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Medical Assisting

Medical Assistant Certificate Program

On Campus in Oak Lawn, IL

Essential to the healthcare community, medical assistants are trained to perform clinical and administrative duties in hospitals, physicians’ offices, assisted living facilities, and other settings. Serving the Oak Lawn, IL, and Greater Chicago Area, Northwestern College helps students develop the skills they need to embark on rewarding careers in healthcare. In addition to the on-campus program, students can also enroll in the fully online program to earn this certificate. Learn more about medical assisting and how our program prepares students for the field.

Medical Assisting Roles and Responsibilities

Medical assistants are detail-oriented professionals with strong interpersonal skills that help ensure the success of a healthcare facility. This role encompasses a wide range of responsibilities, from direct patient care to the behind-the-scenes work that helps a facility run efficiently. Common tasks for a medical assistant include:

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  • Taking vital sign measurements
  • Helping physicians with examinations
  • Administering injections and medications (as permitted by law)
  • Taking blood samples
  • Preparing specimens for laboratory testing
  • Scheduling appointments and follow-up visits
  • Recording patient histories
  • Maintaining healthcare records
  • Inputting insurance codes

Depending on the hospital or practice, a medical assistant may have the opportunity to put their skills to work in a variety of areas. Or, they can specialize in a particular type of medicine, such as ophthalmology or obstetrics. What’s more, there is some crossover between this field and nursing or radiography, providing a foundation for professional growth in the future.


Graduates of our medical assisting certification program are eligible to sit for the American Medical Technologists Registered Medical Assistant exam.

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Our Medical Assisting Certificate Program

Medical assisting students at Northwestern College are trained to play a pivotal role as part of a healthcare team, being able to effectively perform necessary duties and meaningfully connect with patients and their families. Our program combines classroom learning with hands-on experiences to provide a well-rounded education. Coursework includes:

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  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Medical Terminology
  • Specialized and Diagnostic Procedures
  • Clinical Assisting Skills
  • Clinical Laboratory
  • Pharmacology
  • Principles of Billing and Coding
  • Medical Records and Office Procedures
  • Medical Law, Ethics, and Human Relations in Healthcare

Students are also required to complete a practical externship. A valuable part of our program, externship participation gives students the real-world experience they need to learn more about the field in-depth. Each externship lasts for 160 hours, and students work under the guidance of a healthcare professional.

The Outlook for Medical Assisting Jobs

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), medical assisting is an in-demand healthcare profession. With the growing need for preventative and other types of medical services, there is a rising need for healthcare support workers. At Northwestern College, we understand that many employers prefer certified candidates who are well-prepared and licensed by an agency.

Program Goals

Students who have completed our program are expected to be able to:

  • Communicate effectively with patients, supervisors, support personnel, and other healthcare team members using suitable verbal, nonverbal, and written skills
  • Demonstrate an understanding of professional, ethical, and legal standards specific to medical assisting
  • Apply knowledge of basic sciences and medical theory when executing administrative and clinical medical assisting procedures
  • Utilize critical thinking skills to make administrative and clinical judgments to enhance patient care
  • Demonstrate proficiency in the skills required for the RMA certification exam

In addition to healthcare-focused work, our students are required to take college success, professional development, and certification preparation courses. Upon graduation, students are eligible to sit for the American Medical Technologists (AMT) Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) examination.

The faculty at Northwestern College is committed to the success of every student, and this includes our career services department. From hosting workshops and special events to providing resume and interview guidance, the career services staff provides a wealth of resources for our students.

Accreditations & Approvals

Northwestern College is accredited (on probation) by the Higher Learning Commission, 230 S. LaSalle St., Suite 7-500, Chicago, IL 60604, (312) 263-0456, www.hlcommission.org.

We are also approved for veterans training under the G.I. Bill® for Veterans Educational Assistance. On top of that, we are proud to support our students with things like financial aid assistance and job search assistance.

Earn Your Medical Assisting Certificate from Northwestern College

Begin a rewarding career in healthcare through our medical assistant certificate program. Northwestern College proudly serves students in Oak Lawn, IL, and the Greater Chicago Area. Our institution is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and approved for students training under the G.I. Bill for Veterans Educational Assistance.

Contact us today for more information about our programs, financial aid, or admissions process.