Health Unit Coordinator: Job Duties, Career Outlook and Educational Requirements

The purpose of a health unit coordinator is to be a liaison between medical staff and patients. Health unit coordinators are often trained on the job, but can also earn a certificate from a community college or vocational school to gain important skills. Schools offering Finance and Health Care degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

Health unit coordinators are certified and trained in a range of areas, such as basic medical terminology, nursing techniques, general sciences, ethics, regulatory guidelines, and safety.

Certification Certification from the National Association of Health Unit Coordinators (NAHUC) is available, but isn't always required
Other Requirements Work experience in a medical setting, interpersonal communication skills, and administrative skills are sometimes required.
Median Salary (2018)* $34,664 per year
Projected Job Growth (2016-2026)** 22% (medical secretaries)

Sources: *Payscale.com, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

What Are the Educational Requirements?

In some cases, health unit coordinators are trained on the job; however, there are employers who prefer to hire individuals with certification or related education. Community colleges and vocational schools may offer short educational programs.

Continuing education for certification renewal may require 36 hours to be completed every three years.

What is the Employment Outlook?

According to PayScale.com, the majority of health unit coordinators earned between $23,626 and $43,054 per year as of June 2018. Health unit coordinators who later obtained higher-level roles also experienced an increase in pay. The BLS reports that the employment of health unit coordinators, or medical secretaries, will grow by 22% from 2016-2026, which is much faster than the national average.

What Are the Job Duties?

A health unit coordinator supports the daily non-nursing tasks of a health care facility to help achieve operational efficiency. They handle the processing of forms for patient admittance, discharge, and transfer. Daily duties of a health unit coordinator also include:

  • Transcribing doctors' orders
  • Charting
  • Preparing death and birth certificates
  • Ordering patient tests and special diets
  • Placing orders for necessary supplies

Health unit coordinators are usually supervised by registered nursing staff and are an important link between doctors, nurses, other departments, and the patients and their visitors. Some may choose to specialize in certain areas, such as scheduling patients, maintaining supplies, safety, reception, and clerical functions.

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