What Does a Health Unit Coordinator Do?

Health unit coordinators work in hospitals, nursing homes, or other health facilities performing tasks that support patients, physicians, nursing staff, and other departments. Continue reading to learn more about the skills and education requirements needed to become a health unit coordinator. Schools offering Health Care Administration degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Overview of Health Unit Coordinators

Sometimes called medical secretaries, health unit coordinators (HUCs) support the medical staff at a health care facility. A HUC helps to keep the facility organized and coordinates communication between patients and medical staff. As a coordinator, you may greet and check in patients, schedule appointments and/or procedures, and perform clerical duties. Other days you might compile patients' charts, transcribe physicians' orders, and prepare birth or death certificates. Much of your work is performed under supervision of registered physicians or nurses. Other duties may include:

  • Receiving new patients
  • Collecting medical records
  • Ordering supplies
  • Coordinating patient schedules
  • Graphing vital signs readings
  • Preparing forms for admission and discharge

Important Facts About Health Unit Coordinators

On-the-Job Training Typically a few weeks
Key Skills Customer focused, time management, organized, situational awareness, critical thinking, problem solving, observational
Entry-Level Education High school diploma or equivalent
Similar Occupations Administrative assistants; medical billing specialists; office assistants; office managers; receptionists; unit secretaries

Work Environment

Your job duties and working environment will likely vary depending on your place of employment. Various health care facilities employ health unit coordinators, including hospitals, public health agencies, medical clinics, health maintenance organizations, nursing homes, long-term care facilities, government agencies, home health care agencies, and insurance companies.

Skills and Education

Most health unit coordinator positions require a mix of traditional clerical skills with knowledge of medical office operation. In addition to technical skills, you are usually required to be well-organized and able to communicate clearly. In order to learn the skills and vocabulary needed, you might consider completing a certificate program for health unit coordinators. Many schools offer certificate programs for HUCs that takes six months to a year to complete. While enrolled, you may expect to learn medical terminology and transcription as well as medical processing. Some programs also include an internship.


Once you complete a training program, you may wish to seek certification by a professional organization such as the National Association of Health Unit Coordinators, Inc. (www.nahuc.org). Though not required for work, certification may increase your job opportunities by demonstrating your professional competence. In order to qualify for the NAHUC certification exam, you must have already earned a high school diploma or GED. You must also have either completed formal training in health unit coordinating or be currently employed as a HUC.

Salary Info and Job Outlook

According to PayScale.com, most health unit coordinators earn between $22,642 and $41,959 a year, as of September 2015. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov) indicated that the employment of medical secretaries is projected to increase by about 21% between 2014 and 2024.

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