Associate Degree in Medical Office Administration Program Guide

April 19, 2021

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Graduates with an associate degree in medical office administration can become medical secretaries or administrative assistants. An associate program introduces students to field-specific skills, such as medical terminology, health records management, and insurance coding.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 10% job growth for medical secretaries and administrative assistants between 2019 and 2029.

The following guide explores how to launch your career through an associate degree in medical office administration.

Should I Get an Associate Degree in Medical Office Administration?

Associate degree-holders are well-versed in the terminology and technology required for immediate entry-level employment.

While most employers accept a high school diploma for administrative positions, they prefer candidates with an associate degree in medical office administration. Associate degree-holders are well-versed in the terminology and technology required for immediate entry-level employment, whereas candidates without a degree often require extensive on-the-job training.

A typical associate degree takes two years to complete; however, many online associate degrees in medical office administration help students graduate faster to launch their career. As a vocational program, this associate degree focuses on preparing students for administrative work at a clinical practice, physician's office, or hospital.

Students may continue their education and training beyond an associate degree to advance their career. Graduates often pursue further education in fields, such as medical records technology, medical assisting, and medical transcription, all of which require an undergraduate certificate or associate degree.

Graduates may also pursue a bachelor's degree in a field like medical technology to become a clinical laboratory technologist or technician. Alternatively, students could eventually pursue their own career as a practitioner with a bachelor's in recreational therapy, nutrition, or registered nursing.

Check out the Best Online Associate in Medical Office Administration Programs

What Will I Learn in a Medical Office Administration Associate Program?

Most schools offer an associate of science (AS) or an associate of applied science (AAS) in medical office administration. An AS degree includes a liberal arts core component in addition to a vocational curriculum, while an AAS offers strictly career-oriented coursework.

Beyond slight differences in the curriculum, both programs build critical skills in medical terminology, ethics and professionalism, and patient privacy. Core coursework includes keyboarding, insurance claims processing, and pharmacology coding.

Some programs require an internship or final research project, while others may simply encourage students to seek out their own field experience. Most on-campus and online associate degrees in medical office administration require an introductory course in anatomy and physiology.

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What Can I Do With an Associate Degree in Medical Office Administration?

Graduates with an associate in medical office administration can go far in this field. Many associate degree-holders pursue entry-level administrative positions in medical offices to gain experience toward a managerial role. Job responsibilities of medical office administrators vary depending on the size of the staff and the type of services provided.

Associate degree-holders may also obtain a certificate or degree in a specialization like medical billing and coding or health information technology. Though rarely required, some employers prefer candidates with professional credentials, such as the CMAA, or certified medical administrative assistant certification.

Graduates with an associate degree in medical office administration may go on to pursue a bachelor's in healthcare administration or management, health informatics, or health science, qualifying them for entry-level careers in any of these fields.

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How Much Money Can I Make With an Associate Degree in Medical Office Administration?

Professionals with an associate degree in medical office administration can earn a mean annual wage of $38,090 working as medical secretary and administrative assistants. Dental office administrators tend to earn more, with an average annual salary of $41,620. With a bachelor's degree in health administration, health management, or a related field, candidates can earn more than $100,000 per year as medical or health services managers.

Frequently Asked Questions About Associate in Medical Office Administration Programs

What is an associate in medical office administration?

An associate degree in medical office administration prepares students for jobs as secretaries and administrative assistants in physicians' offices, clinics, and hospitals. The program introduces students to medical terminology, patient privacy laws, insurance coding, and medical records management.

How much does it cost to get an associate degree in medical office administration?

The College Board calculates the average tuition at a public two-year college at $3,440 for in-district students. Out-of-district and out-of-state students often pay more.

Is an associate in medical office administration worth it?

An associate in medical office administration can provide a sensible first step in launching your career as an office professional. The degree exceeds entry-level education requirements for aspiring administrative workers in a medical office and prepares them for immediate employment after graduation.

What can you do with an associate degree in medical office administration?

Graduates with an associate degree in medical office administration can become secretaries or administrative assistants in a physician's office, medical practice, clinic, or hospital. They may also continue their studies on the path toward becoming a health records technician, a medical billing and coding specialist, or a medical office manager.

What's the difference between an associate degree in medical assisting and an associate degree in medical office administration?

An associate degree in medical assisting prepares students to perform clinical duties to assist medical practitioners along with administrative tasks. An associate degree in medical office administration does not include clinical job responsibilities.

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