How to Become a Receptionist in a Medical Office

Aug 12, 2019

A medical receptionist is a specialized doctor's office receptionist who typically has training in medical terminology, billing, and more. Learn how to become a receptionist and the specific job duties and career info for a medical receptionist.

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What Do You Need to Be a Receptionist?

Students wishing to become a medical receptionist generally need at least a high school diploma and some on-the-job training, like most kinds of receptionists. Receptionists also need some training in word processing, database software, and/or spreadsheet programs.

However, becoming a doctor's office receptionist is slightly different than how to become a receptionist, in that medical receptionists can also pursue specialty training through online classes and/or medical receptionist certificate programs.

Below we explore how to attain the specialized education and training needed to become a medical receptionist.

Step 1: Enroll in a Medical Receptionist Certificate Program

Medical receptionist certificate programs can usually be taken on campus or in online formats, and may require around 24 credit hours. Some programs may offer an externship experience for hands-on learning in the field. Course topics for these programs may include:

  • Medical terminology
  • Health insurance billing
  • Healthcare records management
  • Medical coding
  • Medical ethics
  • Medical technology

Step 2: Seek Employment and Opportunities for Job Training

Once hired, most medical receptionists will undergo a few months of training to learn the specific job duties for their role and medical office. During this time they may also learn specific practices and terminology for their medical office.

Career Information for Medical Receptionists

Medical receptionists are responsible for a wide range of administrative and clerical tasks in various kinds of medical offices. They may assist doctors, medical scientists, or other healthcare professionals and/or have some interactions with patients. Other job duties may include, but are not limited to:

  • Answering telephones
  • Scheduling appointments
  • Managing patient records
  • Ordering office equipment
  • Taking financial information from patients
  • Writing reports for doctors
  • Recording medical histories
  • Processing insurance

Medical receptionists usually work full-time in an office setting. They are likely to keep normal business hours, but work shifts may vary depending on the kind of medical facility, such as a 24-hour care facility.

Medical Receptionist Salary

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that medical secretaries made an average annual salary of $37,090 in 2018. Most medical secretaries worked in the offices of physicians and made an average annual salary of $35,930, but those secretaries that worked in grantmaking and giving services made the most, with an annual salary of $47,340 in 2018. stated that the median salary for a medical receptionist was $30,870, as of July 2019. This equated to a median hourly rate of $13.72, which was expected to increase with years of experience. For example, the website stated that medical receptionists with 10 to 19 years of work experience made an hourly rate of $14.75, while those with 20 years or more made $15.23 per hour.

Medical Receptionist Job Outlook

The BLS reported that the job outlook for medical secretaries from 2016 to 2026 was 22%. This is much faster than the national average and is expected in part due to the growth of the healthcare industry. As mentioned, most medical secretaries worked in the offices of physicians as of 2018, but other common industries for these professionals include general medical and surgical hospitals, offices of dentists, and outpatient care centers.

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