Health unit coordinators, also called unit secretaries or ward clerks, perform administrative tasks in healthcare facilities. These tasks include coordinating patient activities, managing inventory, maintaining documents and prepping patient charts. They may also work directly with patients, taking vital signs.
Certificate programs offer formal training in the field through classroom lectures and on-site clinical work. They usually last up to one semester and require a high school diploma or equivalent for admission.
Training Program in Health Unit Coordinator
A health unit coordinator certificate program prepares students for entry-level positions as clerical workers in medical environments such as hospitals and physicians' offices, as well as outpatient and long-term care facilities. The health unit coordinator certificate program typically includes 5-6 classes. Students learn to process doctors' orders, order supplies, use computer programs common in the industry and act as a liaison between patients and other medical staff. Common course topics include:
- Medical terminology
- Hospital orientation
- Health record management
- Healthcare management
- Health law and ethics
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov), employment opportunities for medical secretaries, including health unit coordinators, are expected to increase by 21% from 2014-2024, significantly faster than average. These professionals' average annual salary was $34,330 as of May 2015.
Certification and Continuing Education Information
Health unit coordinators may choose to earn voluntary certification from the National Association of Health Unit Coordinators to become a Certified Health Unit Coordinator (CHUC). Certification requires passing an examination that tests both knowledge and skills. The certification lasts for three years, and professionals must complete 36 hours of continuing education to meet recertification standards.
A health unit coordinator certificate usually takes about a semester to complete and contains coursework designed to familiarize students with medical office procedures. Once they've obtained this certificate, students can join the workforce as health unit coordinators and earn optional certification as a CHUC.