With healthcare careers skyrocketing, a host of parallel careers is also being created: Medical office administration and management careers. Qualified professionals in the field are expected to be adept with medical terminology (written and verbal), using software applications for reimbursement systems, doing medical coding and billing — all while heeding... time-honored principles of customer service.
By enrolling in a flexible online degree or certificate program, you could explore the complexities and practices of running a 21st century medical office. Though opportunities could be huge, so could the challenges: Regulation, malpractice and patient care management are the concerns of many offices. Whether your goal is to become an administrator who ensures that quality of care remains high while costs are kept under control, or an educator and advocate of preventative healthcare, there is a variety of medical office careers that could be of interest.
There is also a variety of medical office online programs designed for different student levels and career goals. As a starting point, if you are new to the field, you may want to consider earning an online associate degree, which could qualify you for entry-level work as a medical assistant, medical billing specialist, medical equipment technician, dental hygienist, physical therapy assistant, or as a stepping stone to other careers which are likely to require a bachelor degree, such as a registered nurse. Medical Office and Billing Specialists combine knowledge from both Medical Billing and Coding and Medical Administrative Assistant to create a kind of "best of both worlds" career objective. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job opportunities for medical records and health information technicians are expected to grow about 20 percent through the year 2018.*
If you already earned your bachelor or associate degree in this field, it could be advantageous to consider further study in the form of an online certificate or training program. For example, you may aspire to further your career by qualifying for a managerial medical office position. A day in the life of a medical office administrator usually varies. On most days, the administrator is likely to report to an office manager, physician, or other health practitioner, acting as a liaison between patients and providers (as well as insurance companies and its claims processors), and thus playing a customer service role. In short, you will be a vital part of the healthcare team in a physician's office, a clinic, a hospital, a long-term care facility, or other medical office.
* The preceding information was obtained from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' (BLS) online resource, "Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition," available at: http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos103.htm
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