Medical Assisting

Medical Assisting Certificate Program

If you’ve been looking into medical assisting programs in Chicago, Northwestern College can prepare you with both the administrative and clinical skills you’ll need to get started in this career. From lab work to patient care, communication to records management, we can help train you to become a major part of the modern medical system in a career that is both fulfilling and in-demand. 

Medical Assisting: What It Is and What They Do

Medical assistants are a growing part of healthcare teams in physicians’ offices, hospitals, assisted living centers, outpatient and urgent cares, specialty clinics, and a wide variety of other healthcare facilities. They are trained in both the details of medical administration duties and the importance of patient-centered clinical skills and provide vital support for physicians and nursing teams, performing tasks like:

  • Recording patients’ history and personal information
  • Measuring vital signs like heart rate, blood pressure, etc.
  • Assisting with patient examinations and sometimes even giving patients injections or medication as permitted by state law
  • Organizing and storing confidential medical information
  • Scheduling patients’ appointments and ensuring their records are up-to-date
  • Preparing and taking blood samples for laboratory tests

The medical assisting profession is separate from both physicians’ assistants and nurses and can often involve more emphasis on administrative work, like filling out insurance codes and handling incoming calls. In larger hospital systems, though, some medical assistants might even specialize in either administration or clinical work, and other medical assistants might specialize in a particular type of medicine depending on the practice they work in, like ophthalmology, obstetrics, and more.

Medical Assisting Education and Certification

Students who thrive in the area of medical assisting are often detail-oriented and analytical while also possessing strong interpersonal skills and the ability to connect with patients and their family members. If you’re interested in becoming a medical assistant, the first step is getting education through an accredited medical assisting program and earning your certification. Because of the important nature of your healthcare work, most employers who are looking to hire medical assistants in Chicago will prefer candidates who have been certified and licensed by an agency. At Northwestern College, our medical assisting certificate program gives you a well-rounded education in our classrooms and labs and pairs that with a practical externship that provides you with hands-on training and experience. You’ll work in an actual medical office, networking with employers and putting your skills to use in a real-world setting.


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

Medical Assisting Classes at Northwestern College

Northwestern College’s Medical Assisting certificate program provides a comprehensive and detailed healthcare education designed to put graduates on the front lines of healthcare. You’ll learn skills like how to prepare a patient for examination, take vital signs and histories, assist with exams and treatments, perform lab procedures, communicate with patients about exams and after care instructions, and tackle a variety of medical office responsibilities.

Students are required to complete at least 37 credit hours to earn a certificate in Medical Assisting. Courses in this program include:

  • Communication Skills for Healthcare Workers (4)
  • Principles of Billing and Coding (4)
  • Medical Terminology  (4)
  • Medical Records & Office Procedures (4)
  • Medical Law, Ethics, & Human Relations in Healthcare (4) 
  • Anatomy and Physiology for the Medical Assistant  (4)
  • Clinical Assisting Skills (4)
  • Specialized and Diagnostic Procedures (4)
  • Clinical Laboratory (4)
  • Pharmacology (4)
  • Certification Preparation (2)
  • Medical Assisting Externship (4)
  • College Success  (1)
  • Professional Development (1)

For the full curriculum, visit our College Catalog.

NC Program

The Outlook for Medical Assisting Jobs

The aging baby boomer population. The growing need for support workers. The rising demand for preventive medical services. All of these elements are expected to contribute to much faster than average growth for medical assisting jobs over the next several years. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects employment of medical assistants will rise by 19% — almost five times more than the average — through 2029. The BLS also points out that those who are certified by an organization like the AMT Registered Medical Assistant exam may have better prospects than average, as well. Most of these jobs are likely to be in the offices of physicians, who employed 57% of medical assistants in 2019, but hospitals and outpatient care centers will also likely be top employers.

Student Learning Goals

Upon completion of the program, it is expected that students will be able to:

  • Communicate effectively with patients, supervisors, support personnel, and other healthcare team members using suitable verbal, nonverbal, and written skills
  • Familiarize themselves with government policies regarding HIPAA, OSHA and CDC guidelines
  • Apply knowledge of basic sciences and medical theory to the application and appropriate knowledge of administrative and clinical medical assisting procedures
  • Apply critical and creative thinking and analytical skills to make sound administrative and clinical judgments to enhance patient care
  • Deliver patient care in a respectful manner that reflects sensitivity to individual differences
  • Earn their (AMT) Registered Medical Assistant credential

Accreditations and Approvals

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

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.

Discover Chicago Medical Assisting Programs Today

If you’ve ever envisioned yourself as a healthcare provider who patients and their families can rely on, Northwestern College is happy to invite you to learn more. With flexible program options and class times, your new medical assisting career might be much closer than you realize.