Health unit coordinators oversee the day-to-day operations and organization of healthcare facilities. Before individuals sit for a certification exam given by the National Association of Health Unit Coordinators, they might consider enrolling in a health unit coordinator certificate program. Students in these programs learn to perform non-clinical tasks essential to the daily operation of a hospital or medical facility. They learn to communicate with nurses and doctors, schedule staff, manage patient intake, prepare patient charts, transcribe physician orders and maintain patient records.
These programs are normally 2 semesters long and are offered through community colleges and the extension or continuing education divisions of some universities. A high school diploma or GED equivalent is necessary for admission. A clinical externship is required for graduation.
Certificate in Health Unit Coordination
Didactic courses cover healthcare procedures, policies and management skills. Courses cover basic medical terminology and patient care skills, in addition to specific organizational tasks in the profession. Course examples include:
- Legal and ethical issues in healthcare
- Diagnostic and therapeutic procedures
- Patient care skills
- Processing physicians' orders
- Health unit coordinator procedures
- Health unit coordinator practicum
Employment Options and Salary Info
Health unit coordinators, also known as medical secretaries, specialize in different areas of healthcare including reception, scheduling, safety protocols or patient interaction. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov) reported that medical secretaries, including health unit coordinators, made an median annual salary of $35,760 as of May 2018. In that same year, job growth was expected to be 16%, much faster than the average for all occupations.
Certification is available from the National Association of Health Unit Coordinators (NAHUC) and is voluntary. Individuals must pass an exam administered by a local testing agency. Health unit coordinators must retake the exam every three years in order to maintain certification.
Health unit coordinator certificate programs prepare graduates to manage and organize various aspects within a healthcare facility, as they learn about law and ethics matters, business and patient procedures, records and vocabulary.