Medical Receptionist Education Requirements and Job Duties

Medical receptionists, also called medical secretaries or medical office administrators, work at hospitals, doctor's offices and other medical facilities. In addition to managing the reception desk, they greet visitors, process patient information and perform clerical tasks. They also interact with doctors, other professional staff and insurance companies.

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Education Requirements for Medical Receptionists

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the minimum education requirement for a receptionist is a high school diploma or GED, as most training occurs on the job ( However, some community colleges offer certificate or associate degree programs in medical reception or medical office technology. Courses generally cover medical terminology, office procedures and insurance information. Medical receptionist certificate programs usually take less than a year to complete, while associate degree programs can take as long as two years.

Whether or not they choose to pursue formal training as medical receptionists, those who aspire to work in this field might want to brush-up on their computer skills. Most office systems are computerized, and many medical records, in particular, are now kept electronically. Data-entry and computer classes can be taken at community colleges or adult education centers. A medical receptionist also should have well-developed communication, organizational and customer service skills.

Job Duties

Medical receptionists work at hospitals, clinics or private practices, where they manage the office schedule and maintain the organization of patient records and appointments. They also perform other front-office clerical duties, such as answering telephones and sorting through mail. Other responsibilities might include helping patients fill out medical history charts and other forms, greeting patients and explaining office procedures.

Some medical receptionists gather patient insurance information and are responsible for knowing various insurance codes. In addition, a medical receptionist might correspond with insurance companies if a payment is not received or if a service is rejected for coverage.

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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics