Year after year, the medical sector has seen the highest employment rate, yet there appears to be a labour shortage in the field. In addition, the medical industry offers one of the most rewarding careers in the labour market. Being a medical administrative assistant is one such rewarding career. The U.S. Department of Labor predicts that the number of medical administrative assistants will grow much faster than average in the coming years.
You can become a medical administrative assistant with an associate degree, a high school diploma, or a certification. So, if you are looking for a break into the medical sector, this is the job for you.
What is a Medical Administrative Administrative Assistant?
A medical administrative assistant controls the day-to-day operations of a medical office or other healthcare setting. These professionals frequently prioritize clerical and various tasks, including multitasking in stressful situations while operating effectively under pressure.
When you visit a hospital, the medical administrative assistant is most likely your first point of contact; they are the professionals who check you in for your appointment.
How to Become a Medical Administrative Assistant
Generally, there are two paths to becoming a medical administrative assistant. They are:
- A certification or diploma program.
- An associate degree program.
This education will give you the knowledge and skills needed to excel in this profession. However, those with an associate degree are often eligible for higher salaries and jobs with more responsibility within the practice or facility.
Certificates and diploma programs are usually completed in 6 to 12 months. Certificate and diploma programs are available in vocational schools and community colleges, as well as online training programs.
Medical administrative assistant associate degree programs typically last two years. These associate degrees are available in either in-person or online programs. They are also a pathway to a bachelor’s degree in any medical field.
You may seek to apply for professional certification to demonstrate your knowledge and ability. You may opt for either of these two professional certifications:
- The Certified Medical Administrative Assistant certification (CMAA) from the National Healthcare Association (NHA).
- The Medical Administrative Assistant Certification (MAAC) from the American Medical Certification Association.
You can advance your medical administrator career by pursuing a bachelor’s degree in health administration. This next step will help you gain the analytical, problem-solving, management, and leadership skills needed to stay competitive. It will also prepare you for senior positions such as health insurance manager, medical practice manager, and others.
Taking internships during your course of training or study will help you get a job faster, as employers prefer job applicants with experience in the field.
Upon the completion of your training or studies, you will have the opportunity to work in a variety of environments. You may either work in hospitals, clinics, or private practices. The private practice may include working with a physician and health insurance companies.
Medical Administrative Assistant Job Description
As earlier stated, the medical administrative assistant’s primary role is clerical duties in a healthcare setting. However, they have other various tasks that may not necessarily be related to clerical duties. This column will list other duties the medical administrative assistant is tasked with.
- Perform clerical tasks such as scheduling appointments, filing paperwork, producing reports, and answering phones.
- Interview patients for case histories and relevant information before their appointment with a doctor.
- Arrange staff meetings.
- Prepare memos.
- Maintain and update patients’ health records.
- Bill patients and process payments and insurance claims under the law of the practising country.
- Control the inventory of items used regularly at the hospital.
According to Indeed, the average salary for a medical administrative assistant in the United States is $17.98 per hour. Alternatively, the yearly average salary is pegged at $39,013 with other benefits such as $401k. The salary and benefits are dependent on several factors, such as education, years of experience, location, and many more.
As is customary, California accounts for the state that pays the highest average yearly salary for medical administrative assistants.
Top-paying metropolitan areas for Medical Administrative Assistants:
- San Jose/Sunnyvale/Santa Clara, California – $55,220
- Salinas, California – $53,900
- San Francisco/Oakland/Hayward, California – $52,020
- Vallejo/Fairfield, California – $51,470
- Sacramento/Roseville/Arden-Arcade, California – $49,170
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the following states in the U.S. pay the highest annual mean salaries for medical administrative assistants:
- District of Columbia – $47,110
- California – $46,140
- Washington – $45,990
- Massachusetts – $44,900
- Rhode Island – $43,740
Nonetheless, keep in mind that the cost of living in the listed states is very high, so you might want to consider working in this location.
Top paying non-metropolitan areas for Medical Secretaries and Administrative Assistants:
- Northwest Colorado – $46,690
- Massachusetts – $45,150
- Western Washington – $42,710
- Southeast Minnesota – $42,270
- Connecticut – $42,110
What is The Difference Between Medical Assistant and Medical Administrative Assistant?
Most people often compare the roles of medical assistant and medical administrative assistant. For some, the belief is that both roles are one and the same. While both positions are crucial in healthcare settings since they both deal with patients and ensure that a medical or care facility functions well; however, they have a significant distinctive difference between them.
One notable distinction is that although medical assistants undertake clinical tasks, medical administrative assistants do not.
Other distinguishing features may include the minimum education needed for both positions, as well as their salary variations.
Furthermore, the work descriptions for these positions vary. However, only a medical assistant can perform both duties concurrently, as some employers may need them to perform both tasks.
Career Options for a Medical Administrative Assistant
If you become weary of working in the healthcare sector as a medical administrative assistant, there are various career paths you may choose outside the medical sector. In addition, the profession may also serve as a prerequisite to venture into a higher medical profession such as nursing. However, you will need certification along with your experience to further into such clinical medical roles.
Similarly, several additional professional opportunities can transition into the healthcare field as a medical administrative assistant.
Other career options are:
- Administrative Officer
- Administrative Manager
- Medical Coder
- Office Assistant
- Medical Transcriptionist
- Front Desk Officer
- Records Officer
- Admissions Officer
- Billing and Insurance Specialists
- Customer Service Officer