To become a medical office administrator doesn't necessarily require postsecondary education, but completing a formal training program is recommended. You might choose to become a medical office administrator if you are interested in health care and have excellent organizational and people skills. Job growth is expected to be much stronger than average for the 2014-2024 decade.
Medical office administrators, sometimes called medical secretaries or administrative assistants, perform a variety of clerical and support tasks for medical offices, doctors' offices and insurance companies. Although it is possible to work as a medical secretary without formal education, completion of a certificate or degree program related to medical office administration is recommended. Coursework in such programs includes medical vernacular and an overview of industry-specific operations, such as the basics of insurance coverage. Certification is not required, but can be helpful in a competitive job market.
|Required Education||None mandatory, though completion of a healthcare-related program often helpful; on-the-job training provided with employment|
|Certification||Voluntary through the International Association of Administrative Professionals|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)||21%*|
|Median Salary (2015)||$33,040*|
Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Medical Office Administrator Job Description
In addition to doctor's offices, medical office administrators can also work for hospitals, laboratories or health departments. These professionals need to understand medical terminology and basic healthcare procedures. They are responsible for information management, medical and office supply purchases and in some cases, project management.
As part of their day-to-day tasks, medical office administrators might answer phones, schedule appointments and organize medical records. They process insurance forms, prepare reports and assist physicians with various presentations or articles. Using their knowledge of medical procedures and customer service, they record medical histories and schedule patients for hospitalization or other procedures.
Their duties include bookkeeping tasks, such as billing patients, preparing financial and tax reports and processing invoices. Medical office administrators are expected to use spreadsheet, accounting and word processing software, in addition to office equipment, which might include fax machines, credit card machines and dictation equipment.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), while a specific degree isn't required, medical administrative assistants generally need specialized training in medical processes. Training programs for medical office administration are plentiful and can be found at various community colleges and technical schools. Depending on their educational and career goals, students can choose from certificate, diploma and associate degree programs in this field.
In these programs, students learn about medical coding procedures, medical office transcription and administrative methods. They can study medical ethics, anatomy, computerized medical office procedures and medical terms. These programs also cover records management, bookkeeping software, correspondence and workplace relations.
Salary Info and Career Outlook
The BLS predicted employment of medical secretaries, including medical office administrators, to expand 21% from 2014-2024. The continued overall growth of the healthcare field will be the primary reason for this significantly above-average level of job growth. In May 2015, the BLS listed the median annual salary of medical secretaries, including medical office administrators, at $33,040.
In conclusion, a certificate program or degree can help improve job prospects or advance a medical office administration career. Medical secretaries do administrative work in clinics or hospitals, and an above-average increase in jobs is expected between 2014 and 2024, according to the BLS.