Most associate's degree programs are offered at technical schools and community colleges and take two years to complete; some schools offer an online option. Applicants must have a high school diploma or GED. Graduates have many options to earn professional certification. Some programs even include a capstone requirement in coding and transcription.
Associate Degree in Medical Transcription
Students enrolled in associate's degree programs in medical administration must complete general education requirements in addition to core courses. A majority of the core coursework includes word processing applications as well as knowledge of the medical field. Examples of typical courses can include the following:
- Medical coding
- Medical terminology
- Medical billing and insurance
- Health office administration
Popular Career Options
Graduates of medical administration associate's degree programs who have training in transcription can seek immediate entry-level employment in physicians' offices, hospitals, nursing care facilities, or outpatient care centers.
- Medical secretary
- Medical administrative assistant
- Medical transcriptionist
Career Outlook and Salary Info
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that in May of 2018, the median salary for a medical secretary was $35,760 per year. That same year, medical assistants earned a median yearly wage of $33,610, and the median annual salary for medical transcriptionists was $34,770.
From 2018-2028, the BLS anticipates that employment of medical secretaries will increase by 16%; this is much faster than the average job growth rate for that time period, as is the 23% rate the BLS projects for medical assistants. Job growth for medical transcriptionists is predicted to decline 3 percent over the same decade. Technological advances within the country have changed the way medical transcriptionists work.
Students with an associate's degree in medical administration can seek additional education through a bachelor's or master's degree in healthcare administration. The 4-year bachelor's degree program builds upon the associate's degree program and covers areas such as economics and health administration ethics. The 2-year master's degree program covers additional topics like finance, marketing, and personnel management.
There are many options to pursue professional certifications, including those available from the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity. Medical transcriptionists can choose to pursue the Registered Medical Transcriptionist (RMT) or the Certified Medical Transcriptionist (CMT) designation, depending on the number of years of work experience they have. Each designation requires passing an exam and must be renewed every three years, with varying requirements.
Medical assistants might choose to pursue certifications like those awarded by the American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management, such as the Certified Patient Account Manager (CPAM), Certified Clinical Account Manager (CCAM), Certified Patient Account Technician (CPAT), Certified Clinical Account Technician (CCAT), or Certified Compliance Technician (CCT). The CPAM and CPAT are aimed at those who work at hospitals, while the CCAM and CCAT are geared toward those who work for clinics or physicians. The CCT certification is for those with compliance responsibilities.
CPAM, CCAM, CPAT, and CCAT applicants must pass an online exam, and in order to obtain recertification, they must earn 40 hours of continuing education units during the two years after they obtain certification. The CCT exam must be retaken every three years for recertification and features no continuing education requirements.
An associate's degree program in medical administration covers courses such as medical coding, medical terminology, keyboard and healthcare administration. Upon graduation, students have the option to obtain various certifications from professional organizations and even seek further education in the form of undergraduate and graduate level degrees.