Online Degree Programs for Health Unit Coordinators

Learn about online training programs for health unit coordinators. Get an overview of the program types, requirements and course descriptions available for this field.

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Essential Information

Online educational certificate and diploma programs are available for aspiring health unit coordinators. In these online programs students are trained to work as a clerk in a healthcare setting. Health Unit Coordinators transcribe physicians' orders and communicate with nursing staff and patients. Health unit coordinators work for hospitals, medical labs, nursing homes and insurance agencies. Skills developed in the program include ability to read patient charts, process medical orders and communicate using medical terminology. Program design varies; some programs are available entirely online, while others offer blended formats either as an option or a requirement. Blended programs require internships at a medical facility.

Information and Requirements

Students can expect to complete these certificate and diploma programs in about six months. The programs are generally around 25 credit-hours in length. Some schools offer a hybrid program, but most programs can be taken entirely online. Upon completion of the program, students are often required to enroll in an internship program and gain on-site training at the school's chosen medical facility.

Online coursework can be accessed from any computer that has an Internet connection. It is helpful if the computer has an up-to-date Web browser and operating system.

Course Topics

There are no general education courses required in these programs. In most programs, course material is presented asynchronously, meaning that students can access it at a time that is convenient for them.


This course focuses on the side effects of drugs, pharmaceutical drug classifications, and commonly prescribed drugs and their uses. Upon completion of this course students will have an understanding of pharmacological terms and abbreviations, be able to identify different types of drugs, understand prescription labels and understand safe drug administration practices.

Health Unit Coordinator Basics

Students in this course receive a general overview of all the tasks that a health unit coordinator will be in charge of during an average day. Course topics include scheduling patient procedures, transcribing physicians orders and consent form preparation.

Medical Terminology

Basic knowledge of medical terms that relate to human anatomy and physiology are essential to effective communication as a health unit coordinator. This course covers topics like terminology comprehension, defining different body parts and term abbreviations.

Career Information for Graduates

Administrative medical assistants, including health unit coordinators, may not need to have formal training beyond a high school diploma, since many learn their skills on the job. However, some employers prefer to hire those with some postsecondary education. Professional certification is voluntary for medical assistants, but some employers prefer it.

Students who successfully complete a certification or diploma program will be eligible for an entry-level position as a health unit coordinator or medical secretary. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported a mean annual salary of $34,330 for medical secretaries and $31,910 for medical assistants as of May 2015.

Aspiring health unit coordinators can pursue online certificate and diploma programs. Coursework covers medical topics such as pharmacology and medical terminology. Graduates can find entry-level positions as medical secretaries or assistants.

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