While educational requirements vary, more and more medical offices are requiring office management applicants to possess associate's or bachelor's degrees, preferably in health-related and business-related fields. Smaller practices may occasionally employ office managers with high school diplomas. Previous medical office management employment and experience is vital and may be considered in lieu of formal education.
Students wanting to enroll in an associate's or bachelor's degree program will need to have a high school diploma or equivalent prior to applying. Students at either level generally participate in internship opportunities. Online courses and programs are available.
Most employers require medical office manager applicants to have two to five years of relevant experience. Applicants should have knowledge of medical billing, coding, collections, and federal privacy standards. Additionally, applicants are typically required to be computer savvy. Depending on the particular region, bilingual medical office managers (English and Spanish) may be preferred.
Associate's Degree Programs in Medical Office Management
In the two-year, associate's degree program, future medical office managers take general office administration classes in records management, computer software and typing. They also take more concentrated courses in medical software programs, insurance and billing practices, health care legalities, ethics and medical vocabulary. Courses may include:
- Pre-college math
- Computer applications
Bachelor's Degree Programs in Medical Office Management
Students enrolled in four-year, bachelor's degree programs study business topics as they relate to the health care industry, including medical human resource management, finance, economics, politics and strategic planning. They also study basic medical topics, including common illnesses and disease prevention. Courses may include:
- College math
- Computer applications
- Business law
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
Administrative services managers', including medical office managers, job growth is expected to be about 8% between the years 2014-2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) at www.bls.gov. This rate is about average. The median annual wage for administrative services managers in May of 2015 was $86,110, according to the BLS.
Medical office managers interested in earning the Certified Medical Manager designation can look to the Professional Association of Health Care Office Management. In order to earn the credential, applicants must pass the examination, which tests candidates' knowledge of nearly 20 areas of medical office management procedures and health care regulations. Medical office managers who are interested in professional development opportunities may also pursue two- to five-day workshops sponsored by medical organizations, such as the American Academy of Medical Management or state medical associations. Web-based memberships are available as well through a number of industry organizations.
Students interested in starting a career in medical office management, may seek training form an associate's or bachelor's degree program in medical office management that, with job-related experience, may qualify them for the job.