you pass, you will be awarded the CMA credential, which is valid for a period of five years. To maintain your certification, you will need to fulfill the AAMA's continuing education requirements.

Job Outlook and Opportunities

As a Certified Medical Assistant in Illinois, you can expect a positive job outlook and a wide range of career opportunities. The healthcare industry is constantly growing, and the demand for qualified CMAs continues to rise. CMAs can find employment in various healthcare settings, including hospitals, clinics, physician offices, and long-term care facilities.

Here are some potential career paths for CMAs:

  • Clinical Medical Assistant: Work directly with patients, assisting physicians during examinations, collecting and preparing laboratory specimens, and performing basic laboratory tests.

  • Administrative Medical Assistant: Focus on administrative tasks such as scheduling appointments, managing patient records, billing and coding, and coordinating with insurance companies.

  • Specialized Medical Assistant: Some CMAs choose to specialize in a specific area of healthcare, such as pediatrics, dermatology, or cardiology. Specialization may require additional training or certification.

  • Medical Office Manager: With experience and additional education, CMAs can advance to managerial roles within medical offices or clinics. As a medical office manager, you would oversee the day-to-day operations, manage staff, and ensure compliance with healthcare regulations.

Final Thoughts

Becoming a Certified Medical Assistant in Illinois is an excellent career choice for those interested in the healthcare field. By completing an accredited CMA program and obtaining certification, you can embark on a rewarding career that allows you to make a positive impact on patients' lives. Remember to utilize resources like MedicalAssistantCertificationOnline to find online [CMA classes in Illinois] ( Good luck on your journey towards becoming a CMA!

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If you want a job that makes each day better, one that makes other jobs easier, think about becoming a Medical Assistant. If making people happy and healthy is what you love, this is your calling.

Start your journey here and thrive as a Medical Assistant, improving the world and securing a brighter future for yourself. Remember, behind every exceptional doctor, there's an exceptional medical assistant!
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