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Medical Office Receptionist: Job Description, Duties and Requirements

Becoming a medical office receptionist requires little to no formal education. Learn about the training and job duties to see if this is the right career for you.

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Medical office receptionists keep track of patient records, handle billing and process insurance claims. This job requires a high school diploma or GED, but many employers prefer someone with postsecondary schooling as well.

Essential Information

Medical office receptionists connect patients to doctors and are responsible for maintaining patient records as well as handling billing and processing insurance. Most positions require no education beyond a high school diploma or GED, though the completion of a certificate or associate degree program may bolster an application.

Required Education High school diploma or GED; postsecondary training helpful
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) 10%* (all receptionists)
Median Salary (2015) $27,300* (all receptionists and information clerks)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Duties of a Medical Office Receptionist

The job duties of these professionals include greeting patients when they enter a medical office, clinic or hospital. Medical office receptionists also answer telephones, and respond to and send faxes. Receptionists gather information from patients upon patients' arrival by having them fill out forms. Many times, all incoming and outgoing mail is a responsibility of a receptionist. In addition to scheduling clients for upcoming doctor visits, medical office receptionists might also receive patient payments, record them in a database and provide receipts to patients.

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Job Requirements of a Medical Office Receptionist

The minimum educational requirement for becoming a medical office receptionist is a high school diploma or GED. It is common, though, for employers to hire individuals with some college background. College programs exist that offer certificates or associate's degree programs in medical receptionist training or medical administrative assistant training. Such training programs introduce students to medical terminology, office procedures, the requirements of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and other practical skills, such as how to use spreadsheets and word processing software. Some certificate and degree programs include billing and coding, and anatomy and physiology courses.

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that in May 2015, the median annual wage for receptionists and information clerks in general was $27,300. Those employed in physicians' offices received an average annual salary of $29,450 in that year (www.bls.gov).

According to the BLS, receptionists should experience a 10% increase in employment for the 10-year period of 2014-2024. This anticipated growth is primarily due to the number of industries that rely on receptionists, including the medical field and health practitioners in general (www.bls.gov).

A medical office receptionist must be organized, have great communication skills and have a thorough knowledge of billing and insurance policies. While a high school education is required, postsecondary training is available and may be preferred. Receptionists were projected to see a 10% rise in employment through 2024, which is faster than the average of all occupations.

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