Career Information for Medical Receptionist Degree or Certification
Medical receptionist degree programs are designed to give students the clerical, communication and technological skills required for employment in health care offices. Employers typically seek job candidates with experience or formal education in the field, so earning a postsecondary degree can help individuals be more competitive on the job market. Certification is not necessary to land a job as a medical receptionist.
Job Description for a Medical Receptionist
Medical receptionists complete many of the same tasks that front-desk personnel in any field must perform. These filing and maintaining records; screening, answering and forwarding telephone calls; writing accurate messages; setting up appointments; and collecting payments. Front-office professionals should be comfortable with basic office equipment, such as copier and fax machines as well as computer software and hardware. They must also be able to communicate effectively, multitask and to take detailed notes. Customer service skills and patience under pressure are also important for this role.
In terms of job skills that are specific to the health care field, medical receptionists should have a grasp of relevant terminology for their office (for example, knowing common dental procedures in a dentist's office). They also need to be adept with insurance processing and field-specific software for managing appointments and completing invoices.
Although no formal degree is necessary to work in this field, an associate's degree program traditionally covers legal and ethical standards, current technology and an overview of medical practice operation. Because more highly trained workers will become valuable as technology improves and reliance upon it increases (see below), those with a degree may be more valuable to potential employers. Relevant 2-year program titles typically include such wording as 'medical receptionist,' 'medical assistant' or 'medical administration.'
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the employment of receptionists was expected to increase 24% in the period from 2010-2020, with the most jobs expected to be in physicians' offices, dentists' offices, and elderly care facilities. Due to technological advancements in coming years, medical receptionists will need to possess a diverse array of technical and clerical skills that are not easy to automate. Moreover, preference may be given to job candidates with a lot of experience in the field (www.bls.gov).
Medical receptionists may work in a private office or they may work in clinics, hospitals and similar settings. The BLS reports that medical receptionists were heavily concentrated in the offices of dentists, physicians and personal care companies in 2012. The hourly earnings for these professionals during this time were $15.07, $13.37 and $10.42, respectively.
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