Medical office assistants perform administrative duties under the direction of a physician. They may be responsible for scheduling appointments, billing patients, and maintaining medical records. Medical office assistant training is designed to furnish the knowledge and skills students need to work as administrative staff in the healthcare industry. If you would like to play a vital support role in the world of healthcare by helping medical offices run smoothly, considering enrolling in a medical office assistant certification program.
Medical Office Assistant Training Curriculum
There are no universal medical office training requirements for medical office assistants in most states, though many employers prefer hiring candidates who have formal postsecondary education. Medical office programs are available at technical schools, community colleges, and vocational schools. It takes about one year to earn a certificate, and some community colleges offer two-year programs that lead to an associate’s degree.
Medical office assistant schools equip students with the relevant experience and skills needed to become qualified candidates for medical office assistant jobs. Courses that students might be required to take include the following:
- Medical billing practices
- Electronic Health Record (EHR) management
- Medical office practice
- Patient scheduling and billing
- Pharmaceutical terminology
- Computer applications
- Medical law and ethics
- Medical terminology
- Medical transcription
- Basic principles of accounting
Students may also be required to complete a practicum so that they can gain practical experience in the field before graduation. Once they complete a training program, medical assistants can seek an industry certification.
There are several industry certifications offered for medical assistants, including Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) from the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA), Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) from American Medical Technologists, and National Certified Medical Assistant (NCMA) from the National Center for Competency Testing. While most certifications do not have formal education requirements, to be eligible for the CMA certification, you must have completed an accredited postsecondary medical assisting program.
Job Opportunities After Medical Office Training
Medical assistants work in the offices of physicians, chiropractors, and other healthcare practitioners, as well as in clinics, hospitals, home health agencies, and long-term healthcare facilities. Their duties vary depending on location, specialty, and size of the practice, but typical responsibilities include scheduling patient appointments, maintaining files and patient records, using EHR software, filling out insurance forms, and buying and storing supplies and equipment for the office. Other potential jobs for graduates of medical office assistant programs include front office assistant manager, back office lab assistant, and back office assistant manager.
In the coming decade, medical assistants will be hired to perform routine clerical tasks in order to free-up physicians, as well as cut costs by replacing nursing positions. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the employment of medical assistants is expected to increase by 31% from 2010 to 2020, much faster than average for all occupations. The rise in medical assistants is projected largely due to the aging baby boomer population. In 2012, medical office assistants earned a median annual wage of $29,370.
If you are detail-oriented and have strong analytical, interpersonal, and technical skills, consider becoming a medical office assistant. Medical office assistants help healthcare facilities run smoothly and form a vital link between doctors and their patients. If you would like to build a healthcare career in as little as a year, find a medical office assistant certification program today!
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