Medical Administrative Specialist: Education Requirements & Career Info

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a medical administrative specialist. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about schooling, job duties and certification to find out if this is the career for you.

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Essential Information

Medical administrative specialists, also known as medical assistants, medical secretaries or information technicians, handle the administrative duties at a medical office. In addition to the general clerical duties, such as patient scheduling and correspondence, these professionals keep records, handle insurance billing and transcribe medical reports. Formal education is not a requirement to work as a medical administrative specialist because employers typically provide training on the job. However, some employers may prefer or require a certificate or associate's degree related to medical assisting. There are also various optional certifications individuals can pursue.

Required Education On-the-job training and/or certificate or associate's degree in medical assisting
Projected Job Growth 29% from 2012-2022*
Median Salary (2013) $29,610 annually*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education Requirements for Medical Administrative Specialists

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) most medical assistants receive their training on-the-job; however, completion of an associate degree or certificate program may be required for some positions. Since these positions combine general administrative duties with clinical duties, students may consider degree and certificate programs that cover related areas.

Medical assistant and administrative medical specialist programs may include coursework in areas such as medical ethics, insurance coding, record keeping, accounting and computer skills. Additional courses in medical transcription or in a specific field, such as chiropractic care or hematology, can also be beneficial for students pursuing work in a smaller, specialized practice.

Certification

Certification exams are given by a variety of professional organizations, including the American Association of Medical Assistants, American Heart Association and National Healthcareer Association. In addition to general administrative assistant certification, specialty options also exist in assistant areas of optometry, phlebotomy or podiatry.

Career Information for Medical Administrative Specialists

Medical specialists may consider employment in health care environments, which include hospitals, care facilities and private practices. The BLS notes that roughly 561,000 medical assistants were employed in the U.S. in 2012, with an expected faster-than-average 29% employment growth from 2012-2022. This growth may be due to workers leaving this position, as well as the growing number of clinics, health care facilities and practices opening across the country.

The median annual salary was $29,610 as recently as May 2013 for this position, with insurance carriers paying the highest average wage at that time of $37,180 per year, according to the BLS.

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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

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