Medical office specialists work in hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare organizations. Their duties include keeping medical records, greeting guests, handling billing procedures, and maintaining the front office. There are many different names for medical office specialists, including medical billing and coding specialists, medical office assistants, and medical secretaries. Individuals who aspire to work in this field can enroll in a medical office specialist certificate program. Most programs offer training in medical coding, which allows individuals to transform medical procedures into codes for billing and insurance purposes. Voluntary certification is available.
- Prerequisites: High school diploma or GED; some schools require English language proficiency and keyboard skills.
- Program Length: Varies.
Certification in Medical Office Specialization
Certificate programs for aspiring medical office specialists and medical office assistants often focus on practical courses that provide specific step-by-step training in medical coding, record keeping, and filing procedures. Some examples of common courses include:
- Medical terminology
- Medical billing procedures
- Medical coding
- Law and ethics in medicine
- Business communication
- Medical diseases and treatments
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
Physicians' offices, medical hospitals, dentists' offices, and outpatient care centers employed 516,050 medical secretaries and office specialists in 2014, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). These jobs were predicted to grow 36% from 2012-2022. The BLS reported that the mean annual salary for professionals in the field was $33,530 in May 2014.
In the field of medical office specialist, certification is not required, although it is offered. The Board of Medical Specialty Coding and the American Academy of Professional Coders both offer certification in medical billing and coding. Such certifications can be useful to individuals who hope to advance to positions as health information technologists or health information managers.