Medical Office Administrator Jobs: What Are They and How to Be One?
What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a medical office?
Physicians and nurses, right?
But who is the first person you’re most likely to meet when you go to a medical office? A front-office administrator, no doubt.
Well, these administrators are responsible for the operational efficiency of medical offices. They help ensure the provision of quality patient care services.
Continue reading for more information on medical office administrator jobs and the steps you should take to get hired.
What Does a Medical Office Administrator Do?
Medical office administrators oversee the operations of a medical office. This, though, is a broad overview of their job description. On a typical workday, they perform the following tasks:
- Supervising administrative and clerical staff, such as receptionists and medical billers and coders
- Scheduling patient appointments
- Answering client questions and responding to complaints
- Organizing and maintaining patient records
- Processing and filing insurance claims
- Overseeing the acquisition of medical office supplies, ensuring items don’t run out
- Maintaining close business relations with the medical office’s suppliers.
The job of a medical office administrator largely involves sitting behind a desk. Depending on whether the medical office offers 24-hours services, they may work regular hours or in shifts.
The role might include a little bit of travel, particularly when you’re required to accompany the office’s physicians to an industry event.
Can you handle these tasks? If yes, let’s shift our focus to qualification requirements. So what’s does it take to become a medical office administrator?
Take a Course in Medical Office Administration
Back in the day, it wasn’t uncommon to find medical office admins whose highest level of academic qualification was a high school diploma. Employers would hire high school graduates and give them extensive on-the-job training.
But that was then. Today, the position if far more specialized. Employers are looking for people with relevant professional training.
As such, the first step to becoming a medical office administrator is to pursue a medical office administration program, preferably an associate’s degree. Most colleges offer online programs, so you don’t have to worry about commuting if your schedule or finances won’t allow.
In the program, you’ll take classes in:
- Health information management
- Healthcare systems and operations
- Medical law and ethics
- Scheduling and office operations
- Financial records management.
An associate’s degree takes two years to complete, but it’s possible to find institutions that offer shorter medical office administrator programs. In this case, you’ll graduate with a diploma in medical office administration.
Develop the Right Occupational Skills
Acquiring professional knowledge is a good step, but that’s not all you need to become a competent medical office administrator. You also need to possess the right occupational abilities and skills.
For example, a good medical office admin must be a compassionate and empathetic person. Like most professions in healthcare settings, this job involves interacting with patients who might be in pain, anxious and stressed. You must be able to relate to their situations and provide services in a supportive manner.
To succeed in this role, you must have a natural passion for helping other people. Medical service administration is all about serving people. If you’re not the kind of person who loves being around other people, this job probably isn’t the right for you.
You need strong problem-solving and decision-making skills. Every day, you’ll encounter an issue that needs to be resolved quickly.
Excellent organizational skills and strong attention to detail are also must-haves. You must be able to work with a wide range of documents without making a clerical mistake.
Bear in mind medical offices are subject to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, which protects the privacy of patient information. If you’re not good at organizing and keeping accurate records, you can easily mishandle crucial information, potentially landing the medical office in trouble.
Medical office administrators aren’t required to obtain any occupational licenses. This means you’re ready to find a job as soon as you complete your professional training.
Physician’s offices are the primary employers of medical office admins, but you can also look for a job in dental clinics, mental health centers, and even rehabilitation facilities.
Now, although you can start off as a medical office administrator right away, this isn’t the typical career path for most people. You’ll most likely start out in an entry-level position, such as medical billing and coding, then work your way up as you gain more medical office experience.
Pursue Professional Certifications to Enhance Your Prospects
The healthcare industry is booming. The Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts an addition of 1.9 million jobs over the next decade. More medical offices will set up shop throughout this period.
As an aspiring medical office admin, it’s vital to take additional steps that will make you a compelling candidate. An ideal step is to pursue professional certification.
The Practice Management Institute, for instance, offers the Certified Medical Office Manager credential, which you can pursue to enhance your leadership and problem-solving skills in a medical office. With this credential, you’ll easily stand out from the crowd.
Life Beyond Medical Office Administration
Do you want to be a medical office admin forever? Likely not. You want to climb the career ladder.
But what’s next after medical office administration?
If you’re ambitious enough, you could go back to college and pursue an advanced program in healthcare administration. After completion, you can be hired as a hospital manager.
Alternatively, you can set up a medical office management business that provides consulting and other specialized administrative services to medical offices.
Medical Office Administrator Jobs: The Path Is Clear
Medical office administrator jobs are richly rewarding, especially if you like helping people and would love to work in healthcare settings. This article has fleshed out the duties and responsibilities of these professionals, as well as the path you need to take to get hired.
All the best and keep reading our blog for more career and workplace tips.