Medical Office Assisting

Read about the responsibilities of medical office assistants and how they keep doctors' offices, hospitals and clinics running smoothly. Find out how much you can earn in this fast-growing field, as well as what types of formal education programs can help you prepare for a position.

Is Medical Office Assisting Right For Me?

Career Overview

Medical office assistants, sometimes called medical secretaries, are responsible for greeting patients, answering phones and scheduling appointments. Your daily administrative duties may also include filing insurance claims and handling billing, which can often mean seeking out past-due payments from patients.

Medical office assistants are typically the first people patients speak to when they call or visit a medical practice. So, if you're interested in medical assisting, you should be personable and enjoy interacting with others. You'll most likely work a regular 40-hour workweek, though some assistants might work part-time hours, coming in only in the evenings or on weekends.

Employment and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of medical assistants was expected to grow by 29% nationwide from 2012-2022. As of May 2013, medical assistants earned an average of $30,780 a year (www.bls.gov).

How Do I Become a Medical Office Assistant?

Education

While many medical office assistants gain their training on the job, a number of colleges and vocational schools offer educational programs in medical assisting that range from certificates or diplomas to 2-year associate's degrees. Courses may include instruction in medical insurance and coding, medical office computing, record maintenance and bookkeeping. Many of these programs offer training in both the administrative and clinical side of medical assisting. Clinical coursework may include classes in human anatomy, physiology, clinical procedures and pharmacology.

Certification

Although not required, graduates of accredited medical assisting programs can obtain certification from one of several professional medical organizations. These include the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) and Association of Medical Technologists (AMT).

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