Complete Guide to an Online Medical Office Administration Degree
Students interested in online medical office administration degrees will find accredited options at the associate, bachelor's, master's, and certificate levels. A degree in medical office administration will include coursework in medical billing, medical terminology, healthcare systems, computer applications, and more. Students who go on to pursue careers in medical office administration will perform a variety of support tasks for doctor's offices, hospitals, and other healthcare facilities.
It is important for those looking into online medical office administration degrees to take accreditation into consideration. Attending a regionally accredited institution will help to ensure that the students are receiving a relevant education, that they are eligible to receive federal financial aid, and that they can transfer credits between institutions.
Comprehensive List of Accredited Online Schools - Medical Office Administration Degrees (36)
Online Medical Office Administration Degree Overview & Career Information
Although medical office administration does not necessarily require any formal education, professionals who hold degrees may have more job opportunities. An associate degree will take two years to complete and will help to prepare graduates to work at entry-level positions such as medical office assistant, medical secretary, and administrative assistant. Students can also receive an education in medical office administration without committing to a full degree program by instead pursuing a certificate. Online undergraduate certificate degrees are available and take around a year to complete. People who are looking to hold management and leadership positions will want to consider an online bachelor's degree in medical office administration. Over the course of four years, students will prepare to work as program managers, clinical directors, office administrators, and practice administrators. Online master's degree programs are also available and can be completed in two years. Graduates may go on to work in senior positions including executive officer, hospital administrator, department manager, and healthcare consultant.
Students enrolled in an online associate degree program can typically graduate in around two years by completing 60 semester credit hours. Graduates may pursue a number of positions such as admitting clerk, medical secretary, medical administrative assistant, and medical office assistant. Examples of the different courses students will encounter during their studies include keyboarding, healthcare systems and operations, insurance claims, medical terminology for healthcare professionals, ethics and health information management, and computer applications. In some cases students will have to complete a case study research project as well as an internship.
Undergraduate admission will require the applicant to be a high school graduate or a GED holder. An online associate degree in medical office administration can be earned at community colleges, state colleges, and universities.
Online bachelor's degrees in medical office administration can be pursued at colleges and universities. The list of potential occupation titles includes clinical director, program manager, practice administrator, or office manager. Bachelor's degree programs will prepare students for these roles through around 120 credit hours of study over the course of four years. Curriculum at this level is comprised of classes like introduction to management, healthcare finance, medical law and ethics, healthcare human resources management, healthcare quality, accounting, leadership and organizational behavior, and principles of microeconomics. There may also be an internship or capstone project requirement.
Applicants will be required to provide high school transcripts or an equivalent. If a student is transferring from another college then those transcripts will need to be supplied as well. Some programs may require the applicant to participate in an informational interview prior to being granted admission.
Professionals who are seeking senior positions in medical administration may find that a master's degree will give them a competitive edge within the field. There are a variety of career outcomes among graduates such as chief executive officer, department manager, healthcare consultant, program manager, and hospital administrator. Students can typically complete their master's degree studies in two years, and will be required to take up to 39 semester credit hours of classes. Coursework covers such topics as healthcare policy and law, strategic healthcare planning, project management and team leadership, healthcare consumerism and marketing, healthcare policy drivers, and human capital management in healthcare.
Completed undergraduate work is required prior to enrolling in a master's degree program and it must be from an accredited institution. Many graduate programs will also require that a minimum GPA, typically of 2.3-3.0, was maintained throughout undergraduate study. Three letters written by professional references may be required along with a letter written by the applicant that addresses their goals both educationally and professionally. Lastly, applicants will likely need to provide a resume that outlines their professional and educational background. Online master's degree programs in medical office administration can be pursued at various universities.
People who are not interested in committing to a full undergraduate degree program have the option of participating in an undergraduate medical office administration certificate program. This type of program does not result in an associate or bachelor's degree, yet it still delivers the education needed to be successful in the industry. Certificate programs consist of 47 to 57 credit hours and can typically be completed a year or a little more. Among the required courses are medical office management, medical insurance billing, patient prioritizing and instruction, medical coding, disease of the human body, medical office accounting, medical records management, and medical terminology. Depending on the program students may also be required to complete an externship that will give them hands-on experience prior to graduation.
In order to qualify for an undergraduate certificate program the applicant must have a high school diploma or its equivalent. There may also be a few college-level prerequisite courses that will need to be completed prior to beginning the program. This level of program will prepare students for a variety of front office positions including medical secretary, admitting clerk, and administrative assistant. Certificate programs are available at community colleges, universities, and vocational schools.
The Importance of an Accredited Online Medical Office Administration Degree
Before enrolling in an online medical office administration degree program, students should verify that their institutions of choice have earn regional accreditation. Accreditation is important for many reasons. First of all, accredited schools have had their faculty, course work, grading systems, facilities, and student resources assessed by regionally-based, independent organizations to help ensure that the schools are providing relevant education that is meeting national educational standards. Additionally, only students at accredited institutions are eligible for federal financial aid programs. Students who hope to receive some form of federal financial assistance should attend an accredited school for this reason. Lastly, accreditation plays an important role in the transferring process. Most institutions and programs will only accept transfer credits from other sources of education that have been accredited.
Careers in Medical Office Administration
Graduates of online medical office administration degree programs may pursue work in the offices of private medical practices. They may also pursue employment at hospitals, laboratories, and health departments. Key daily tasks include answering phones, scheduling appointments, and maintaining patient medical records. Their knowledge of basic medical terms and procedures will aid them in preparing reports and recording medical histories.
Bookkeeping tasks are also an important factor of the job. Billing patients, preparing tax reports, and processing invoices are all part of the bookkeeping responsibilities. Medical office administrators will need to be well versed in the areas of word processing software, office equipment, and accounting software. Job titles that a graduate of a medical office administration program can expect to hold include medical secretary, admitting clerk, department manager, hospital administrator, and clinical director.
- Admissions. Kaplan University. Accessed September 12, 2016. http://www.kaplanuniversity.edu/admissions/general-admissions-requirements.aspx.
- Admissions Requirements. University of Cincinnati. Accessed September 12, 2016. http://healthadministration.uc.edu/admissions/admissions-requirements/.
- Associate of Science/Applied Science in Medical Office Administration. Herzing University. Accessed September 12, 2016. https://www.herzing.edu/files/coursesheet/asmoa_aasmoad.pdf.
- Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Management. Herzing University. Accessed September 12, 2016. https://www.herzing.edu/files/coursesheet/bshcm.pdf.
- Careers. Herzing University. Accessed September 12, 2016. https://www.herzing.edu/career-programs/healthcare/medical-office-administration.
- Graduate admission requirements. Capella University. Accessed September 12, 2016. http://www.capella.edu/online-degrees/mha-health-administration/admission-requirements/.
- Masters in Health Administration Online. Capella University. Accessed September 12, 2016. http://www.capella.edu/online-degrees/mha-health-administration/courses/.
- Medical Office Administration Associate's Degree. Virginia College. Accessed September 12, 2016. https://www.vc.edu/associates-degrees/medical-office-administration/.
- Medical Office Administration Certificate. North Seattle College. Accessed September 13, 2016. https://northseattle.edu/certificates/medical-office-administration.
- Undergraduate Certificate. Kaplan University. Accessed September 13, 2016. http://www.kaplanuniversity.edu/health-sciences/medical-office-administration-certificate.aspx.
- What is Regional Accreditation and why is is Important?. Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education. Accessed September 16, 2016. http://www.wiche.edu/knowledge/14295.