As the nation's largest generation begins to retire, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 29% growth rate from 2016 to 2026 for medical assistants. Individuals interested in a career in medical office administration should take advantage of the increase in medical jobs and their subsequent higher earnings.

Colleges for medical office administration will prepare you for several careers, such as a medical office administrator, medical secretary, or medical administrative assistant. These professionals are responsible for the supportive and clerical duties in medical offices, hospitals, and clinics. To earn this certification, students must be at least 18-years-old and have a high school diploma or GED. Students interested in medical office administration can find degree options at the certificate, associate, undergraduate, and graduate levels.

How to Choose the Right Certificate in Medical Office Administration Program

Most medical office administration programs consist of 18-20 credits. Full-time students typically complete the program within two semesters. When selecting a program, it may be helpful to see which schools offer accelerated or part-time programs. Part-time enrollment is ideal for students with family or work obligations. Online formats are excellent options for students who cannot attend classes on campus. Online degrees in medical office administration are often available asynchronously. Accelerated programs are commonly available in an online format. These programs often follow the same curriculum as regular enrollment, but courses move at a quicker pace.

One of the most important things to consider about your future program is accreditation status. Accreditation means a program or college meets a standard of education accepted by employers and other accredited schools. While classwork will vary by school, all accredited certification programs have similar curricula and include foundational classes, such as keyboarding, medical legal issues, medical terminology, and administrative tasks. Cost and other associated fees are another factor to consider. Tuition rates are most affordable from in-state, public schools, though some medical administration online programs offer in-state tuition to out-of-state students.

Employment and Salary Outlook for Certificate in Medical Office Administration Graduates

While it is possible to work as a medical office administrator without official certification, professionals with CPA recognition are more competitive on the job market. Salaries may vary depending on the state and need for medical healthcare professionals. It may be beneficial to research the average salary of medical office administrators in your state. The table below details the average salary of professionals in various stages of their careers.

Median Salary by Years Experience
Position Entry-Level Employees (0-5 years) Mid-Career Employees (5-10 years) Experienced Employees (10-20 years) Late-Career Employees (20+ years)
Medical Assistant $28,000 $31,000 $33,000 $35,000
Medical Secretary $29,000 $32,000 $33,000 $34,000
Medical Office Administrator $30,000 $36,000 $49,000 $60,000

Career Opportunities

Earning a certification in medical office administration opens doors to multiple career opportunities in administration. By completing a medically specific certification program, you can work in medical facilities, including doctors offices, clinics, and hospitals. As the nation's population continues to age, more healthcare facilities will need employees to complete both administrative and minor clinical tasks. Employees in this field should be comfortable working in stressful environments both independently and as part of a team.

Administrative Assistant

Administrative workers provide support to a company or office. Work includes general office management, speaking with patients and clients, assisting hospital staff, maintaining records, and entering data. Administrative assistants are also responsible for booking appointments and maintaining schedules.

Medical Office Assistant

Like administrative assistants, medical office assistants are responsible for administrative tasks, such as maintaining records, entering data, creating and managing schedules, and booking appointments. Medical office assistants manage patient records, arrange medical procedures, and work with insurance companies.

Medical Receptionist

Medical receptionists are the face of a clinic, hospital, or other medical facility and often the first point of contact between a patient and the facility. These professionals schedule appointments, maintain clinical and office records, and handle billing.

Front Desk Receptionist, Medical Office

Like medical receptionists, front desk receptionists are responsible for communication between patients and the hospital. Receptionists schedule patients, answer and route calls, and make financial transactions.

Medical Records/Health Information Technician

Medical records technicians process, compile, and maintain patient medical records. These technicians are responsible for completing tasks in an ethical and legal manner.

Accreditation for Medical Office Administration Programs

Accreditation is awarded on national, regional, and programmatic levels. National accreditation is typically given to vocational, trade, or two-year schools, while regional accreditation is awarded more commonly to four-year colleges. Regional accreditation follows a stricter standard of education and is often considered more prestigious. Programmatic accreditation is a guarantee that a program meets educational standards. There are many medical office administration certification programs offered at accredited institutions. Programs in this field are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education.

Medical Office Administration Certificate Program Admissions

There are many parts to college applications, such as essays and letters of recommendation. While most students begin thinking of college early in high school, applications are typically submitted during a student's junior year. Applying to an on-campus program is usually simpler than an online program. Online applications often require proof of employment and additional information not required for an on-campus school.

Admission Materials

  • Application: Applications ask for basic information. You are required to disclose previously attended institutions, your GPA, and test scores.
  • Transcripts: Transcripts are academic records of your GPA and educational accomplishments. Certification programs require applicants to submit transcripts after passing all required certification examinations.
  • Application Fee: Application fees are typically $50. These fees are nonrefundable and go towards the processing of your application.

What Else Can I Expect From a Certificate in Medical Office Administration Program?

Core Courses in a Medical Office Administration Certificate Program

While specific coursework may vary by school, you can expect the same fundamental coursework in most curriculums. All accredited schools will require a standard of coursework. The classes outlined below can be expected in any medical office administration certification program.

  • Medical Terminology: This class covers medical language and the basics of medical vocabulary in areas like pathology, anatomy, and physiology. Coursework covers the suffixes, prefixes, and root words used in medical language.
  • Medical Legal Issues: These courses cover the legal and moral issues faced by healthcare personnel, such as medical office liability and doctor-patient confidentiality. Students learn the relationship between law and medical ethics.
  • Keyboarding: Due to the high volume of typing, students learn the best techniques for efficiently using the the keyboard, including the use of special keys and touch typing. Students learn the basics of medical document creation as well as typing speed and accuracy.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Certificate in Medical Office Administration?

Full-time students are able to complete the required 18-20 credit hours within two semesters, while part-time students may take up to four semesters. Many schools, both online and on campus offer accelerated certification programs, meaning coursework is delivered at an intensive rate and may be completed in as little as one semester. It is also an option to enroll in additional credits, though doing so often costs more. While certification programs do not often require final projects or practicums, it is important to determine if your chosen program will call for additional time and outside work experience prior to graduation.

How Much Is a Certificate in Medical Office Administration?

A one-year certification program can cost anywhere from $2,500 to $10,000. The cost of a program will vary by school and state. Public institutions typically cost less than private colleges. Most online and on-campus programs cost the same. Online, out-of-state programs usually charge in-state tuition. Students should also consider additional fees and required course materials, such as textbooks. After completing your certification program, you will need to pass the certified medical assistant exam. This examination is issued by the American Association of Medical Assistants. Members pay $95 to register, and nonmembers pay $175.

Professional Organizations in Medical Office Administration

Professional associations and organizations are groups dedicated to furthering a particular profession. These organizations provide members with continued education opportunities, networking events, and relevant research. Recent graduates can benefit from networking events and job placement assistance.