Online Medical Secretary Schools: How to Find and Choose

Learn about important considerations when selecting an online medical secretary program. Keep reading to get an overview of the program options, required hours, and common courses offered for the field of study.

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Online programs training students to become medical secretaries are widely available at the associate's degree and diploma/certificate levels. Students should consider their career goals and how long they want to be in school, since diploma programs typically take less than one year to complete, while associate's degree programs typically take two.

How to Select an Online Medical Secretary Program

Students considering online medical secretary programs must make their decision based on several key factors. Medical secretary programs are available online from various public and private institutions. Schools offer diplomas and associate's degrees; choosing a school will depend upon the level of degree available and the long-term educational and professional goals of the student. Students will then need to weigh which courses will transfer.

Award Level

Prospective medical secretaries need to consider whether they want to enroll in a diploma or degree program. A diploma can take about one year to complete, while an associate's degree can be completed in two years and requires general education requirements. Diploma programs prepare graduates for entry-level employment, but employers may prefer applicants who have an associate's degree in the field.

Transfer Opportunities

Another consideration when searching for a medical secretary program is the school's transfer opportunities. Students who are ultimately seeking a bachelor's in health care management, may want to earn a medical secretary associate's degree and then transfer to a 4-year school. Students should make sure that potential schools offer accredited, transferrable college credit and academic counselors to help them meet transfer requirements.

List of Online Medical Secretary Degree Programs

Online Medical Secretary Diploma Program

Depending on the school, a medical secretary diploma program requires approximately 35-40 credit hours to complete. A focus is also placed on medical office procedures, medical terminology, anatomy and physiology. Courses may also cover topics involving medical insurance and coding, medical transcription and customer service in the medical environment. Basic courses include:

  • Basic keyboarding
  • Office procedures
  • Business communications

Online Medical Secretary Associate of Applied Science (AAS) Degree Program

An online medical secretary AAS degree program generally requires the completion of 60-65 credit hours. This 2-year degree program incorporates various general education requirements, including math, science, history, humanities and English. In addition to general education courses, the coursework for an AAS degree is very similar to that of a diploma program, with the addition of courses in:

  • Supervisory management
  • Pathophysiology
  • Pharmacology
  • Information resource management
  • Body systems terminology

Schools with Online Medical Secretary Programs

Finding an online program for becoming a medical secretary is not difficult. They are available at the associate's degree or diploma/certificate level. Students should take into account how much training they want when deciding on a school, perhaps considering the job requirements of the position they are interested in.

For example, Penn Foster Career School offers an online program to become a medical administrative assistant, lasting only seven months. The school is licensed in Arizona, so licensing and certification may be different in other states. This means that after obtaining your certificate from Penn Foster, you will need to follow up with your state to see if there are any other requirements.

Ashworth College has a similar program for medical office assistants lasting only four months. This program is reasonably priced and has the most-up-to-date training requirements, such as the latest HIPPAA regulations.

Liberty University offers an online Associate of Applied Science program for medical office assistants. The program is based on a biblical worldview and includes courses in medical office billing, bookkeeping, and medical terminology.

Whether you're looking for a quick certification or a full-length associate's degree program to become a medical secretary, you will be able to find both fully online. Both types of programs will train you in the basics of entering data in a medical office setting.

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