Best Online Certificate in Medical Office Administration Programs
Medical office administration certificate programs prepare students for careers in a high-demand healthcare field with myriad growth opportunities.
In addition to clinical staff who treat patients in medical offices, there are many administrative professionals who help run the business of a clinic. These medical office administrators play an essential role in scheduling, check-in, billing, and medical records.
These professionals are in high demand in every medical specialty and every area of the country. Prospective students interested in becoming medical office administrators should consider pursuing a certificate in medical office administration.
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Some medical office administration jobs require a certificate. A certificate can also help professionals stand out when applying for jobs or get a raise in their current positions. Most programs take 9-12 months to complete. Many programs offer online courses and eliminate all in-person requirements.
Read on to learn more about online certificate in medical office administration programs.
What Is a Certificate in Medical Office Administration Program?
Certificate in medical office administration programs cover several key topics, including the following:
- Common medical terminology
- Medical coding, insurance, and billing basics
- Patient privacy laws, such as HIPAA
- Technology tools used in medical clinics, such as scheduling, electronic health records (EHR), and practice management software
- Communication skills for working with healthcare professionals
- Organizational skills to thrive in a fast-paced environment
These programs are ideal for individuals interested in getting a job in the fast-growing and high-demand field of healthcare administration. A certificate program is a quick way to gain the knowledge and skills required to succeed in these positions without attending a two- or four-year college program.
These programs can give candidates an edge in a competitive hiring process and prepare them to take an exam to obtain state licensure.
What Can I Expect From an Online Certificate in Medical Office Administration Program?
Most students can complete a medical office administration certificate program in under one year. These programs focus on teaching the fundamentals of working in a healthcare facility, as well as the important skills and tasks specific to administrative professionals. To succeed as a medical office administrator, a student needs the following abilities:
- Exceptional organizational skills
- The ability to work with multiple computer systems and software programs
- Good communication and collaboration skills to work with physicians, nurses, and high-level administrators
- Attention to detail and the ability to learn new things
- Customer service skills to help patients
Many certificate programs give students the option to specialize in certain areas of healthcare administration. Typical concentration options include the following:
- Healthcare finance
- Medical records administration
- Healthcare planning and policy
- Medical coding and billing
- Healthcare IT and information management
Most certificate programs require 18-30 credits. The specific number of credits depends on the program and whether a student decides to take additional courses to complete a concentration. Many programs also provide opportunities to gain real-world experience through internships.
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Popular Online Medical Office Administration Programs
Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.
What Courses Will I Take in an Online Certificate in Medical Office Administration Program?
Principles of Healthcare Administration
This survey course provides an introduction to healthcare administration. Students learn the basics of medical laws, ethics, and common medical terminology. Some courses also include training on how to take patient vital signs and perform first aid.
Health Records and Information Management
Managing health records is a vital part of office administration. Students learn laws about HIPAA, how to work with EHR software, and how to properly protect and secure patient information.
Healthcare Office Administration
This course provides an overview of medical clinic operations, including patient scheduling, check-in, and general appointment management. Students also learn how to answer phones, process payments, and work with practice management software.
Medical Billing and Coding
Coursework provides information on how medical coding and billing work, including an overview of patient insurance and medical claims. Students learn how to fill out insurance forms to capture the information necessary for billing, how to search billing codes, and how to rework denied claims.
Medical Office Externship or Internship
An internship or externship is an opportunity for students to apply what they learned during the certificate program in a medical clinic setting. They must demonstrate professionalism and knowledge of clinic administration.
What Are Admission Requirements for an Online Certificate in Medical Office Administration Program?
Students interested in pursuing an online certificate in medical office administration must hold a high school diploma or its equivalent. These programs are open to students pursuing other associate or bachelor's degrees or as standalone programs. Admission requirements can vary.
Students enrolled in another healthcare administration program generally meet requirements. Learners interested in pursuing a certificate program on their own may need to take additional prerequisite courses or have experience working as a medical office assistant or administrator.
What Can I Do With an Online Certificate in Medical Office Administration Degree?
Medical office assistants report to healthcare administrators and managers, helping with the day-to-day tasks of running a medical office and assisting patients These careers are available in a variety of healthcare settings, including the following:
- Outpatient clinics
- Long-term care facilities
- Imaging centers and medical laboratories
- Dental clinics
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), medical office assistants make a mean salary of $39,000 per year. When compared with other office assistants, this may be a better career choice for growth and opportunities. Between 2020 and 2030, the BLS projects a 7% decline in employment for all secretaries and administrative assistants (not medical office administrators).
See where a certificate in medical office administration can take you. Learn about health services careers.
Medical Office Assistant
Medical office assistants support business operations in a medical clinic or healthcare facility. They participate in day-to-day administrative tasks, including checking patients in and completing paperwork. In some clinics, they also help with medical coding and billing, financial reconciliations, and patient scheduling.
Mean Annual Salary (as of May 2020): $39,000
Medical schedulers work with patients to get them scheduled for appointments, procedures, and surgeries. They answer patient phone calls to schedule new appointments and work with patients who need to cancel or reschedule. These professionals may also work with hospital and surgical facilities to make sure schedules flow smoothly to limit wait times and maximize appointments each day.
Average Annual Salary (as of December 2021): $36,770
Medical Records Specialist
These professionals gather and organize health records for patients within a clinic or healthcare system. Medical records specialists play an important role in helping patients and providers access and share medical records. They also store and protect healthcare information and make sure their organization complies with HIPAA privacy laws.
Median Annual Salary (as of May 2020): $45,240
Medical Billing Specialist
These professionals assist medical clinics with healthcare billing, invoices, and payments for patient care services. A medical billing specialist helps find the proper codes after a patient comes in for care and submits the proper documentation to the insurance company for reimbursement. They also create and send invoices for patient balances, collect copays, and post payments to patient accounts.
Average Annual Salary (as of December 2021): $39,910
Most medical office administration jobs do not require any additional licenses to start working. However, some medical office administrative assistants may want to complete additional education to prepare for a job as a healthcare administrator or a medical office manager. These positions usually require a bachelor's degree in healthcare administration.
Some high-level positions may require a master's degree in healthcare administration or even a doctorate in healthcare administration.
Medical Office Administration Not for You? Check Out These Related Careers.
How Do I Choose an Online Certificate in Medical Office Administration Program?
Average costs for a certificate in medical office administration can vary by school. Private schools usually charge higher tuition rates than public schools. Students who attend in-state programs often pay less than out-of-state learners.
In addition to tuition, there are other costs to consider. For example, students who take online courses through a traditional higher education institution may still have to pay student fees that cover recreation facilities or healthcare, even though they don't use those services. However, distance learners save on room and board.
Online certificate in medical office administration programs may use the following formats and delivery methods:
- Synchronous: Students take classes with instructors who teach in real time, either in person in a classroom or online at a specific time.
- Asynchronous: Students complete assignments around their own schedules without any scheduled online sessions.
- Part-time: Students take fewer classes each semester, usually because they have a job or other responsibilities. It takes longer to get through the program but has more flexibility.
- Full-time: Students take a full load of classes and graduate as quickly as they can.
- Accelerated: Students move through the program faster by taking more classes or taking classes in a block format.
Students who choose to enroll online have more flexibility to choose a school that is not in the same geographic area where they live. Online options also open up the possibility to attend schools without relocating or living in expensive areas around campus. However, some online programs may require students to live nearby to complete certain on-campus or in-person requirements.
Accreditation is a process that schools go through voluntarily to show that they meet certain third-party academic standards. The two most common types of accreditation are regional and national. Regional accrediting bodies work with schools in a certain geographic area. They mostly accredit nonprofit academic institutions. Credits earned at a regionally accredited school will transfer to other regionally accredited schools. National accreditation doesn't always transfer as easily.
Make sure to attend a school that holds regional accreditation, as you cannot receive federal financial aid otherwise.
Career support and student services are essential. These services should include career advising and mentorships, tutoring, and alumni support. Schools with great student services can also help students find internships or apply for jobs upon graduation. Both in-person and online programs should offer these services to help students make the most of their degrees.
Best Accredited Online Certificate in Medical Office Administration Programs
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Frequently Asked Questions About Certificate in Medical Office Administration Programs
Is a certificate in medical office administration worth it?
A certificate in medical office administration is a great way to prepare for a job as a medical office assistant or healthcare administration specialist. It can help set applicants apart in a competitive job field and prepare students for jobs that are in high demand. Students interested in a medical career can take classes for a medical office administration as part of an associate or bachelor's program or as a standalone option for career development.
What can you do with a certificate in medical office administration?
A certificate in medical office administration can help prepare students for a job in a variety of healthcare fields. It offers a broad overview of many aspects of healthcare administration, preparing graduates to work in medical front offices, as medical schedulers, as healthcare information specialists, or in medical records offices. With additional training, students can also work as medical billing and coding specialists.
Is a medical office administration certificate program hard?
A medical office administration certificate program can be challenging. These programs usually last 9-12 months, but many are flexible so students can structure the program around work and other responsibilities.
How long does it take to get a certificate in medical office administration?
Most certificates for medical office administration take less than one year to complete. Students who choose to attend accelerated programs can finish even quicker. The exact time it takes depends on the number of total credits in the program and whether you enroll full time or part time.
What's the highest-paying job you can get with a certificate in medical office administration?
Most medical office administration jobs pay $30,000-$40,000 per year. However, many of these positions are in clinics with opportunities to advance. With additional experience, graduates with a certificate in medical office administration can apply for promotions to medical office manager, and eventually to jobs as healthcare administrators.
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