Doctor's Office Administrator: Employment and Career Information

Read on to see what doctors' office administrators do. See how to prepare for this job and what the career prospects are to find out if this occupation is right for you.

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Career Definition for a Doctor's Office Administrator

Physicians today face enormous administrative pressures in addition to the rigors of practicing medicine. A doctor's office administrator works closely with them to develop policy, devise tactics, and refine procedures in response to the constantly shifting legal, regulatory, and insurance environments that exist in the United States health care system.

Physicians strive to improve the quality and efficiency of health care while controlling costs. Doctors' office administrators, sometimes called medical group administrators, help achieve this by dissecting reimbursement guidelines, employing new technology systems, and modifying practice policies in response to changing patient needs, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Education Bachelor's degree as a minimum; master's required by larger practices
Job Skills Analytical skills, understanding of finance and information systems, diplomacy, persuasion
Median Salary (2015)* $94,500 for all medical and health services managers
Job Growth (2014-2024)* 17% increase for all medical and health services managers

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

A bachelor's degree in management, finance, business administration, or public health is adequate for most small practices. However, large practices require a master's degree. Most relevant are the Master of Public Health, Master of Business Administration, and Master of Health Administration degrees. Programs typically take two to three years to complete and may include an internship at a health care facility.

Skills Required

A doctor's office administrator must possess strong analytical skills and have a solid understanding of finance and information systems. A persuasive yet diplomatic personality is key for gaining approval of new procedures and policies.

Career and Economic Outlook

Demand for skilled doctors' office administrators will increase as a result of impending health care reform and increased growth and complexity of medical group practices, according to the BLS.

The median annual salary for medical and health services managers such as doctors' office administrators was reported as $94,500 in May 2015, according to the BLS. Medical and health services managers working in New York, Washington, D.C., and Connecticut made more money than those in other states. California, New York, and Texas employed more medical and health services managers than other states, per the BLS. The BLS predicts that jobs for medical and health services managers will grow 17% from 2014-2024.

Alternative Career Options

Check out these other options for administrative careers:

Human Resources Manager

Human resources managers organize a company's employment activities based on input from upper management, from hiring and developing to disciplining and terminating staff. Human resources managers also coordinate benefits and payroll activities and provide a bridge between management and staff. Jobs typically require a bachelor's degree in human resources or a related field, although some require a master's degree in a field like human resources or labor relations. Professional voluntary certification is also sometimes required by employers. According to the BLS, human resources manager jobs are expected to increase 9% from 2014-2024, and these professionals were paid a median salary of $104,440 in 2015.

Social or Community Service Manager

A social or community service manager has a bachelor's or master's degree in social work, public administration, or a related field and relevant work experience. He or she uses this knowledge and experience to guide the delivery of social service programs; other job responsibilities may include assessment of programs and services, budgeting, fundraising, and staff development. The BLS reports that jobs for social and community service managers are predicted to grow 10% from 2014-2024. Social and community service managers earned a median salary of $63,530 in 2015, per the BLS.

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