Medical Administrative Assistant: All You Need To Know
One of the most important roles in the healthcare industry is that of the medical administrative assistant. Without them, hospitals, doctors clinics, and a variety of other institutions could not function. They require specialist skills and knowledge, which is why formal training is often undertaken by those that wish to get into the industry. The work can be busy, but rewarding. Helping patients across the healthcare industry to access the medical care that they need. As the medical technology improves, there’s more demand for medical administrative assistants who have taken formal classes to become certified.
What Is a Medical Administrative Assistant?
You might be interested in this growing and exciting career, but you may be wondering what does a medical administrative assistant do?
To put it simply, a medical administrative assistant efficiently manages the front office in a healthcare service provider. This can be within a hospital, perhaps a specialized department. Or it can be in a clinic. Or even in a private medical practitioners facilities.
They manage the front office by using their industry-relevant knowledge (that they pick up during training), various technology, and their impressive organizational skills to keep one of the most important parts of any medical facility, the front office, running smoothly. Whether it is a busy ER, or a nursing home.
They aren’t always called medical administrative assistants. That would depend on the specific medical facility they work in. Sometimes they are called patient coordinators, or in some places unit secretaries. But the overall career field is that of a medical administrative assistant.
They can be required to work many different shifts. This certainly isn’t a 9-5 job. 9-5 is available if you work in a doctors office that works during those hours. But if you work in a hospital then overnight shifts may be required.
One of the biggest misconceptions about what a medical administrative assistant does is that they are simply there to check you in, whether you are visiting the doctors or the hospital. But the reality of the job is so much more than that.
Medical Administrative Assistant Job Description & Duties
The job description and medical administrative assistant duties can vary significantly depending on where you work. But there are generally the same basic responsibilities across the board. Whether you are working in a busy emergency department, or a sleepy doctors office in a rural area.
The basic job description for a medical administrative assistant is that they are responsible for many of the admin tasks that keep the medical practice running. In reality this often means that they are responsible for many of the following tasks:
- Answering the phone and responding to inquiries about the medical practice, as well as forwarding calls to the appropriate person in the department or practice.
- Checking in patients when they arrive at the front desk, so that they can be seen promptly, and so that the appointment system works well.
- Scheduling appointments for patients, trying to keep them happy by scheduling an appointment as soon as possible, as well as ensuring that the doctors and other medical professionals are not overloaded.
- Investigating case histories of a patient by interviewing them to find out all of the relevant information before booking them an appointment.
- Operating a wide variety of software packages and office equipment, which can vary hugely depending on what kind of medical practice you are working in.
- Compiling medical records, ensuring that they are updated when a patient arrives, as well as creating charts for the patients stay in the medical practice, which can be for as little as a few minutes or as long as several months.
- Ensuring lab results are transferred to the appropriate person in the medical practice.
- Ensuring the practice or department is adequately supplied, and maintaining the office appearance.
- Depending on the place of work not all of these tasks will fall to the medical administrative assistant, and in certain places there may be tasks in addition to this.
What Is the Average Salary for a Medical Administrative Assistant?
Of course for many people, the most important part of any job is how much they get paid. The reason for taking the steps required to improve your life by taking certification to become a medical administrative assistant are so that you can be paid well.
So what is the medical office administrative assistant salary, pay scale, salary range, and salary per hour?
It depends how you look at it, but the average salary is around $34,000 per year. Obviously this can change noticeably depending on where you live. An employee in central NYC is probably going to earn more than someone in a rural town. Salaries can range from around $20,000 up to $40,000, although if you are certified it is less likely to be at the lower end.
If you are paid hourly then the average hourly rate is around $13 per hour. Which isn’t a bad wage and is well above minimum wage.
Here are some statistics to help make this clearer:
- Salary Range For A Medical Administrative Assistant – $20,000-$40,000
- Hourly Rate Range For A Medical Administrative Assistant – $9.50-$17.00 per hour
- Average Overtime Rate – $1.50-$25.00
As you can see, the numbers are quite varied. But remember, if you get certified before you get a job, you are much more likely to be at the upper range of pay. So it is well worth getting certified.
How To Become A Medical Administrative Assistant
So, you have been convinced that becoming a medical administrative assistant might be the career for you, but you are now wondering how to become a medical administrative assistant. How long does it take? What skills are required? Well to find out, read on.
Skills Required To Be A Medical Administrative Assistant
The main skill you will require is organization. There are patient records to organize, appointments to organize, and a thousand other little tasks that you will need to be on top of to be a success.
Computer skills are a must with almost all records, appointment booking systems, and other things that you will interact with being on computers. The ability to learn new systems is vital, as medical offices will have different computer systems to what you are used to at home.
Of course customer service skills are also vital, as you will be based at a front desk interacting with a huge range of people all day long. Attention to detail is vital as people’s health is in your hands.
A high school diploma is required as a minimum. Further qualifications, and certification can be undertaken on the job, or before the job.
Step By Step Guide
Step 1 – Ensure that you have a high school diploma. Either when you graduated, or go back to an educational establishment and get it.
Step 2 – Sign up for a course accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) to become a certified medical administrative assistant (CMAA). This will make you much more attractive to employers.
Step 3 – Make sure you have a current BLS for Healthcare Providers CPR certification.
Step 4 – Apply for, and get a medical administrative assistant job.
Best Medical Administrative Assistant Schools and Training Courses
As mentioned above, while a high school diploma is the bare minimum to catch the attention of potential employers if you enroll on a specialized course to become a certified medical administrative assistant (CMAA).
It is pretty much essential if you wish to be successful in this career. But there are many different places offering the qualification, so it can be difficult to decide where is best for you.
Online vs Offline
Medical administrative assistant training is available in both physical colleges and training centers where you would attend to the course, as well as online distance learning. But which is better?
With distance learning you can study at your own pace, and it makes it much easier to fit around your current life. But you don’t have as direct access to tutors and perhaps some of the material.
A training center course is likely to be quicker than an online course, but you are restricted to studying at the times when the lectures and other classes are. As well as having to actually make your way to the training center when classes take place.
Which is better depends on what your requirements are. If you want to get the qualifications quickly then a training center will probably be best for you. But if you are looking to fit it around your existing life then online would be the one to choose.
Best Online Schools
In reality, the qualifications are the same no matter where you get it in terms of how employers will view it. But here are some great options that will get you qualified, and arm you with the knowledge you need to be a success in the career field.
- UCR Extension – The University College Roosevelt offers this online course. It takes between three and six months to complete.
- Kaplan College Bakersfield – This course is completely online, including exams, so you can do it wherever you are based. It takes six months.
Best Offline Courses
Obviously for most people, the offline course they choose will be at the nearest training center to them. But there are some highly rated medical administrative assistant courses at various places that are worth considering if you are nearby.
- Bakersfield Adult School in Bakersfield Ca
- Delano Adult School in Bakersfield Ca
- The Community College of Baltimore County in Baltimore Md
All three of these institutions offer courses that are highly rated.
Medical Administrative Assistant Certification
As we’ve mentioned above, becoming a certified medical administrative assistant (CMAA), will help you significantly in gaining employment, and many employers won’t even consider you unless you have this qualification.
Now that we’ve looked at some of the institutions offering the qualification, we need to look at how it works, and how much it costs.
How It Works
Looking primarily at the online course, as that is what most people reading this will be undertaken. First you enroll, then you have between three and six months to study all of the required material, as well as consult with any tutors as required. Most of the material will be delivered in text and video format.
When you have been through all of the lessons, its time to take the exam. This is almost always done online. Once you pass the exam you are fully certified, and can seek employment in the industry.
How Much Does It Cost
The price obviously varies depending on where you take the course, but you can expect fees in around the $2000 to $3000 dollar range. Which isn’t really a huge price to pay for your future career.
How To Find Jobs For A Medical Administrative Assistant
So, you’ve completed the training, and now you are ready to go out into the world of being a medical administrative assistant. But you don’t know where to start looking for jobs? Don’t worry, we’ve put together this brief guide to finding medical administrative assistant jobs.
Where Are The Jobs?
The answer is, everywhere! The demand for medical administrative assistants is increasing rapidly as the population ages, and requires more health care. There are more nursing homes, more hospitals, more doctors practices, and the number is increasing all the time. Every single one of them requires MAA’s.
So, Where Do I Find The Jobs?
There are a few places to find medical administrative assistant jobs. Here are two of the best:
- Indeed.com – This is the one stop shop for finding jobs, both medical and non medical. It is a job aggregator which means it crawls almost all of the other sites, and then lists the jobs on its own page. This cuts down a lot of time as you can search thousands of places at once. You will find almost every MAA job on indeed.
- Individual Practice Sites – The other alternative is trawl the internet for any and all medical practices near where you live/want to work. If you use Google to find them then look at their individual sites, they will usually have vacancies listed.
Use both of these resources, and all of the other advice in this article, and you will be starting an exciting career as a medical administrative assistant in no time.