Be a Healthcare Administrative Assistant: Education and Career Roadmap

Aug 19, 2018

Learn how to become a healthcare administrative assistant. Research the education and career requirements, training information, and experience required for starting a career as a healthcare administrative assistant.

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  • 0:00 Healthcare…
  • 0:24 Career Requirements
  • 1:05 Career Steps

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Healthcare Administrative Assistant

Healthcare administrative assistants, also referred to as medical secretaries, work in medical offices and assist physicians with scheduling, dictation, messaging, and billing. It's important that healthcare administrative assistants be familiar with medical terminology and have an understanding of medical procedures.

Career Requirements

Education Level High school diploma or equivalent
Experience 1-2 years in an office assistant role
Key Skills Verbal and written communication and organizational skills; detail-oriented and a self-starter; proficiency in medical, word processing, database, and accounting software
Salary $33,040 (2015 median for all medical secretaries)

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, O*NET OnLine, job postings (October 2012)

While only a high school diploma is necessary to become a healthcare administrative assistant, those looking to work in medical settings may benefit from postsecondary training in medical, business, and computer science subjects. Some workers might also need a few years of experience as an assistant. The key skills for healthcare administrative assistants are verbal and written communication skills, organizational skills, detail-orientation, the ability to act as a self-starter, and proficiency in medical, word processing, database, and accounting software. In 2015, medical secretaries earned a median annual salary of $33,040, stated the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Career Steps

Now let's check out the career steps for healthcare administrative assistants.

Step 1: Consider Postsecondary Training

A high school diploma is the minimum educational requirement for prospective healthcare administrative assistants. At the high school level, taking courses involving science, business, and computers can be beneficial. Prospective healthcare administrative assistants can pursue medical secretary certificate or diploma programs in the field to gain formal training. Coursework includes anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, and medical transcription. Programs also place emphasis on computer literacy, which is something employers look for in healthcare administrative assistants.

Step 2: Apply for Jobs

Many different work environments exist for healthcare administrative assistants. Job opportunities are available in hospitals, outpatient clinics, and physicians' offices. Postsecondary programs have connections to local hospitals, clinics, and healthcare providers and help graduates land employment. On-the-job training is also provided for newly hired administrative assistants. This will allow them to become familiar with office procedures and policies. Most of these jobs are full-time in medical office settings, but some professionals may be able to work remotely.

Step 3: Pursue Career Advancement

Working as a healthcare administrative assistant teaches individuals about healthcare treatments and the day-to-day functions of various work environments. As administrative assistants gain more experience in the field, they pursue advancement opportunities and look for executive administrative assistant positions. These professionals will have additional responsibilities and assist high-level healthcare managers and CEOs.

To recap, with a high school diploma, experience, and possibly postsecondary education, a healthcare administrative assistant can earn about $33,000 a year to work in medical offices and assist physicians with scheduling, dictation, messaging, and billing.

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