A medical office needs a skilled manager to keep track of everything that needs to get done so that doctors and nurses can do their job effectively and patients have the best possible experience. The minimum education for this type of management job is an associate's degree, but completing a bachelor's degree can lead to higher pay and more senior positions.
An office manager who works in a healthcare setting is involved in all of the day-to-day administrative tasks required to keep a medical practice running smoothly. Healthcare office managers do not work with patients. Instead, they focus on the business aspects of operating a medical office, with duties that may include ordering supplies, hiring staff and budgeting. An associate's degree is the basic requirement, but individuals with bachelor's degrees may command higher salaries.
|Required Education||Associate's degree in a relevant field; bachelor's degree is often recommended|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||8% (for all first-line supervisors of office and administrative support workers)|
|Mean Salary (2015)*||$56,170 (for all first-line supervisors of office and administrative support workers)|
Source: * U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
Healthcare Office Manager Job Description
A healthcare office manager can be quite active, because the job deals with so many of the behind-the-scenes tasks in a medical office. Just like an office manager for any other business, the healthcare office manager must be a critical thinker who can communicate effectively. To excel at the job, a manager also must be familiar with the healthcare system. This position should not be confused with a medical manager or administrator position, in that managers and administrators typically have more education and are experienced in a particular field of medicine.
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Healthcare Office Manager Duties
Depending on the size of the medical office, a healthcare office manager may have to take on a wide variety of duties. These duties can include:
- Ordering supplies
- Understanding the financial background of the office
- Marketing or handling public relations
- Fulfilling a human resources role, including hiring staff
- Creating procedures for dealing with patients
- Overseeing staff
Office managers must be able to think creatively, because they are called on to solve problems. People who can work efficiently and have strong organizational skills are best able to handle the myriad duties required.
Healthcare Office Manager Requirements
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), office management positions frequently require postsecondary training, such as an associate's degree (www.bls.gov). However, those starting out with higher levels of training, such as a bachelor's degree, are on the higher end of the pay scale. The Professional Association of Health Care Office Management (PAHCOM) offers a certification program for healthcare office managers that can be taken once the applicant has experience in the healthcare field and has completed college coursework.
Salary and Job Outlook
In May 2015, the mean annual salary of office managers, who are classified by the BLS as first-line supervisors of office and administrative support workers, was $56,170. Workers in this category who were employed in physicians' offices had an average salary of $54,030. According to the BLS, this general occupational group was expected to grow by 8% from 2014 to 2024.
If you're a creative thinker and problem solver who can handle budgeting, staffing, marketing, and supply ordering duties, then managing a medical office might be the right prescription for you. The best-paid medical office managers have bachelor's degrees, though an associate's degree is adequate for many positions. College grads with experience in this field can also seek optional certification to further improve their marketability.