As the baby boomer population ages, medical administrative careers are expected to grow as much as 23% by 2024. Now is an excellent time to pursue a career in medical office administration and take advantage of the healthcare industry's upward trends in employment and annual earnings. This guide will help you navigate curriculum requirements and career paths so you can choose the best medical office administration certificate program for you.
What are the best medical office administration programs of 2020? Here are our top 10:
|1||Lenoir Community College||Kinston, NC|
|2||Craven Community College||New Bern, NC|
|3||Gaston College||Dallas, NC|
|4||Wayne Community College||Goldsboro, NC|
|5||Wake Technical Community College||Raleigh, NC|
|6||Surry Community College||Dobson, NC|
|7||Vance-Granville Community College||Henderson, NC|
|8||Randolph Community College||Asheboro, NC|
|9||Pitt Community College||Winterville, NC|
|10||Fayetteville Technical Community College||Fayetteville, NC|
What Else Can I Expect From an Online Certificate in Medical Office Administration Program?
Curriculum for an Online Certificate in Medical Office Administration
Although courses vary by school, most medical office administration certificate programs require the following core courses. These courses teach skills crucial for careers in medical office administration, such as typing skills and familiarity with medical terminology.
- Keyboarding: Students learn the most efficient keyboarding techniques, including touch typing and use of special keys. Students gain skills in medical document typing with an emphasis on speed and accuracy. Keyboarding skills are necessary for positions as medical receptionists and medical transcriptionists.
- Medical legal issues: This course explores moral and legal issues that impact healthcare personnel, such as patient confidentiality and medical office liability. Students examine the relationship between ethics and the law and explore acceptable ethical behavior in medical environments, preparing for careers as medical bookkeepers and schedulers.
- Medical terminology: This course explores the language of medicine and introduces students to medical vocabulary in areas such as anatomy, physiology, and pathology. Students learn the prefixes, suffixes, and root words used in medical language, important knowledge for health information associates and medical review assistants.
How Long Does it Take to get an Online Certificate in Medical Office Administration?
An online medical office administration certificate typically requires 18 to 20 credits, which full-time students complete in two semesters. Part-time students who take one course per semester complete the program in approximately three years. An online diploma in medical office administration requires 40 to 50 credits, depending on the program. The student's prior experience and prerequisite requirements also influence completion time.
Online certificate or diploma in medical office administration programs may be individually paced or cohort-based. Individually paced programs allow students to work independently. This flexible approach to learning is popular among online programs and emphasizes convenience and self-motivation. Cohort learning takes a community approach; students enter and progress through a program together, emphasizing group collaboration.
WHAT ARE THE BEST ONLINE CERTIFICATE IN MEDICAL OFFICE ADMINISTRATION
Lenoir Community College
|Kinston, NC||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 19%||
Based in Kinston, North Carolina, Lenoir Community College champions affordable and career-focused education. The school offers a 15-credit, fully online medical coding, billing, and insurance certificate that teaches students the administrative and financial management skills needed to work in hospitals, nursing homes, and clinics.
This program covers the terminology and vocabulary that professionals encounter in various medical office settings. Candidates also learn about the fundamentals of medical billing, procedural coding (with an emphasis on CPT and HCPCS coding systems), and diagnostic coding.
Applicants can complete an online application and submit official school transcripts. Students must undergo placement assessment and demonstrate general education competencies. LCC provides a variety of financial aid.
Craven Community College
|New Bern, NC||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 29%||
Craven Community College traces its history back to the early 1960s. Today, the institution enrolls over 3,000 students in academic and technical programs, including certificates in medical office administration. Candidates can complete a fully remote curriculum through Moodle or create a hybrid learning experience by taking some classes at the school's campus in New Bern, North Carolina.
Certificate students may enroll in a 14-credit general medical office or 15-credit medical billing and coding track. They can also pursue an 18-credit patient service representative certificate to learn about healthcare customer relations and office editing.
Craven maintains an open-door admission policy that welcomes any applicant with a high school diploma or the equivalent. The college offers low tuition prices based on residency status.
|Dallas, NC||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 31%||
With a student population of over 5,300 individuals, Gaston College is one of the largest community colleges in North Carolina. The institution maintains three campuses and delivers remote learning opportunities through Blackboard. Candidates can enroll in an online medical office administration certificate program to learn the computer and management skills necessary for entry-level work.
To earn this certificate in medical office administration, students complete courses in comprehensive keyboarding and medical terminology. They also examine insurance and billing, with a focus on third-party payers and form preparation. Additionally, the program includes a medical legal issues class that covers the legal requirements for practice; liability concerns; and the relationships between provider, patient, and office personnel.
Applicants must complete a residency determination form and an online application. They should also submit official school transcripts and apply for financial aid.
Wayne Community College
|Goldsboro, NC||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 26%||
Wayne Community College — located in Goldsboro, North Carolina — enrolls about 3,200 students each year. In addition to affordable campus-based programs, learners can pursue remote options like online medical office administration certificates. These programs train candidates to schedule appointments and complete insurance claims.
WCC offers a general certificate in medical office administration and specialized tracks for medical scribing and medical insurance. Additionally, students may enroll in a 17-credit dental office administration program and learn billing/coding procedures and terminology specific to the dental field.
Applicants need a high school diploma or GED certificate. Depending on their target program, candidates may need to take a reading placement test. WCC offers federal funding, flexible payment options, and institutional scholarships.
Wake Technical Community College
|Raleigh, NC||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 18%||
Wake Technical Community College supports more than 74,000 students across six campuses and multiple training sites, making it the largest community college in North Carolina. The school delivers distance education through Blackboard, with program options like an online medical office professional certificate. This 18-credit course of study prepares graduates for entry-level employment.
Like other certificate in medical office administration programs, this pathway helps students develop practical text entry and spreadsheet formatting competencies. Distance learners also take two classes in medical office terminology. They round out their training by completing a simulation, using accumulated knowledge to solve daily challenges as an office administrator.
Applicants complete a residency determination interview and online admission form before submitting school transcripts. Wake Tech offers loans, grants, and scholarships.
Surry Community College
|Dobson, NC||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 30%||
Surry Community College offers accessible academic programs to diverse students, including online credentials like a 17-credit certificate in medical office administration. Students can choose a generalist curriculum or follow a medical billing and insurance track.
Required coursework includes keyboarding, office editing, and medical terminology. Candidates who pursue the medical billing and insurance certificate also develop procedure and diagnostic coding skills. For students who want to extend their education, SCC offers a 44-credit diploma and a 120-credit bachelor's degree in medical office administration.
In addition to low tuition, distance learners benefit from a variety of financial aid opportunities, such as Finish Line Grants for students facing personal hardships. SCC also provides career coaching services that help candidates build their resumes and prepare for interviews.
Vance-Granville Community College
|Henderson, NC||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 43%||
Vance-Granville Community College operates within the 58-school North Carolina Community College System. The institution delivers distance education through Moodle and offers three options for students who want to earn a certificate in medical office administration.
The level one certificate program helps candidates develop a strong foundation in medical language and office procedures. Students who enroll in the level two program hone advanced skills for customer service with an emphasis on workplace ethics and healthcare laws. VGCC also provides a medical coding specialist certificate that prepares candidates to oversee information systems in hospitals, insurance companies, and laboratories.
Coursework overlaps with the associate degree plan, allowing certificate holders to easily complete their two-year credentials later on, if they want to. VGCC operates an open-door admission policy that only requires students to complete an online form and apply for financial aid.
Randolph Community College
|Asheboro, NC||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 42%||
Randolph Community College maintains a flagship campus in Asheboro, North Carolina, and serves about 2,800 students annually. The school's academic catalog contains an online certificate in medical office administration that prepares graduates for entry-level support positions. Graduates can also pursue associate and/or bachelor's degrees. Distance learners can complete a fully remote curriculum or take some day and evening classes for a hybrid experience.
The 18-credit certificate program contains classes like medical terminology, legal issues, and insurance and billing procedures. Students cultivate practical skills for daily office tasks, including phone etiquette and inventory control. They also learn to use and maintain office equipment like printers and fax machines.
Prospective learners complete an online application and — depending on their enrollment status — take a placement exam. Through Moodle, RCC also offers an online medical office administration diploma program that includes 36 credits of coursework.
Pitt Community College
|Winterville, NC||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 22%||
Pitt Community College delivers affordable academic programs and technical training that prepares graduates for career success, baccalaureate transfer, and global engagement. The school's catalog contains an online medical office administration certificate program. Through a flexible curriculum, candidates gain the skills needed to work as billing specialists and patient access representatives.
To earn a certificate in medical office administration, distance learners complete classes like office software applications and electronic health records. They also delve into advanced coding methodologies for insurance claims and patient updates with regard to HIPAA regulations. The program ends with a simulation experience that tasks students with applying learned skills to solve practical problems.
PCC maintains fall, spring, and summer entry dates. All applicants must complete a residency determination request to discern their tuition status. The college funds ample scholarship programs, including awards for students with interest in high-need occupations.
Fayetteville Technical Community College
|Fayetteville, NC||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 20%||
Fayetteville Technical Community College serves over 11,500 students, many of whom obtain their credentials remotely through Blackboard. Learners can earn certificates in medical office administration that prepare them for careers in medical offices, hospitals, and insurance companies. Students who complete a certificate program earn credits that can be applied toward an associate degree.
FTCC offers certificates for electronic billing, medical coding, and dental office specialist. Students can also earn a patient service representative certificate by completing coursework in medical legal issues and terminology. These certificate tracks include 17 credits, which most candidates finish in two semesters.
First-time students need a high school diploma or GED certificate. After completing an online application, candidates take a placement exam and apply for financial aid. The FTCC Foundation funds a variety of scholarships and grants.
What Can I Do With a Medical Office Administration Diploma?
Medical office administration certificate and diploma programs feature similar courses; however, a diploma program provides more in-depth training and typically requires twice as many credits. While diploma programs equip students with a greater breadth of knowledge, they take longer to complete and are more expensive than certificate programs. Below are potential career paths for graduates with a diploma in medical office administration.
Career Paths for Medical Office Administration Certificate Holders
Graduates with a diploma in medical office administration pursue healthcare roles such as health information technician or medical transcriptionist. Graduates work in hospitals, clinics, and community agencies, and work hours may follow a clinic's business hours or may include night and weekend shifts at hospitals. Successful medical office administrators possess strong communication and customer service skills, organizational skills, and integrity.
- Medical assistants
Medical assistants record patient histories and personal information, schedule appointments, enter patient information into medical records, and gather insurance information.
Median Annual Salary: $31,540
Projected Growth Rate: 23%
- Medical bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks
Medical bookkeepers use booking software, online spreadsheets, and databases to record a medical facility's transactions. They prepare bank deposits, handle payrolls, prepare invoices, keep track of overdue accounts, and purchase office supplies.
Median Annual Salary: $38,390
Projected Growth Rate: -8%
- Medical records and health information technicians
These healthcare professionals collect patient data and perform clinical coding. They work closely with nurses to ensure the accuracy of patient records and frequently correspond with billing and insurance offices.
Median Annual Salary: $38,040
Projected Growth Rate: 15%
- Medical secretaries and administrative assistants
Medical secretaries ensure that offices operate smoothly. They answer phones, take messages, and schedule appointments. They also arrange for patient hospitalization and may prepare reports for physicians or medical scientists.
Median Annual Salary: $37,230
Projected Growth Rate: 3%
- Medical transcriptionists
Also known as healthcare documentation specialists, medical transcriptionists transcribe recorded dictation from doctors and other healthcare personnel. They are familiar with medical terminology and are able to identify inconsistencies or missing information in patient reports.
Median Annual Salary: $35,720
Projected Growth Rate: -3%
Certificate in Medical Office Administration Salary
Occupational setting and location, educational level, and work experience influence the annual earnings of medical office administrators. According to PayScale, medical office administrators can expect pay increases of up to $30,000 over a 20-year career. The following table highlights salary trends for common medical office administration occupations.
|Job Title||Overall Median Salary||Median Salary for Entry-Level Employees (0-5 years)||Median Salary for Mid-Career Employees (5-10 years)||Median Salary for Late-Career Employees (20+ years)|
|Medical billing clerk||$34,006||$28,000||$30,000||$32,000|
|Medical office administrator||$46,515||$30,000||$36,000||$60,000|
|Bookkeeper (medical or dental office)||$53,039||$36,000||$39,000||$42,000|
Accreditation for Certificate and Diploma Programs
Accrediting bodies regulate the quality of education in the U.S. by enforcing guidelines based on national standards. Accredited medical office admin certificate or diploma programs are typically offered through four-year universities and vocational schools. The most common types of accreditation are regional and national; more than 85% of U.S. universities are regionally accredited. Credits earned from regionally accredited programs are more likely to transfer than those earned from nationally accredited schools. However, nationally accredited programs typically have lower tuition rates and less stringent admissions criteria. While medical office administration certificate and diploma programs are not governed by program-specific accrediting agencies, students may look for accreditation from the Distance Education Accrediting Commission, which assures the quality of online learning programs.
Financing Your Online Certificate in Medical Office Administration Program
Certification in medical office administration is an affordable option for beginning a career in healthcare. Numerous financial aid opportunities exist to further offset the cost of education, including grants and scholarships and federal and private loans. Students pursuing certification in medical office administration should also seek out scholarships awarded specifically to health administration students. Students should complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, to determine their eligibility for federal funding.
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