Medical Office Administrator: Job Description, Duties and Requirements

Working as a medical office administrator requires little formal education. Learn about the education, job duties and requirements to see if this is the right career for you.

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Essential Information

Medical office administrators, sometimes called medical secretaries or administrative assistants, perform a variety of clerical and support tasks for medical offices, doctors' offices and insurance companies. Although it is possible to work as a medical secretary without formal education, completion of a certificate or degree program related to medical office administration is recommended. Coursework in such programs includes medical vernacular and an overview of industry-specific operations, such as the basics of insurance coverage. Certification is not required, but can be helpful in a competitive job market.

Required Education None mandatory; completion of a program or coursework related to the healthcare field can provide the needed training in medical terminology and processes; on-the-job training provided with employment, though length will depend on education and experience
Certification Voluntary through the International Association of Administrative Professionals
Projected Job Growth (2012-2022) 36%*
Median Salary (2013) $31,890*

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Medical Office Administrator Job Description

In addition to doctor's offices, medical office administrators can also work for hospitals, laboratories or health departments. These professionals need to understand medical terminology and basic healthcare procedures. They are responsible for information management, medical and office supply purchases and in some cases, project management.

Duties

As part of their day-to-day tasks, medical office administrators might answer phones, schedule appointments and organize medical records. They process insurance forms, prepare reports and assist physicians with various presentations or articles. Using their knowledge of medical procedures and customer service, they record medical histories and schedule patients for hospitalization or other procedures.

Their duties include bookkeeping tasks, such as billing patients, preparing financial and tax reports and processing invoices. Medical office administrators are expected to use spreadsheet, accounting and word processing software, in addition to office equipment, which might include fax machines, credit card machines and dictation equipment.

Requirements

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), while a specific degree isn't required, medical administrative assistants generally need specialized training in medical processes. Training programs for medical office administration are plentiful and can be found at various community colleges and technical schools. Depending on their educational and career goals, students can choose from certificate, diploma and associate degree programs in this field.

In these programs, students learn about medical coding procedures, medical office transcription and administrative methods. They can study medical ethics, anatomy, computerized medical office procedures and medical terms. These programs also cover records management, bookkeeping software, correspondence and workplace relations.

Salary Info and Career Outlook

The BLS predicted employment of medical secretaries, including medical office administrators, to expand 36% from 2012-2022. The continued overall growth of the healthcare field will be the primary reason for this significantly above-average level of job growth. In May 2013, the BLS listed the median annual salary of medical secretaries, including medical office administrators, at $31,890.

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