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Careers Information for a Degree in Medical Administrative Assisting

Medical administrative assisting is generally a 1- or 2-year program that offers training in clerical functions. Continue reading for an overview of the programs, as well as career and salary info for some career options for graduates.

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Training programs in medical administrative assisting prepare individuals to become medical administrative assistants, medical records technicians or medical transcriptionists. Graduates of certificate or associate's degree programs in medical administrative assisting will have the clerical and technical skills to work in administrative positions within medical facilities.

Essential Information

Many schools offer associate's degree and certificate programs in medical administrative assisting. These programs often include courses in medical terminology, office management, anatomy and medical transcription. In the last semester, students typically complete practicums, which provide hands-on training in medical offices.

Career Medical Administrative Assistant Medical Records Technician Medical Transcriptionist
Required Education Certificate or associate's degree in medical administrative assisting Certificate or associate's degree in medical administrative assisting Certificate or associate's degree in medical administrative assisting or medical transcription
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 21% for medical secretaries 15% -3%
Mean Salary (2015)* $34,330 $40,430 $35,720

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

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Career Options

Postsecondary programs in medical administrative assisting prepare students to fill clerical roles in hospitals, clinics or physicians' offices. Graduates of these programs may qualify for some rapidly-growing careers. They can go on to become medical secretaries, medical records technicians or medical transcriptionists.

Medical Administrative Assistant

Medical administrative assistants, sometimes called medical secretaries, perform clerical tasks in medical offices. They may direct patients to examination rooms, schedule appointments for patients, assist with billing, organize patient files, order supplies and assist physicians in writing reports. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were 530,360 medical secretaries in the nation in 2015, and they earned a mean salary of $34,330 (www.bls.gov). Employment of medical secretaries was expected to increase 21% from 2014 to 2024, which is much faster than average.

Medical Records Technician

Medical records technicians maintain, update and organize patient medical records. The records they handle include physician reports, X-rays, lab tests and examination reports. They may also specialize in medical coding for insurance-billing purposes. The BLS reports that, in 2015, there were 189,930 medical record and health information technicians in the U.S., and these professionals earned a mean salary of $40,430. Job opportunities for medical records and health information technicians were projected to grow 15% from 2014 to 2024, due to an increasing demand for healthcare services.

Medical Transcriptionist

Medical transcriptionists listen to and type out recordings made by physicians. They often use headphones, speakers, computers and foot-mounted controls that allow recordings to be paused as necessary during transcription. To recognize mistakes or inconsistencies in original recordings, medical transcriptionists need to be familiar with medical terms and common medical conditions. In 2015, there were 57,830 medical transcriptionists in the nation, and the BLS expected career opportunities in this field to decrease by three percent during the 2014 to 2024 decade. As of May 2015, they earned a mean annual salary of $35,720.

Medical administrative assistants primarily complete clerical duties, such as scheduling appointments, billing, ordering supplies and writing reports, while medical transcriptionists transcribe verbal data from doctors into a typed document. Medical records technicians focus on organizing and updating patients' medical records, and they also may assist with billing insurance. These professionals can pursue their career with one to two years of postsecondary studies in medical administrative assisting.

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