Medical Office Receptionist: Job Description, Duties and Requirements

Medical office receptionists help run, organize and maintain the front desk of a medical facility. Handling paperwork, answering phones and inputting data into a computer are typical job responsibilities for medical office receptionists. These professionals have a minimum of a high school education, but many hold a certificate or associate's degree in a discipline related to medical administration.

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Job Description of a Medical Office Receptionist

Medical office receptionists are usually the first line of communication between a patient and a doctor, whether it's on the phone or in person. They answer questions or provide general information, or may direct a patient to a person who can provide the information. Medical office receptionists are responsible for keeping, updating and maintaining records by getting the appropriate information from both patients and doctors.

Being skilled in computer software, such as spreadsheets, word processing and other programs relevant to the medical practice, is necessary for performing the required tasks. Some receptionists may also be trained in coding or billing clients and insurance companies. Medical office receptionists must have excellent communication and people skills, as well as be able to multitask and stay organized.

Job Duties of a Medical Office Receptionist

The job duties of these professionals include greeting patients when they enter a medical office, clinic or hospital. Medical office receptionists also answer telephones, and respond to and send faxes. Receptionists gather information from patients upon patients' arrival by having them fill out forms. Many times, all incoming and outgoing mail is a responsibility of a receptionist. In addition to scheduling clients for upcoming doctor visits, medical office receptionists might also receive patient payments, record them in a database and provide receipts to patients.

Job Requirements of a Medical Office Receptionist

The minimum educational requirement for becoming a medical office receptionist is a high school diploma or GED. It is common, though, for employers to hire individuals with some college background. College programs exist that offer certificates or associate's degree programs in medical receptionist training or medical administrative assistant training. Such training programs introduce students to medical terminology, office procedures, the requirements of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and other practical skills, such as how to use spreadsheets and word processing software. Some certificate and degree programs include billing and coding, and anatomy and physiology courses.

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that in May 2013, the median annual wage for receptionists and information clerks in general was $26,410. Those employed in physicians' offices received an average annual salary of $28,190 in that year (www.bls.gov). The BLS stated the five top-paying states for receptionists in 2013 were the District of Columbia, Connecticut, Alaska, Massachusetts and Connecticut, with annual salaries ranging from $30,000-$35,350. According to the BLS, receptionists should experience a 14% increase in employment for the 10-year period of 2012-2022. This anticipated growth is primarily due to the number of industries that rely on receptionists, including the medical field and health practitioners in general (www.bls.gov).

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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics