Certificate and associate's degree programs that provide training for medical office receptionists focus on the key skills typically used in the field, including medical language, documentation and patient scheduling. Certificate programs are half the length of associate's degree programs as they only cover the very basic aspects needed to perform in the position of a medical receptionist.
Associate's degree programs generally take two years to complete and include general education classes, along with the medical office coursework. Practical experience may be earned through required internships. High school diploma or GED is required to enter the program.
Medical Office Receptionist Certificate Programs
Certificate programs in medical office receptionist training are one-year programs developed primarily to prepare individuals to perform entry-level front desk duties in hospitals or doctor's offices. Instruction and training are given on how to maintain office supplies and equipment and schedule patients' appointments.
Some certificate programs might require applicants to have certain levels of experience or education, but most programs require no specific educational prerequisites. Most certificate programs include coursework on medical terminology and documentation. Classes common to most office receptionist certificate programs cover these topics:
- Medical law and ethics
- Health care delivery
- Medical office accounting
- Business communications
Medical Office Receptionist Associate's Degree Programs
Many of the medical office classes offered in the associate's degree programs are the same or similar to the ones in certificate programs, with the addition of general education courses. Much of the medical office receptionist program coursework deals with medical terminology, medical coding and transcription, patient scheduling and insurance claims processing.
Students who successfully complete associate's degree programs in medical office receptionist training will also be equipped with general anatomy knowledge, basic first aid and CPR certification and medical correspondence skills. Supervised internships usually constitute about 60 hours of hands-on work assisting the front office receptionist with scheduling appointments, coding and billing and other associated tasks. Some of the classes common to most associate's degree programs include the following:
- Basic clinical assisting methods
- Medical office emergency situations and procedures
- Clinical assisting in family practice settings
- Insurance processes and procedures
- Medical office patient records
Popular Career Options
Most of the job opportunities for medical office receptionists exist inside clinics, medical insurance companies and private physicians' offices. In addition to medical office reception, some occupational options often include:
- Bookkeeping and auditing clerkship
- Communications tools operation
- Computer operation
- Court reporting
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
Job opportunities for receptionists in all employment sectors were predicted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to grow at average rate of 4% between 2019 and 2029, with most of the increase expected within the healthcare industry (www.bls.gov). In May 2020, the BLS reported that receptionists working at physicians' offices earned a mean salary of $32,880 per year.
Continuing Education Information
Graduates of a certificate program in medical office reception who do not yet hold a degree can continue with an undergraduate degree program. Additionally, a number of professional development certification programs are available for those who are not interested in further collegiate coursework. A number of continuing education options are available to those who complete associate's degree programs in medical office receptionist training. Many choose to go on to bachelor's degree programs in similar areas, such as healthcare management.
Medical office receptionist training programs provide students with administrative and basic medical skills. Students who obtain a certificate or an associate degree may also find work in other non-medical fields.