How To Become a Medical Office Specialist

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Medical Office Specialists work in a medical facility and have a professional training that demands formal education and/or certification by an accredited institution. They work in physician’s offices, clinics and hospitals, government agencies, corporate labs. Salary depends on their level of education, experience, and career advancement offered by their employers. Future outlook for these jobs may change dramatically, requiring them to have more technical skills and a broad knowledge of various software applications, as well as tact and good communication skills.

First of all, the job requires formal training and sometimes certification. The CMA is the certification for the Medical Office Specialist. The CMAA is required for the Medical Office Manager. Again, not all employers require the Office Specialist to be certified. The job requires knowledge of medical terminology, medical word processing, medical records systems, medical ethics and law, and basic medical office procedures. Courses can now be completed online, at your local college, or by attending a career training program. Courses include medical terminology and anatomy, office correspondence and reports, medical records management, and sometimes medical billing and coding. Some schools offer accredited certifications or a diploma upon finishing. Programs may last anywhere from 6 months to 1 year. Although some colleges and universities may offer an Associate Degrees for the Medical Office Specialist, students should make sure the schools they choose are recognized and accepted by the medical community.

Once training is complete, some schools help their students find jobs. For those which do not, the application process is just like any other. Testing may be necessary for some employers. Salaries for Medical Office Specialists start around $19,000 (entry level) and rise to $45,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Those working in hospitals and larger facilities earn more than those in small doctor’s offices, where many of them may only work part-time or only a few days per week.  They can be promoted to a Medical Office Manager whose earnings can be as high as $73,000 (for those working in large facilities).

Career advancement depends a lot on the place of employment. In a small doctor’s office, there may only be one position to aspire to… the Medical Office Manager. But many small offices have phased out or never had this position. In hospitals and large facilities, the position may not exist. There may be many Medical Specialists who handle everything in the office. In some places, nurses, medical coders, and medical billers handle specific duties, while there are medical assistants who handle medical procedures. The job outlook is good for the Medical Office Specialist.  Although less of them will be required in the doctor’s office, as many doctors now do their own typing (emails, prescriptions, etc. via electronic devices), those Specialists who are employed will be expected to be diverse, not only talented in personal and communication skills, as well as medical office procedures, but also have extensive knowledge of electronic billing and coding, database management, medical and HIPPA laws, and CRM software. No doubt the name for this position may change altogether, to recognize the modernization of the medical office.


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