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Become an Intake Coordinator: Education and Career Roadmap

Learn how to become an intake coordinator. Research the education and career requirements, as well as the experience required, for starting a career as an intake coordinator. View article »

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  • 0:01 Should I Be an Intake…
  • 0:33 Career Requirements
  • 1:17 Steps to Be an Intake…

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Video Transcript

Should I Be an Intake Coordinator?

An intake coordinator is responsible for a variety of tasks related to patient or client registration in a variety of settings, such as healthcare or social services. These tasks might include data entry, insurance verification and paperwork maintenance. Intake coordinators also answer phones, set up appointments, process referrals and conduct patient screenings. Dealing with a variety of clients who may be nervous, rude or have limited language skills may prove to be stressful.

Career Requirements

Degree Level None generally required for positions centered on customer support, though more complex positions may require a bachelor's degree
Degree Field An industry-applicable field like nursing, human services or social services
Licensure and Certification Some clinical health specialties require healthcare licensure
Experience Around two years of experience in a medical field
Key Skills Strong verbal and written communication skills, social perceptiveness, time management skills; familiarity with accounting and billing software like QuickBooks, database software like dBASE Plus, Microsoft suite programs and medical software like NaviMedix, NaviNet and Henry Schein Dentrix software
Salary (2015) $38,103 per year (Median salary for intake coordinators)

Sources: Job postings available in January 2013, O*Net OnLine, Payscale.com (July 2015)

Intake coordinators are not necessarily required to have college degrees; however, complex positions may require bachelor's degrees in fields applicable to the industry, such as nursing, human services, or social services. Intake coordinators are expected to have strong verbal and written communication abilities, social perceptiveness, and time management skills. They should also be familiar with accounting and billing software, such as QuickBooks; database software, such as dBASE plus; Microsoft suite programs; and medical software such as NaviNet and Henry Schein Dentrix.

According to PayScale.com, the median annual salary for intake coordinators was $38,111 in 2016.

Steps to Be an Intake Coordinator

What steps do I need to take to be an intake coordinator?

Step 1: Consider Earning a Bachelor's Degree

Employers looking to fill intake coordinator positions that focus solely on customer support and clerical work typically only require a high school diploma. Coordinator roles that include more complex duties, like patient assessments or patient care provision, may require a bachelor's degree in a major relevant to the industry. For example, a coordinator in a healthcare facility might need a nursing degree, while one in the social services industry may need a degree in human services, social work or social services. A bachelor's degree program in human services might, for instance, include coursework in intervention, research methodology, foundational psychology and community health.

You will want to gain practical work experience. During college, students may have an opportunity to enroll in an internship with a local clinics, hospitals or non-profit agencies. Such opportunities can help aspiring intake coordinators determine which field they would like to work in, as well as giving students hands-on experience in the field.

It's a good idea to consider a degree, even if you don't need one. Students who are not interested in a 4-year bachelor's degree might prepare for this career by earning a certificate or associate's degree in medical office technology. A medical office technology program may include courses in medical billing and terminology, introductory psychology and office administration. It may also include an internship or cooperative-work experience, which can provide practical experience in the field.

Step 2: Get Licensed

Depending on the field one chooses to work in and an employer's specifications, an aspiring intake coordinator may need to pursue certain licenses. For example, an employer in the healthcare industry might seek an intake coordinator who was licensed as a practical or registered nurse. An intake coordinator who works in the mental health/human services field may need a mental health counseling license in order to conduct mental health assessments.

Step 3: Become Certified

While not mandatory for this job, intake coordinators can earn professional certifications to increase employability. The Professional Association of Health Care Office Management (PAHCOM) offers the Certified Medical Manager (CMM) designation. Those interested in this certification must have at least three years of health care experience and have completed a minimum of 12 credit hours in business or health care management. Each year over the 3-year minimum can be counted as one credit hour towards the educational requirement. Candidates must also pass an exam, which covers topics including communication, coding analysis, risk management, third-party reimbursement and conflict management.

Be sure to maintain your credentials. CMMs must renew certification every two years by accumulating at least 24 continuing education credits. These continuing education credits can be earned through courses, seminars or educational sessions. CMMs must check with the certification association to make sure classes are approved. Additionally, intake coordinators who are also licensed to conduct clinical tasks, like nurses or mental healthcare professionals, may be required by their state licensing boards to maintain licensure regularly through continuing education.

Intake coordinators handle administrative and customer service tasks for patient or client registrations. They may have college degrees; they must have strong communication abilities and familiarity with many industry-related software programs; and they earn a median annual salary of $38,111.


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