Accredited Distance Learning Degree to Be a Medical Secretary

Essential Information

Medical secretaries greet patients, schedule appointments and file insurance claims. Accredited online diploma, certificate and associate's degree programs are available in this field through community colleges and private distance learning schools. While some schools may offer programs specifically for medical secretaries, other options that include similar coursework include programs in medical office management, medical administrative assisting and medical office administration.

Program Overviews

Many schools offer these programs totally online, while others either require or permit students to complete some work on campus. Some programs could require externships in an approved medical setting. Certificate programs in this field can be completed in under a year, while an associate's degree usually requires two years of study.

Distance learning medical secretary training programs are taught using lectures, assignments, chat rooms, message boards and other tools contained within a virtual classroom. In some cases, students may need to visit campus for testing or a medical facility for real-world experience.

Common Courses

All medical secretaries must have a thorough educational foundation in medical terminology, medical transcription and medical office procedures. Additional courses often include accounting, business law and computer information systems. Students in an associate's program must complete general education in addition to their major coursework. Some of the most common courses in an online program for medical secretaries include the following:

Medical Keyboarding

Speed and accuracy in keyboarding is a vital skill for medical secretaries. Accredited distance-learning medical secretary degree programs feature classes that enhance the student's skills in keyboarding. Students are given assignments to type correspondence and reports from handwritten documents, typed documents and dictated material.

Medical Insurance

Students enrolled in this online medical secretary class receive instruction in billing and coding, understanding medical claim cycles and preparation of CMS-1500 forms. Students also learn Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and Office of Inspector General (OIG) regulations.

Data Entry Applications

Since medical secretaries must be proficient in data management, accredited distance-learning medical secretary degree programs include courses designed to cultivate data entry skills. Students undergo data entry training relative to insurance, medical information and customer service with an emphasis on accuracy and speed.

Medical Machine Transcription

Students enrolled in this medical secretary course transcribe dictated material into medical documents. These documents may include patient histories, lab reports, pathology reports, death certificates, diagnostic imaging reports and other medical documentation.

In online undergraduate programs for aspiring medical secretaries, students are introduced to basic medical concepts and the specific administrative skills needed for work in the offices of healthcare institutions. While some of these topics are covered entirely online, students may need to get hands-on experience on-campus or in the field before the certificate, diploma or degree is granted.

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