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Do Hospitals in Chicago Offer Free Medical Assistant Training?

Becoming a medical assistant can certainly be expensive. While Chicago does offer some opportunities for low cost or free medical assistant training, those programs might not be a good fit or even available for everyone.

Hospitals and other major medical institutions in and around the city have consistent needs for medical assistants, and as such, offer some pretty nice incentives for new hires.

Do Hospitals in Chicago Offer Free Medical Assistant Training?

In short, not usually. You can search high and low, but unlike some programs offered for positions like nursing assistants, medical assistants rarely have dedicated training programs at hospitals, let alone for free. However, if you’re creative in your job hunt you can find positions that will essentially pay you back for your training (or pay for your future training) through signing bonuses or tuition reimbursement.

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Signing Bonuses

With a tight job market, competition for talent is very high. That means employers are willing to offer up more money, and better benefits to help attract workers. This is also the case for medical assistants in Chicago, who will find an increasing number of job listings offering signing bonuses on major job boards. As an example, here’s a listing from August, 2023 for Ascension Medical Group in Elk Grove from late 2023:

That $5,000 signing bonus highlighted above would cover the tuition for every medical assistant program in Chicago listed on this site.

Even Better Offers

While that signing bonus looks great, if you do your homework you can find even better options for repaying for school and getting what are essentially free medical assistant classes from a hospital in Chiago. Check out this listing on LinkedIn from January 2024 from Northwestern Memorial Hospital:

You have student loans from your medical assistant program or other previous education endeavors? Why not wipe that out with $10,000 of student loan repayments? If you have prior education debt, this could wipe out both the cost of your medical assistant classes and even pay for some, or all, of your prior education. That kind of deal is tough to beat.

If you, like many people looking to become a medical assistant, are looking at the position as the beginning of your healthcare career journey, that benefit of tuition reimbursement means your employer is willing to invest in your future education towards your career advancement, too.

How Tuition Reimbursement Works

Tuition reimbursement for medical assistants operates much like similar programs in various industries. However, the specifics may differ based on the employer’s policies and guidelines. Here, we’ll explore how tuition reimbursement typically functions for medical assistants, breaking down the process into different aspects.

Employment and Eligibility

First and foremost, eligibility for tuition reimbursement requires employment with a participating employer. Not all healthcare organizations or facilities offer this benefit, so it’s crucial to inquire about it during your job search. Once you secure a position, you can then consider enrolling in a medical assistant program.

Your eligibility for reimbursement usually depends on certain criteria set by your employer. These criteria may involve working full-time or part-time, maintaining a particular level of performance, and potentially committing to stay with the organization for a specified period after completing your education.

Program Selection and Pre-Approval

Before enrolling in a medical assistant program, it’s advisable to discuss your career goals and educational aspirations with your employer. Some organizations may have specific requirements regarding the types of programs and institutions that qualify for reimbursement. Seeking pre-approval from your employer before enrolling is often necessary. They’ll want to review the program, its costs, and how it aligns with your job responsibilities and potential career advancement within the organization.

Payment and Reimbursement

Once you’re enrolled in an eligible program, you’ll need to cover the tuition and associated expenses upfront. This means paying for your education as you progress through the program. After successfully completing your coursework or the entire program, you will need to submit proof of completion, such as transcripts or a diploma, to your employer for verification.

Following the verification process and ensuring that you meet all eligibility requirements, your employer will proceed with reimbursing you for a portion or the full amount of the tuition costs. Typically, reimbursement includes tuition fees, and sometimes, it may even cover the cost of books and supplies. Keep in mind that the reimbursement amount and the process can vary significantly from one employer to another.

Commitment and Tax Considerations

Some employers may require you to commit to working for them for a specified period after receiving tuition reimbursement. If you decide to leave the organization before fulfilling this commitment, you may be obligated to repay the reimbursement on a prorated basis. Additionally, it’s important to be aware of potential tax implications, as tuition reimbursement may be subject to taxation depending on your country’s tax laws. Consulting with a tax professional or reviewing your country’s tax regulations can help you understand any tax-related considerations.

How to Find These Opportunities

You might be surprised to find that it’s not that difficult to find these “free” options for medical assitant training at hospitals in Chicago. There are a couple easy ways to do this.


Not surprisingly, if yuou’re looking for something, Google is a good place to start. What people don’t know, however, is that Google can be tweaked with what are known as search operators to modify results to give you more specific answers to your queries.

So, for example, if you put a word or phrase in quotation marks, that forces Google to only return results that have that exact word or phrase on the page. So, rather than Google inferring what you mean, you can tell it specifically to only return pages that have certain things on it. Why is that important? Well, if you want to find a job in Chicago that has “tuition reimbursement” you can force Google to give you results that say that. If you run a search in Google that reads:

You can tinker with your terms, try “signing bonus”, or “loan repayment” when you search and see what you find!

Job Boards

As it turns out, you can get more specific on your job board searches, too. Don’t just search by location and job title or job type, put in the benefits you want to get. You want tuition reimbursement? Search for it on Indeed, Simplyhired or Ziprecruiter and see who’s offering it! Don’t waste your time sifting through every listing, look for the ones that will pay for your past and future education!

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