2-year associate's degree programs in this field are commonly offered as Associate of Science (A.S.) or Associate of Applied Science (AAS) options. Specific program titles vary and can include medical administration, medical office administration and medical administrative assistant. Students learn how to organize medical documents, manage patient records, schedule appointments and transcribe physician's reports. A high school diploma or equivalent is usually required for admittance.
Associate of Medical Administration
Medical administration associate's programs typically include courses in medical terminology, medical coding, insurance, medical law and keyboarding in order to help students develop an eclectic blend of skills needed to perform the multiple tasks assigned to medical secretaries. Students might be required to participate in coursework designed to simulate a real-world office environment or complete an internship to gain practical training. Course topics can include:
- Finance in healthcare
- Human resources
- Medical ethics and law
- Medical transcription
- Office management
- Records management
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
In 2018, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the median annual salary for medical secretaries was $34,610 (www.bls.gov). According to BLS data, there were 601,700 medical secretary jobs in the U.S. in 2018. The BLS projects that over the 2018-2028 decade demand for medical secretaries will increase by 16%. These professionals can work in various healthcare settings, including hospitals, dentist's offices, physician's offices and outpatient care centers.
Medical administrative assistants and secretaries could further their career options by earning a bachelor's degree in healthcare administration. In addition to administrative tasks, healthcare administrators oversee the business aspects, such as the practices, policies and employees, of medical institutions. In some cases, these positions might require graduate education. Several schools offer master's degree programs with relevant training, such as a Master of Health Administration or a Master of Business Administration with a concentration in healthcare management.
Associate of Medical Administration programs train students in various aspects of administrative healthcare work, such as patient record maintenance, appointment scheduling, and more. Graduates of these 2-year programs may be prepared for entry-level positions in the field, though earning a bachelor's degree could improve career prospects.