Administrative Medical Assistant Programs in Illinois
If you are efficient, good with details, have computer skills and like the idea of helping people, a career as an administrative medical assistant may suit you well. It is possible to quality for this position with a certificate received from college study of less than a year. It’s also possible to get a two-year associate’s degree in medical assisting, which you can apply toward a bachelor’s degree if you decide to go further into professional health care work.
The administrative medical assistant handles the reception and office work in a physician’s office, hospital or medical service facility. This will involve scheduling appointments, receiving patients, maintaining records, verifying and processing insurance claims, handling billing and collections, managing patient records and other administrative tasks.
If you are interested in learning more about the schools that offer Medical Administrative Assistant programs in Illinois, contact those schools you see below that you’d like to get program details from.
Education Options for Administrative Medical Assisting in Illinois
Most programs for medical assisting have both an administrative component and a clinical component. The clinical side includes working in the lab and assisting the physician with some procedures; clinical training will include courses in science and clinical procedures. If you are interested in the administrative side only, you may wish to check the colleges listed for a separate Medical Administrative Assisting program; a few of the Illinois colleges do offer this specialization.
A related field with a growing demand is Medical Billing and Coding. With the changeover in the healthcare industry to electronic health records, the demand for billing and coding specialists is increasing, and there are many colleges in Illinois that now provide this program. If you are a person with an analytical mind, good with logical thinking, accurate with details and can communicate well, this is a program you might consider. These programs provide certificate, diploma and associate’s degree options.
Medical Administration Admission Requirements and Financial Aid
Many of the Illinois Med Administration colleges carry an open admissions policy, which means that if you have a high school diploma or GED, you are qualified to take courses. Some colleges will administer an admissions assessment to check your English and Math strengths and may require remedial courses if the scores are low. Other colleges may include a career placement assessment to identify your abilities, interests and talents for career advising.
The admissions process also includes financial aid counseling to assist you in meeting the costs for completion of your program. Federal loans are available to all students. Some colleges have their own loan program and scholarships as well. Each financial aids office will have loan information and a list of available grants and scholarships.
Coursework for Administrative Medical Assisting in Illinois
The courses for becoming an administrative medical assistant or health care office assistant may include the following:
- Health care technology and informatics
- Medical terminology
- Healthcare office procedures
- Medical records management
- Principles of health insurance billing
- Computer applications
- Medical law and ethics
Job Outlook for Medical Administrative Assistants in Illinois
The Bureau of Labor Statistics published an informative article detailing the projected growth of the Medical Assistant job market. The job outlook for the field was projected to grow 23% from 2014-2024, which is much faster than the average growth rate. The healthcare industry is seeing a huge increase in medical services sought by an expanding older generation in the country and by the increased number of newly insured citizens through the Affordable Care Act. This means that there is a great need for administrative assistance in hospitals and in the offices of medical practices and health services, as well as for insurance organizations and federal agencies.
Wage rates given by BLS for the state of Illinois show that medical assistants and related occupations earned salaries that were slightly higher than the national average. In 2013, the average annual salary for Illinois medical assistants was $31,230 and for Chicago, $31,610; this figure was $30,780 at the national level. The three 2013 figures for Illinois, Chicago and national for medical secretary were $34,160, $35,410 and $33,140, respectively.
How to Prepare for a Career in Administrative Medical Assisting
If you are a high school student and wish to prepare and qualify for this field, you should first take a college prep curriculum that includes English, math and the sciences and aim for at least a C grade in these subjects. Business courses will give you an edge, and all the computer skills you can develop will help you in any field.
Whether or not you are still in high school, experiences that help you to build people skills will prepare you for the demands of medical office work. As the receptionist, you will likely be the first contact of the incoming patient and can make a big difference in the patient’s comfort and readiness for the treatment he or she faces.
Keep in mind also that any voluntary work in which you have engaged provides a positive picture to an admissions office or to a potential employer, showing that you put in an effort to serve. Helping patients, doctors and the medical office as an administrative medical assistant in Illinois can be a rewarding career that can open up opportunities for further learning and advancement. Contact the schools on our page to learn more!