While nurses and doctors are the public face of the health care industry, they couldn't do their jobs without a team of administrative support professionals behind them. These are the workers who maintain patient records, bill insurance companies and schedule appointments.
For those who would like to a job in the fast-growing health care field but are leery of performing clinical work, medical administration careers may be the perfect option. Many of these positions offer above average job growth and competitive salaries. Keep reading to learn more about what jobs are available and how you can get one.
Job growth in medical administrative careers
Long gone are the days when health care professionals wrote everything on a piece of a paper and stored all their records in a filing cabinet. With many providers transitioning to electronic health records, there is a need for tech-savvy administrative support specialists. These workers may be responsible for sending bills electronically to insurance companies or entering patient information into a database.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average job growth for all occupations will be 11 percent from 2012-2022. However, most health care administrative support jobs tracked by the government will see much greater growth.
- Medical secretaries: 36%
- Medical assistants, may include medical billing and coding specialists: 29%
- Medical and health services managers: 23%
- Medical records and health information technicians,: 22%
Job seekers should be aware that medical assistants may perform some clinical work, such as measuring vital signs, in addition to their administrative duties.
Other occupations like medical transcriptionists will see lower demand, but these professionals are still expected to experience job growth in the coming years.
Education requirements for medical administration professionals
Unlike other administrative positions which may require only basic phone and computer skills, health care jobs typically only go those with specialized knowledge. While a degree may be necessary for some jobs, others require only a short training period:
Many medical administrative careers can be pursued by those with a postsecondary certificate. Medical assistants, medical transcriptionists and medical records and health information technicians all have certificate programs that can be completed in a year or less.
Medical secretaries may also be able to work without a degree although they may need to take short-term training to learn industry jargon and best practices.
While a certificate is all that is necessary for the above jobs, some workers prefer to earn an associate degree. These two-year programs can provide a more comprehensive review of necessary knowledge and skills.
In addition, credits from an associate degree can often be transferred to a bachelor's degree program. This makes them a good choice for students who think they may want to further their education in the future.
An associate degree in health information technology is one example of a program available for those interested in working as a health care administrative support specialist.
A bachelor's degree in health administration or a related field is a requirement for medical and health services managers. Depending on the job duties, some employers may prefer to hire managers with a master's degree.
Some high-level health care professionals may prefer their executive medical secretary have a bachelor's degree as well.