Health Unit Coordinator Certification, Exam and Licensing Information

Health unit coordinators oversee the day-to-day operations and organization of healthcare facilities. Before individuals sit for a certification exam given by the National Association of Health Unit Coordinators, they might consider enrolling in a health unit coordinator certificate program.

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Health Unit Coordinator Certificate

Health unit coordinator certificate programs are offered through 2-year community colleges and the extension or continuing education divisions of some 4-year universities. This entry-level program provides students with an overall introduction to the healthcare industry and the specifics of the health unit coordinator position. A high school diploma or GED is all that is needed to be enrolled. Students learn how to perform all of the non-clinical tasks that are essential to the daily upkeep of a hospital or medical facility.

Prospective health unit coordinators learn to coordinate with nurses and doctors, schedule staff, manage patient intake, prepare patient charts, transcribe physician orders, maintain patient records and more. Didactic courses cover healthcare procedures, policies and management skills. Students are often required to complete a clinical externship where they gain first-hand training in an actual medical setting.

Program Coursework

While health unit coordinators perform mostly administrative work, they are required to have a solid understanding of the healthcare industry. Courses cover basic medical terminology and patient care skills in addition to specific organizational tasks in the profession. Course examples include:

  • Medical terminology
  • Legal and ethical issues in healthcare
  • Medical transcription
  • Diagnostic and therapeutic procedures
  • Patient care skills
  • Processing physicians' orders
  • Health unit coordinator procedures
  • Health unit coordinator practicum
  • Clinical externship

Employment Options and Salary Info

Health unit coordinators, which are also known as medical secretaries, can specialize in several different areas of the healthcare field, including reception, scheduling, safety protocols or patient interaction. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics ( reported that medical secretaries, including health unit coordinators, made an average annual salary of $32,670 as of May 2012.

Certification Options

Certification is available from the National Association of Health Unit Coordinators (NAHUC) and is voluntary. Individuals must pass an exam administered by a local testing agency. Health unit coordinators must retake the exam every three years in order to maintain certification.

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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics