Would you want to put your office skills to use in a medical or health care setting? Then you’ll probably make a good medical office assistant. In the allied health care industry, there are just as many in demand jobs that won’t require you to handle patients other than make them feel comfortable when they come in for an appointment and take care of their paperwork after. Yet you are an essential part of the health team because someone has to take charge of the office work.
The Medical Office Assistant Job Description
Physicians, podiatrists, chiropractors, dentists and medical clinics have most need for the services of a medical office assistant or medical administrative assistant. Medical assisting functions vary depending on the size of your workplace.
The smaller the workplace, the more versatile you are required to be meaning you may be taking on clinical tasks aside from handling administrative or clerical chores. You can learn on the job or get formal training. Some start out as a straight medical office assistant performing front office work, but eventually find the back office work just as interesting and train for that as well.
An education, even a short-term course, will be to your advantage because many medical assistant programs teach more than just office work. You will have an overview of the medical and health care industry, including medical terminology and clinical tasks such as taking vital signs or even using the electrocardiograph (EKG), one of the simplest equipment used in diagnosis.
The kind of work required of you will determine your salary, as well as the size of your organization and location. But you can expect a medical office assistant salary range of $19,000 to $24,000 with less than a year of experience. The more skills you have, the better your chances at advancement as a medical office assistant, including becoming an office manager in the future.
Requirement For Medical Office Assistant Jobs
Having general office skills is the most essential for a medical office assistant. You can take up these courses, along with keyboarding or computer classes, and some science subjects like health, biology, physiology and anatomy as early as high school. Your position demands that you have above average skills in typing, computer work, organizing and filing because these are your primary tasks. You may also be required to do medical transcription or transfer medical charts to digital files. Bookkeeping skills are also an advantage.
You may or may not do reception work, but it is a plus if you have good communication skills. A doctor’s appointment can often be a stressful time for patients so it will be a big help to make them feel at ease before they begin their consultations.
What Training Will You Need?
Decide if you will pursue a certificate program, which can be completed between nine to 12 months, or an associate degree program that runs for two years. The former will teach you the basics about medical assisting, especially the clerical and administrative work.
You will learn office practices, transcription, insurance processing, record keeping and even medical billing and coding, patient relations, medical law and ethics. The associate program will include laboratory techniques, clinical and diagnostic procedures, pharmaceutical principles, medication administration, and first aid. Get as much experience during your internship or externship, which should give you an actual feel for the job.
Where To Get Your Degree?
You have a choice from vocational or technical schools, community colleges or colleges and universities to get your training. You may also opt for traditional classroom instruction or take online medical assistant programs. As long as they are accredited medical assistant schools and programs, you are assured of standard quality training. Accrediting bodies are the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs and the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools.
Should You Become Certified?
Though not necessarily a requirement for employment, you have an edge over the competition if you pass the national medical office assistant certification exam and become a certified medical assistant.
A medical office assistant job may start out as routine but over time and with enough experience, you may discover even bigger career opportunities including becoming a medical professional yourself.