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Medical Office Administration Schools and Programs

Overview of a Career as a Medical Office Assistant

Medical office assistants perform many tasks depending on the size of the office and the services it provides. Usually the duties are clerical and/or administrative and entail making sure the office runs efficiently. Duties include:
  • Filing and updating medical records
  • Completing insurance forms
  • Setting up lab services and hospital admissions
  • Answering phones and welcoming patients
  • Scheduling appointments
  • Dealing with mail, bookkeeping, and billing
Medical office assisting requires you to multi-task, engage politely with people all day, and be detailed-oriented. While most office medical assistants work in doctor's offices, you may also work in hospitals and facilities for inpatients, outpatients, and residential care.

The Education You'll Need for Medical Office Assisting

Although you may only need a high school diploma to become a medical office assistant, formal training can give you a leg up when it comes to employment. Many medical office assistants complete one or two years at vocational-technical high schools, or vocational, community, and junior colleges. The one-year programs provide certifications or diplomas, while the two-year programs result in associate's degrees. Traditional or online courses may include:
  • Transcription
  • Keyboarding
  • Accounting
  • Record-keeping
  • Insurance processing
Some office medical assistants go on to acquire more education in the field of nursing to expand their responsibilities and pay.

Salaries and Job Outlook for Medical Office Assistants

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job outlook is excellent for medical office assistants, particularly those with a certificate or degree. It will be one of the fastest growing occupations through 2018 due to medical technology advances, people living longer, and higher rates of chronic ailments like obesity and diabetes. Medical assistants enable physicians to see more patients. The median annual salary for medical office assistants in 2009, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, was $28,650 compared to $30,190 earned by medical secretaries. If you get the right training, you'll make a great impression that could help land you a top notch health care job.