Medical Administrative Assistant Training
Prepare for a Career as a Medical Administration Assistant
The job of Medical Administration Assistant is valuable to every medical office and facility. The medical admin person greets patients and helps them with intake paperwork and insurance forms, answers questions that come in by phone, handles appointments and insurance claims, and deals with vendors and suppliers. The face and voice of any office is that of the medical administration assistant. The medical administration assistant is also crucial to the work of the doctors, nurses, and other medical personnel. Record keeping, either paper or electronic, scheduling, handling personnel matters, and planning meetings also will be the responsibility of the medical admin assistant.
The field of health care is growing and so a career as a medical administration assistant will put you in a challenging and expanding profession.
Finding the Right Medical Administration Assistant School
Choosing the right medical administration assistant school or training program is crucial to your success in the field. Here are some factors to consider:
- You will have to have a high school diploma or a GED to start training as a medical administration assistant. Take as many science and math classes as you can while in high school to give yourself a good foundation for your medical admin courses.
- The type of school is an important factor in your decision. You can find short courses that require 6 to 8 months to complete. Another popular choice is earning a two-year Associate’s degree. The two-year degree will cost more, but you get a broader foundation of knowledge.
- You will also need to choose between online courses and on campus classes. With online courses, you have the advantage of doing the schoolwork around your own schedule, but the disadvantage of not having as much instructor and student interaction. On campus training may take more of a time commitment, but networking possibilities expand. Be sure that the schools of either type are accredited and that the courses will lead to your qualification to take the certification tests at the end of your studies.
- If you plan to attend on campus, visit the school and observe classes. If possible, talk to students and instructors to find out their opinions of the quality of the school.
- Cost is always an important factor and it will vary widely between online and on campus schools and the amount of time required for the training. Online schools can cost from $600 to $1,500, while receiving an Associate’s degree at a community college costs about $2,500 to $5,000. Most schools offer financial aid, so check with the schools to see what you can qualify for.
- Location can be important in your decision. You may decide to attend your local community college and continue working in your current job. Going for the full training of 6 to 9 months without working is also a possibility. For an Associate’s degree, you might live on campus and attend classes full time. Your costs will be higher in that case.
Medical Administration Assistant Training
Once you have chosen a training program, you will be curious about what the courses will be like. Some of the courses that you take will be basic business and office courses, such as
- Word processing
- Database management
- Communication skills
- Desktop publishing
- Project management
- Scheduling (both for patients and for office employees)
- Training on office equipment, such as scanners, faxes, telephone and videoconferencing systems
- Office management
On top of these topics, you will have classes geared to the medical field. They will include
- Recording medical histories
- Record keeping, paper and electronic
- Medical terminology
- Insurance authorizations
- Medical coding and billing
- Medical and hospital procedures
- Medical office bookkeeping (accounts receivable, accounts payable)
- Basic first aid and CPR
- Medical ethics and legalities
Once you have finished the coursework, you might get the chance to work as an intern in a medical office. It’s a great opportunity to receive hands-on training, so take the opportunity if you can.
When your training is finished, it is wise to obtain certification, as it will greatly enhance your hiring potential. A certification such as Certified Professional Secretary (CPS) or Certified Administrative Professional (CAP) is a great start. Becoming a Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) through the National Healthcare Association looks even better on your resume because it ensures that you have the medical background to become a great medical administration assistant.