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Illinois Valley Community College will launch medical assistant program

OGLESBY — Next spring, Illinois Valley Community College will launch a Medical Assistant certificate program to help address health care industry demand.

“After consulting with district hospital leaders and researching employment trends, we are convinced a demand for certified medical assistants (CMA) exists locally and regionally,” IVCC Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs Bonnie Campbell said.

The Illinois Department of Employment Security expects employment of CMAs to increase more than 13 percent statewide through 2026. 

This three-semester program will prepare students for entry-level careers in physicians’ offices, clinics, and other healthcare settings. The program begins in January 2020 and will be limited to 12 students.  

CMAs differ from certified nursing assistants (CNA) in that CNAs work primarily in hospitals and nursing homes while CMAs work in physicians’ offices and clinics.

CNAs work under a nurse’s direction and CMAs work for a doctor. The eight-credit CNA certificate is earned in eight weeks and the 29.5-hour CMA is earned over three semesters.  

A CMA’s administrative duties include the handling of scheduling and receiving patients; phone calls; accounts payable and receivable; and serving as a liaison between doctors and others.

Clinical duties include the preparation and maintenance of medical records; taking patient histories and vitals; preparing patients for procedures; assisting doctors with examinations; collecting and processing specimens; performing diagnostic tests; and preparing and administering medications as directed by a doctor.

On average, CMAs earn $13 to $17 per hour plus benefits. 

IVCC developed the program in partnership with Kishwaukee College, in Malta, and shared a consultant to ensure the curriculum aligned with current standards. 

The college is also partnering with the Business Employment Skills Team (BEST) and NCI Works to register the program with the U.S. Department of Labor as an apprenticeship program. NCI Works will be the sponsoring entity and will recruit health care providers to participate. Apprenticeship programs will focus on “earning while learning” and result in a nationally-recognized credential. 

Health care providers interested in participating can contact Dianna Schuler at 815-640-9406.  

“Skilled medical assistants’ help facilities provide excellent health care; earning the CMA increases a student’s employability and can provide a path to a rewarding and lifelong career in health care,” IVCC Director of Nursing Julie Hogue said.

For more information, call Hogue at 815-224-0481 or email

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