Online Programs to Be a Medical Receptionist

Find out about online medical receptionist courses and in which programs they're most commonly offered. Get course descriptions, program info and details about online requirements to make an informed decision.

Essential Information

The most common online medical receptionist programs are offered at the certificate and associate's degree levels at several community colleges and vocational schools. The official titles of these programs may vary; they can be called medical office specialist, medical administrative support, or medical administrative assistance programs. Certificate programs can take as little as three months to complete, while an associate's degree usually takes two years of full-time study. Admission requirements usually just include a high school diploma or GED and perhaps placement test scores in general education subjects.

Professional training in this field typically includes studies in office procedures, billing and coding, medical terminology, and reporting. Many programs have fully online coursework, but an internship at an approved local facility is sometimes required. In these cases, students might need to provide proof of liability insurance and immunizations.


Online certificate programs are identical to on-campus programs and can take 3-12 months to complete, depending on the curriculum, the student's enrollment status, and internship requirements. These programs provide training in basic administrative functions of a healthcare office, including reception, appointment scheduling, filing, and general assisting. Other common courses cover medical anatomy, business writing, data entry, and reporting. More in-depth programs could also include coursework in insurance coding, medical billing and reimbursements, and might offer sufficient preparation for certification exams.

Associate's Degree

An online associate's degree program typically covers the same training in medical office reception and management as certificate programs and also includes general education classes. Distance learning courses in this program usually include the following:

  • Medical terminology
  • Accounting principles
  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Keyboarding
  • Transcription
  • Business writing
  • Reimbursement
  • Medical office systems

Graduates are trained to be able to apply their knowledge to patient-healthcare provider relationships, office organization and management, information processing and records management.

Learning Environment

Online programs allow for flexibility, though assignments and exams often have completion deadlines. Students log on to virtual classrooms to view lectures, get assignments and interact with peers or instructors. Some schools offer digital versions of textbooks used in the program, while others provide a list of textbooks students need to purchase. Quizzes and final examinations could require a proctor or travel to an authorized testing center.

Online certificate and associate's degree programs for aspiring medical receptionists combine basic medical studies with technical training in essential office skills. Graduates are ready for entry-level administrative positions within healthcare institutions.

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