If you want to work in a medical office but are more interested in clerical tasks than clinical ones, consider pursuing a degree in medical office management. It may not be necessary to have such a degree to work in a medical office, but it can definitely improve your chances of finding a job. Read on for more information on three careers based in medical office management.
Medical offices rely on administrative staff to manage billing and invoicing, schedule appointments, handle correspondence and process insurance claims. Some administrators also work directly with patients. While there's no education or certification necessary to work in some medical office management positions, those with credentials may improve their prospects for employment and advancement.
|Career||Medical Assistants||Medical Secretaries||Medical Records and Health Information Technicians|
|Education Requirements||Postsecondary certificate or associate degree preferred||High school diploma; postsecondary certificate or degree recommended||Postsecondary certificate or associate degree required for most positions|
|Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)*||23%||16%||11%|
|Average Salary (2018)*||$34,540||$37,090||$40,430|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
There are a number of options for individuals holding a degree or certificate in medical office management. Below are descriptions of some of those options, as well as salary and job outlook information for each.
Administrative Medical Assistant
Medical assistants often perform clerical and administrative tasks in addition to providing basic patient care, such a taking vital signs and recording medical histories. American Medical Technologists (AMT), a professional organization for medical assistants, offers Registered Medical Assistant certification for those with minimal clinical experience who have graduated from an accredited postsecondary medical assistant program (www.americanmedtech.org). The American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) requires those pursuing its Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) designation to complete an approved course of postsecondary study that includes training in office administration skills (www.aama-ntl.org). Medical assistants earned an average salary of $34,540 as of May 2018, according to the BLS (www.bls.gov), and employment opportunities in this field were supposed to grow 23% from 2018 through 2028.
Medical Office Administrator
A medical office administrator or secretary assumes responsibility for the management of a medical practice. He or she may hold a certificate or diploma in medical office management, office administration or may simply have learned office skills and medical terminology through work experience. The BLS reports that the average salary for a medical secretary was $37,090 as of May 2018. The BLS projected that opportunities for these workers would increase 16% between 2018 and 2028.
Medical Records Technician
Medical records technicians prepare, store and tabulate patient records following physicians' appointments, surgeries and all other medical procedures. They use specialized computer software to input information about each patient's condition, treatment and health history and may also use medical coding to provide billing information for insurance companies. Medical records technicians may also be responsible for cross-referencing information to provide data about cost, efficiency and patient care for organizational improvement or research. According to the BLS, medical records technicians will see a much faster than average job growth of 11% from 2018 to 2028; these professionals earned an average salary of $44,010 as of May 2018. The BLS also reports that it's most common for medical records technicians to have an associate degree.
What's Needed for a Career in Medical Office Management?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), medical assistants, administrators and technicians can enter these careers with no more than a high school diploma; however, many professionals pursue an associate degree or certificate through programs that are widely available at community colleges and vocational schools nationwide. Students gain the interpersonal, computer technology and information processing skills they need to work as capable office managers in physician's offices, hospitals or clinics. Courses cover coding, medical billing, health records technology and medical terminology and can be completed in 1-2 years.
There are also voluntary certifications that individuals can pursue in order to gain greater career recognition and stay on top of trends in the industry. These vary in accordance with the specific job title that a medical office manager pursues.
Medical assistants, medical secretaries and medical records technicians all ensure that a medical office runs smoothly. Applicants for these positions might find the job search easier if they've completed a program in medical office management, which can easily be found at community colleges and technical schools. Prospective managers can also choose to earn professional certifications in their line of work.