Medical Office Technology Jobs: Career and Salary Facts

Medical office technology jobs often involve health information management and secretarial work. Learn about potential career paths, employment outlook and salary information. Schools offering Electronic Medical Records degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Are Medical Office Technology Jobs?

One of the most common medical office technology jobs is that of a medical records and health information technician. These professionals are responsible for the documentation and management of patients' health information, often using electronic health records. They also protect the security of sensitive medical records in order to maintain patients' privacy. Specialized occupations within this field include medical coders and registrars.

Another option in this field is a job as a medical secretary. These professionals greet patients, sign them in, answer phone calls and organize appointments. They may also be involved in medical billing procedures.

A third option is a job as a medical transcriptionist. Transcriptionists use specialized software to transcribe and edit dictated health records, making sure the final report is accurate and free of errors. They are also responsible for entering patient information into electronic health records systems. You can learn some quick details about these careers in the table below:

Health Information TechnicianMedical SecretaryMedical Transcriptionist
Degree Required Certificate or Associate'sCertificate or Associate's degreeCertificate
Education Field of Study Health information technologyMedical office managementMedical Transcription
Key Responsibilities Calculate bills for doctor and physician services, keep and update patient records, contact insurance companiesSchedule appointments, interact with patients, keep track of recordsListen to reports recorded by doctors and health professionals, transcribe reports into written text on the computer
Licensure Requirements Certification available through AHIMANot requiredNot required
Job Growth (2014-2024)* 15% 21%-3%
Median Salary (2015)* $37,110 $33,040$34,890

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What's My Role as a Medical Billing Clerk?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that medical billing clerks, also known as medical records clerks, are now usually called health information technicians. In this role, you're responsible for calculating the bills for the physicians' or facility's services. You check the bill for the correct medical diagnosis and treatment codes as well as the amount billed. You also enter patient information into computers, update records and ensure the security of records and other sensitive data.

As a health information clerk, you verify the patient's correct insurance billing information, either in writing or over the phone. You frequently enter new or updated information into the computer, so accuracy and good keyboarding skills are important in this occupation.

Many health information technicians are certified through the American Health Information Management Association. You may wish to earn a certificate or associate degree program in medical office management or health information technology. Courses usually include anatomy and physiology, medical office management, medical terminology, medical billing and reimbursement procedures, database technology, medical coding and patient record security.

What Is My Job and Salary Outlook?

The BLS reported that most health information technicians, including medical billers, had median annual wages of $37,110 as of May 2015. Job growth for these professionals is projected to increase about 15% between 2014 and 2024.

How Can I Become a Medical Secretary or Receptionist?

Receptionists typically sit at the front of a medical office and greet patients in person and on the phone. Once hired, you schedule appointments and type letters, doctors' notes and reports as needed. Secretaries may provide services to one division or physician in particular. Depending on the size of the office or practice, the duties of receptionists and secretaries may overlap. In some smaller offices, medical secretaries may also perform insurance verification, billing, payment posting and other accounting tasks.

In addition to good typing, spelling, grammar and speaking skills, medical you should have strong interpersonal skills. You need to understand insurance regulations and clinical procedures as well as medical terminology. Many community and other colleges offer programs in medical office management, leading to either a certificate or 2-year associate degree.

What's My Potential Salary and Job Outlook?

The BLS stated that jobs for medical secretaries and receptionists are expected to increase by 21% from 2014-2024, especially for those with billing, coding and good computer skills. The median annual wages for medical secretaries in May 2015 were $33,040.

What Would I Do as a Medical Transcriptionist?

As a medical transcriptionist, you wear a headset and listen to reports and other information recorded orally by doctors and other health professionals, then type the data into a computer. You produce medical reports, patient histories and doctors' notes, often editing for grammar and punctuation as well as checking for accuracy. You then return the transcribed information to the doctor for approval and signature before the documents are added to a patient's medical file.

Most medical transcriptionists work in hospitals or clinics. In some small or private offices, medical secretaries may perform the job of transcribing in addition to other tasks, such as billing, assisting with patients or scheduling appointments. However, many transcriptionists also work from home as independent contractors.

Employers may prefer candidates who have completed training offered by many community colleges and other post-secondary and vocational schools. To compete for an open position, you need to know anatomy and physiology, patient assessment methods, common treatments and medical terminology. You must also have strong keyboarding skills and must often meet a minimum word-per-minute score on a typing test.

What Could I Earn?

According to the BLS, jobs for transcriptionists will decline 3% from 2014 to 2024, though job opportunities might be better for those who are trained to manage electronic health records or perform quality assessments. The median hourly wage for these professionals as of May 2015 was $16.77 per hour, or $34,890 annually, with the middle range earning between $13.37 and $20.53 per hour.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

A closely related option is a job as a medical assistant. In addition to performing secretarial duties like individuals in medical office technology jobs, they also provide basic clinical care. In order to get this job, it is typically necessary to complete a postsecondary certificate program. Alternatively, secretaries can find jobs in non-medical settings, such as law offices or private businesses.

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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