How Can I Become a Medical Office Manager?

Research what it takes to become a medical office manager. Learn about job duties, education requirements, licensure and certification options to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Medical Office Administration degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Medical Office Manager?

Medical office managers are responsible for supervising the administrative aspects of a medical facility. For example, they oversee staff, allocate funding and coordinate work schedules, in order to ensure that the facility as a whole runs smoothly. Medical office managers can work in a wide variety of healthcare facilities, including physician's offices, nursing homes and hospitals. At larger institutions, they may head a single department.

Take a look at the following chart for an overview of how to enter this field.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree, master's degree recommended
Education Field of Study Business administration, health science, health services administration, long-term care
Key Skills Organizational, leadership, competency with computer technology, understanding of medical language
Licensure/Certification Licensure required in nursing and assisted living facilities, certification requirements vary by state
Job Growth (2014-2024) 17% (for all medical and health services managers)*
Median Salary (2016) $48,323**

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **Payscale.com

What Kind of Work Will I Do as a Medical Office Manager?

Medical office managers may supervise the financial affairs of a smaller practice of just one or two doctors, or work as specialists in administration and planning for hospitals or healthcare facilities. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that as part of a larger management team of health care executives, medical office managers may help set policies and create business plans as part of an administration system for a hospital or large health care facility (www.bls.gov).

The duties of medical office managers and health care executives are more complex than ever, according to the BLS. Legislative regulations of insurance, billing and data storage and advances in computer and software technologies have increased the need for accuracy and security of storage and usage of medical records and other data. If you are interested in working in the field, you should have strong organizational and leadership skills, as well as competency with computer technology and an understanding of medical language.

What Education Will I Need?

According to the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE), a bachelor's degree may be sufficient for you to start at the entry level of some occupations, such as an assistant in the financial or human resources department in a hospital or physician's office. Some smaller practices may be willing to substitute experience for advanced education. Because it takes time to acquire the experience and knowledge to successfully perform the work of a healthcare or medical office manager, the ACHE recommends that earning a master's degree from an accredited program in business administration, health science, health services administration, long-term care or a similar field is the best way to begin a career in this field (www.healthmanagementcareers.org).

The BLS states that a graduate program in health management normally takes about two years to complete. Courses may include marketing, healthcare financing, healthcare policy, human resources, and other related subjects as well as a supervised internship.

The ACHE has a list of accredited health care management programs that meet the standards set by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management (CAHIIM). These have been approved as meeting professional standards for future certification and licensing (www.cahiim.org).

The Association of University Programs in Health Administration provides a list of accredited and certified undergraduate programs that are approved to provide undergraduate health administration services administration. The Commission on Healthcare Management Education (CAHME) provides information of accredited master's level programs in healthcare management. Due to heavy competition for admission to these programs, it's very important that you get very good grades from high school through college (www.cahme.org).

What Licensure or Certification Will I Need?

Most medical office and other health care services management occupations do not require licensing. The exceptions are nursing and assisted living facilities, which require administrators to be licensed in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Your school or state's department of professional regulations will be able to advise you of any certification or licensing requirements.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

A closely related career option is a job as a social or community service manager. Rather than overseeing a healthcare facility, you would play a supervisory role in a community service organization or public service program. For this job, you need a bachelor's degree in public health, social work or a similar subject. Alternatively, if you are looking to work specifically in a medical office, you could consider a career as a health information technician. These professionals use advanced software to manage medical records and organize information in databases. A postsecondary certificate is usually required for this job.

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:

  • 1. Degree Options:
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