How to Become a Medical Office Assistant
Jan. 25, 2016
The need for medical office assistants is one of the most in-demand health care careers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), this profession is expected to grow 29 percent through 2022.
This strong demand is being fueled by the aging baby boomers and the switch to electronic health records (EHR).
Other factors fueling the need for medical office assistants are the increasing number of health care facilities that will be in need of medical office assistants for both clinical and administrative duties and federal health legislation giving consumers more access to health insurance.
At Concorde Career Colleges, we offer an accredited medical office assistant program for entry into this promising and rewarding career.
THE DUTIES AND WORK ENVIRONMENT OF MEDICAL OFFICE ASSISTANTS
Many medical office assistants perform both clinical and administrative tasks, while others may specialize in either administrative or clinical work. The duties of a medical office assistant may also vary depending on the size of the health care facility and the focus of the practice.
Typically, medical assistants take vital signs, record patient history, assist with doctor exams and schedule patient appointments. Administrative medical assistants work closely with hospital administrators, often code patient's medical data, process patient insurance claims and take care of payroll and taxes.
Some may even assist in purchasing equipment for the facility. With more doctorâs offices and other health care facilities adapting to EHRs, medical office assistants need to learn the specific EHR software that their employer uses.
Often, medical office assistants work in the front or reception area of hospitals, physician offices, and health care centers. The focus is on greeting patients and taking care of the administrative tasks surrounding treatment. It's important for medical office assistants to implement good judgment when communicating with patients and managing sensitive information.
Most medical office assistants work full time, but some work part-time evenings and on weekends.
BECOMING A MEDICAL OFFICE ASSISTANT
There are many educational options to become a medical office assistant. Those seeking to become a medical office assistant can sign up for a program at technical schools, community colleges, and vocational schools.
Often, a diploma or certificate for a medical office assistant can be earned in less than one year. Some community colleges also offer a two-year program that leads to an associate degree in this specialty. Most medical office administration schools or programs included courses in anatomy and medical terminology along with EHR software training.
The following certifications are also available:
- Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) from the National Health Career Association
- National Certified Medical Assistant (NCMA) from the National Center of Competency Testing
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