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Certified Medical Secretary Career and Certification

Certified medical secretaries have the interpersonal skills needed to interact with patients, physicians and insurance representatives and the organizational skills and attention to detail to keep a medical office running smoothly. Read on to find out more about how to become a certified medical secretary.

What You Need to Know

Medical secretaries are also sometimes known as medical administrative assistants or medical office assistants. You will often create the first impression of the office, so you must be professional and possess communication skills. Secretaries who gain certification can expand the opportunities for employment in the field.

Occupational Outlook Work in small offices, physicians' practices, urgent care centers or hospitals
Courses Medical coding, medical administrative procedures, business communication
Certification Voluntarily available through the NHA; may provide more career opportunities

What Does a Certified Medical Secretary Do?

Responsibilities may include scheduling appointments, answering phones, processing insurance forms and coding medical procedures. Your responsibilities vary by office, and you may also manage patient records, interview job applicants and create business correspondence. You can work in a small office, for a large physicians' practice or at a hospital.

How Do I Get Certified?

Certification is not mandatory, but it could make you competitive in your job search. The National Healthcareer Association (NHA) can certify you as a Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA). To be eligible to take the CMAA exam, you must have completed a training program or have one year of experience and a high school diploma or GED (www.nhanow.com). The exam contains 100 multiple-choice questions pertaining to medical laws, office procedures and insurance procedures. Your training should also prepare you take the National Certified Medical Office Assistant exam through the National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT).

What Courses Will I Take?

Educational programs that could prepare you for certification as a medical secretary include certificate, diploma and associate's degree programs in medical administrative assisting, medical office administration and medical assisting. You may take courses in:

  • Payment reimbursement
  • Medical transcription
  • Accounting
  • Medical records management

An associate's degree program may include an internship.

Are There Any Other Certifications Available?

With a foundation in medical office procedures, you may find that a few more courses may qualify you for additional certification and possibly make you even more competitive in your field. If your administrative skills overlap with clinical skills, you may also qualify to become a Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) through the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). Your coursework in medical coding may also give you a foundation to become certified as a billing and coding specialist.