How Do I Become a Hospital Unit Coordinator?

Explore the career requirements for hospital unit coordinators. Get the facts about salary, job duties, education requirements and job outlook to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Health Care Administration degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Hospital Unit Coordinator?

A hospital unit coordinator is also known as a medical secretary. Hospital unit coordinators perform clerical tasks, such as answering phones, answering patient queries, scheduling appointments, updating patient charts and files and filing documents. They order supplies and are responsible for basic correspondence. They may also be responsible for billing patients or checking insurance information. According to O*Net, in 2015, 37% of medical secretaries had a high school diploma or GED, 20% had a postsecondary certificate and 41% had completed some college studies. Although it is not necessary for a medical secretary to have postsecondary training, health unit coordinators benefit from knowledge of medical terminology and office procedures. Find out about the requirements for this career in the table below.

Degree Required Certificate may be preferred
Key Skills Integrity, organizational skills, communication skills
Certification Voluntary certification available from the National Association of Health Unit Coordinators
Job Growth (2014-2024) 21% increase for all medical secretaries*
Median Annual Salary (2015) $33,040 for all medical secretaries*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Does a Career as a Hospital Unit Coordinator Involve?

Hospital unit coordinators are responsible for many of the clerical duties that were once handled by nurses and other clinical professionals. This allows nurses to spend more time focusing on patients' medical needs. In this role, you may engage in a variety of administrative tasks, including ordering supplies, maintaining charts, scheduling patient exams and transcribing physicians' instructions. Unit coordinators may also be responsible for receiving new patients, directing visitors to patients' rooms and answering questions from hospital employees and visitors.

How Do I Become a Coordinator?

Many vocational schools and community colleges offer hospital unit coordinator certificate or technical training programs. These programs can usually be completed in one year or less and will introduce you to a number of health care topics, such as medical terminology, hospital organization, medical keyboarding, unit coordination skills and medical transcription. Typical technical and vocational programs of this type only require you to have a high school diploma.

Although certification isn't generally required for employment, the National Association of Health Unit Coordinators (NAHUC) offers a certification exam for its Health Unit Coordinator Certification credential. To maintain this certification, you must complete 36 hours of continuing education courses every three years. While not required, NAHUC certification is a good way for you to gain recognition in the unit coordinator field and to enhance employment opportunities.

What Is the Work Environment?

The majority of hospital unit coordinators work in hospitals. You could also find work in private doctors' offices, nursing homes or other health care facilities. Hospital unit coordinators must be able to multitask because many such duties must be executed simultaneously. Since most of your work would involve speaking on the phone and communicating with visitors and staff, you'll need good communication skills.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Receptionists and general office clerks have jobs that are comparable to the role of a health unit coordinator. They do not need postsecondary training and may work in any industry. They greet clients and may schedule appointments, answer phones, order supplies, update files and file data. Medical records and health information technicians work with medical files and are responsible for the accuracy and security of medical data. The files that health unit coordinators update may be transferred to medical records and health information technicians so that they can store the data in a way that makes it accessible and secure. They typically need a certificate or associate's degree to prepare for their career.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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