With a high school diploma or GED, it is possible to begin a career as an administrative medical assistant. Administrative medical assistants assist patients with checking in, scheduling appointments and filling out forms. Other tasks they perform may include filing records and submitting insurance forms.
Administrative medical assistants are responsible for the everyday happenings in a clinical office. They generally work at the front desk, dealing with patients, filing medical documents and handling insurance forms. There are no formal educational requirements, and most of the training is performed on the job. However, there are programs that provide certification, which proves students' competency to potential employers.
|Required Education||None mandatory, but a high school diploma is typically desired; certificate and associate's degree programs in medical and administrative assisting are available|
|Certification||Voluntary, though sometimes preferred by employers|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||23% for medical assistants|
|Median Salary (2015)*||$30,590 for medical assistants|
Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Administrative Medical Assistant Job Description
Administrative medical assistants perform clerical work in doctors' and hospital offices. It is their responsibility to keep all patient files organized and to maintain the front office. They file medical records and handle administrative duties, such as answering phones and scheduling appointments.
These administrative medical assistants are also responsible for managing insurance forms. They use their knowledge and understanding of medical terminology and insurance procedures to act as a liaison between the patient and the insurance agency.
Depending on the size of the office, administrative medical assistants may also be required to assist doctors and work with patients. Typically, these duties include taking vital signs, drawing blood and sterilizing medical instruments.
Administrative Medical Assistant Requirements
There are no formal educational requirements for administrative medical assistants, but most employers mandate at least a high school diploma for all new employees. Very often, certification is not required, and all new employees are trained on the job. However, for students who are serious about becoming an administrative medical assistant, there are formal programs available. Vocational schools and community colleges offer medical assistant training programs that usually last 1-2 years and result in a certificate or an associate's degree.
Students in administrative medical assistant programs learn basic medical terminology and procedures, as well as administrative tasks, such as typing and record keeping. They also study medical law and ethics, which prepares them to work in a clinical setting.
Students interested in receiving certification should attend a school accredited by one of the two medical assistant accreditation bodies, the Accreditation Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) and the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). Students with the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) designation must be re-certified every 60 months by completing continuing education hours.
Administrative Medical Assistant Career Outlook
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that medical assistants could see a 23% projected increase in employment opportunities from 2014-2014. This significant increase was due in part to an aging baby boomer population in need of medical services. Medical assistants made a median yearly wage of $30,590 in May 2015.
Although most of the training for medical office assistants is on the job, it's possible to earn a certificate or associate's degree to prepare for this career field. The BLS predicts job growth in this field from 2014-2024 will be much faster than average when compared to all occupations, which means the job prospects for those planning a career as a medical office assistant are good.