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Medical Office Assistant

Education and Training High School Diploma
Average Salary $28,000
Job Outlook Excellent

Working as a medical office assistant is a great way into the healthcare industry for someone who does not possess a large degree of medical knowledge. The job involves taking on a variety of administrative and clerical tasks within the environment of a medical office. Typical tasks involved with this job role include accessing records on the system, making and receiving phone calls, operating office equipment such as photocopiers and fax machines, sending and receiving postal correspondence, and similar tasks.

Medical Office Assistants with sufficient levels of training may also be involved in the financial side of a medical office. This could take the form of billing or basic bookkeeping duties.

Education and Training Requirements

There is no formal educational requirement to be a medical office assistant but a High School Diploma is the absolute minimum standard of education for most people working in this role. The types of courses that are advantageous to study at a high school level include courses which promote a good grasp of the English language and also basic mathematical principles.

A one or two year vocational training program exists for medical office assistants but is by no means seen as an essential requirement. This may involve a period of internship in a medical office which will provide desirable on the job experience.

Getting the Job

Due to the lack of formal educational requirements for medical office assistants, landing a job is as much about showing the necessary personal qualities as much as showing a good standard of education. Office assistants will need to be courteous and polite individuals, due to their dealings with the public, and will also need to show a good general level of education, good communication skills, and a willingness to learn.

Job Prospects, Employment Outlook and Career Development

The expansion of the entire healthcare industry due to federal healthcare laws, rising population numbers, and the fact that people are living longer on average means there will be a rise in demand for medical office assistants over the coming decades.

It is possible to advance upwards from the position of medical office assistant. This is typically into the role of a senior office position either in a supervisory or managerial capacity. Such a promotion may be earned due to excellent on the job performance, additional educational requirements or a mixture of the two. Training in a more advanced area of the medical industry allows medical office assistants to advance their career into other aspects of the industry.

Working Conditions and Environment

Medical Office Assistants spend the vast majority of their working life in the office area of a healthcare facility. The size of the office depends entirely upon the size of the medical facility. For example, smaller clinics will have a smaller office working environment whereas larger hospitals are likely to have larger office areas. This may be a consideration for some people as they may prefer larger or smaller offices as their working environment.

The job is not generally seen as stressful but medical office assistants will need to be able to prioritize their work load and cope under occasional pressure.

Salary and Benefits

The average salary for a medical office worker is $28,000 a year. For people who are just starting out in the job their salary is likely to be closer to $20,000. For the most experienced medical office assistants at the largest facilities their salary may be closer to the $50,000 mark. Health care is usually offered as is sick pay and vacation time.

Where to Go for More Information

American Association of Medical Assistants
20 North Wacker Dr., Ste. 1575
Chicago, IL 60606.

Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs
1361 Park St.
Clearwater, FL 33756

National Healthcareer Association
7 Ridgedale Ave., Ste. 203
Cedar Knolls, NJ 07927

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesHealth & Medicine