What Is A Medical Administrative Assistant And How Do You Become One?

You’ve always dreamed of a job in the healthcare field, yet you don’t want to spend the time or money taking years of school. You thought you were out of luck, right?


Becoming a medical administrative assistant will make that happen for you without tons of school. You’ll work daily with patients and physicians while playing a huge role in helping a medical facility run smoothly.

Yet, now you’re wondering – what is a medical administrative assistant? Let’s answer that question and find out how to become one yourself.

What Is a Medical Administrative Assistant?

A medical administrative assistant handles the daily office tasks in a medical facility. This could range from a face-to-face role with patients at the front desk to roles in the back office.

Titles for this position range widely, depending on the exact duties. A few of the titles you may have heard are medical secretaries, patient coordinator, or a unit secretary.

Medical administrative assistants use their knowledge of medical policies and procedures to do their jobs. Since many of them work with patients, an upbeat personality and customer service skills are also used.

What Are the Daily Duties?

The day-to-day duties will differ depending on the type of practice and department they work for. Yet, no matter where they work, medical administrative assistants are responsible for a wide variety of tasks.

Most start out checking in patients. They’ll also schedule patient appointments, answer phones, and maintain the office database.

Other common duties involve ordering supplies for the office. They maintain and file patient charts and medical records. Plus, handle incoming test results, making sure they get to the correct clinician.

More advanced roles involve supporting the administrative needs of medical executives. They’ll also file insurance claims, process invoices, and schedule facility meetings or events.

What Skills Are Important to Have?

Since they come into contact with both patients and office staff, having interpersonal skills is essential. Providing superior customer service is the key to keeping patients happy and maintaining a positive office environment.

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Using computers is also an important function of the job. Being tech-savvy and having the ability to input data correctly is critical to proper documentation.

Medical facilities are often busy, so medical administrative assistants need to know how to multitask efficiently. If there is a medical emergency or procedure needed stat, being able to switch gears at a moment’s notice is important.

What Type of Education Do You Need?

The great thing about becoming a medical administrative assistant is you don’t need an advanced education to get started. As long as you have your high school diploma, you’re able to get your foot in the door.

Many facilities prefer medical administrative assistants to have some knowledge of terminology and policies. Taking classes such as medical terminology, medical billing, and pharmaceutical principles will help.

You can also get these classes by taking a certification program. These are one to two-year coursework found at vocational schools or community colleges.

Those who have an Associates or Bachelor’s degree in related fields will have higher salaries and a better opportunity to advance.

Where Do Medical Administrative Assistants Work?

Nearly any type of medical facility needs medical administrative assistants. You’ll find positions in hospitals, doctor’s offices, surgery centers, private practices… the list goes on!

The type of facility you work in will be a determining factor in the type of work you’ll do.

For example, a hospital has many different departments that use medical administrative assistants. You could work in a floor unit, hospital admissions, billing, clinic, or administrative offices. Plus, since hospitals are a 24/7 operation, your working hours may vary.

Doctor’s office or private practices usually have set hours of operation. If you prefer more structured work schedules, that may work better for you.

How Much Do They Make in a Year?

It’s hard to give an exact amount a medical administrative assistant earns in a year. That’s because pay depends on where you work and the type of tasks you perform.

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Where you live will have a big determining factor in pay. Salaries range from state to state due to the cost of living differences.

According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, the 2018 median pay was $33,610 a year (or $16.16 per hour). Of the pay range, $24,790 was on the low end with $47,250 being in the top 10% of earners.

In general, the more education and experience you have, the more money you can earn.

What Is the Job Outlook?

Medical administrative assistants are always in demand. With today’s aging population, the increase in preventative medical services will keep doctor offices and hospitals busy. Facilities will need to hire more medical administrative assistants to keep up with the workflow.

In fact, employment rates project growth by 29% through 2026. This is a faster than average growth rate for all occupations.

That’s exciting news if you’re looking to get into the medical administrative assistant field. A growing outlook for the job means you won’t have a problem finding a job now or in the future.

How Do You Get Started?

Since you don’t need a degree to become a medical administrative assistant, you can start as soon as you finish high school. Some facilities offer on the job training, giving you experience as you go.

Though most medical facilities prefer experience before you start. Taking specialized courses and getting certified as a medical administrative assistant will give you an advantage above others.

It’s also a good idea to get experience in the field. Volunteering at hospitals is a great way to get familiar with how a hospital runs. Or apply for an internship to get first-hand experience.

Find Your Dream Job as a Medical Administrative Assistant

Now you no longer have to wonder – what is a medical administrative assistant? With this knowledge, you can finally set out to find the healthcare position that’s perfect for you.

Looking for ways to make the money you earn go further? Keep browsing the rest of our blog!

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