FAQ: What Is a Medical Office Administration Certificate?

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published November 27, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Medical office administrators are professionals who maintain patient records and schedule appointments. They collaborate with nurses and doctors and help instruct patients on the check-in process and which documents they may need when visiting the doctor. If you're a medical office administrator or you want to become one, earning a certificate can help you advance your career.

In this article, we explain what a medical office administration certificate is, describe what a medical office administrator does, discover the benefits of earning a certificate, detail what you can expect when earning one, explore important medical office administrator skills, review where you can pursue a certificate, and list what you can do with this certificate.

What is a medical office administration certificate?

A medical office administration certificate is a program that can prepare you to work in the medical administration field. Coursework in a medical office administration program may emphasize the clinical, organizational and communication skills that can be helpful in providing patient care. You might learn how to manage financial and medical records and process medical insurance, billing, and coding documents. Earning a certificate in medical office administration can prepare you to schedule appointments and manage the daily operations of a health care facility.

Related: 10 Medical Administration Jobs in the Health Care Industry

What does a medical office administrator do?

Medical office administrators can go by many names depending on where they work and the size of the office. They often manage the scheduling, organization, and introductory part of the patient care process, which allows the medical staff, like doctors and nurses, to focus on interacting with patients. These are some common tasks medical office administrators may complete during a normal workday:

  • greeting patients when they enter the office

  • helping patients through the check-in process

  • advising patients about the documentation necessary

  • taking inventory and ordering medical supplies

  • instructing patients on where to wait

  • collecting information from patients to complete charts

  • providing guidance and leadership to other office staff

  • processing documentation and orders

Related: Guide to Online Office Administration Courses (with Tips)

What are the benefits of earning an office administration certificate?

These are some benefits you may experience if you earn an office administration certificate:

Qualification for more positions

Earning a certificate can help you improve your resume and show your skills and abilities in medical office administration. Some hiring managers may prefer candidates with office administration certificates, or may even make it a requirement for the role. If you're currently searching for a new position, earning a certificate may help you become more qualified for more open positions, which can make it easier to find one that suits you.

Related: 8 Administration Certifications Online (With FAQS)

Advantage during the hiring process

Though some hiring teams may require a certificate, others may not list it as a necessary component in the job listing. Earning a certificate can still benefit you in this situation, as it may help you separate yourself from the other candidates. For example, if you and another candidate have an identical experience, skills, and education, it may be difficult for the hiring team to determine which of you is best for the role. If you have a certificate and the other candidate doesn't, it can help give you an advantage and increase your chance of the hiring team selecting you.

Related: 6 Medical Assistant Certifications to Advance Your Career

Potential raise at your current position

If you're currently working as a medical office administrator, earning the certificate may help you negotiate a higher wage or salary. Consider speaking with your manager or leader to learn about how a certificate may help you earn more. Some organizations may even pay for you to receive the certificate, then increase your pay once you have it.

Related: How to Write a Medical Office Assistant Resume (With Tips)

Ability to move to a new position

You may be working in a role adjacent to a medical office administrator, and earning the certificate may help you show you're capable of moving to a new position. For example, a medical office assistant may earn a certificate to show their skills and knowledge when the position opens up within the organization. Leaders may see your willingness to complete a certificate and see that you're a good candidate for a promotion or new position.

Related: A Guide to Administrative Certifications (With Examples)

Enhanced knowledge and understanding

Medical office administration courses offer thorough training on many aspects of the administration role. While completing the program, you can learn about proper ways to document information, how to protect private details and the best methods for managing an office. Earning a certificate can help you perform better in your role and further develop your administration skills.

Related: What Does a Medical Office Assistant Do? (With FAQs)

What can you expect from medical office administration programs?

Students in medical office administration programs often gain an understanding of medical terminology, medical coding, medical billing, and bookkeeping principles that are specific to the health care industry. They can learn how to use medical software and electronic health records to store medical information and interact with patients. Coursework may include keyboarding, HIPAA regulations, medical office terms, workplace ethics, medical-legal issues, and insurance billing. Here are some common classes a program can offer:

  • medical office management

  • introduction to medical assistance

  • billing and coding procedures

  • credentials and employment

  • introduction to health science

  • first aid

  • fundamentals of administrative medical assistance

  • general psychology

These classes emphasize the management of the daily operations of a health care facility and the knowledge to provide patient care. You may specialize your certificate in specific areas like medical billing and coding or dental office administration. A medical office certificate usually takes nine months to two years of full-time study to complete, although some schools may offer accelerated programs. You might choose an online, in-person, or hybrid program.

Related: Medical Office Assistant Interview Questions and Sample Answers

Which skills are important for medical office administration?

A medical administration program can teach you both technical and interpersonal skills related to the job. Graduates often understand basic administrative procedures that are specific to medical workplaces. Here are some skills you might learn after completing a program in medical administration:

  • knowledge of anatomy and physiology

  • communication

  • medical terminology

  • office procedures

  • infection and disease control

  • organization

  • customer service

  • management of electronic records

Related: Cover Letter for a Medical Office Assistant Example (With Steps)

Where can you get a medical office administration certificate?

Most students earn their medical administration certificates from a program within a university or college. Because there's flexibility with how and where you can test for a medical office administration certification, there are usually many options. You might consider a program's cost, length, accreditation, coursework, and location when deciding where to get your medical administration certificate. Some places that offer medical office administration programs and certification testing are:

  • universities

  • colleges

  • online schools

  • career institutes

Related: What Is Administrative Work? (With Definition and Skills)

What can you do with a medical administration certificate?

An office administration certificate can prepare you to enter the medical field in a variety of front-office positions at public or private medical practices. Candidates with a certificate in medical office administration may qualify for many positions, including:

  • Medical administrative assistant: In this role, professionals communicate with medical staff and patients to schedule and confirm appointments. They enter information into the computer and prepare materials for doctors and other administrators to review.

  • Medical records and health information technician: Health record technicians obtain information about patients and organize it within their patient records. This helps medical professionals have a clear and accurate history of the patient's history and medication.

  • Medical secretary: A medical secretary is like a general secretary, except they often have access to privileged information. The secretary may greet patients, schedule appointments, and answer the office phone.

  • Medical transcriptionist: In this role, transcriptionists listen to audio files from doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals and convert the information into writing.

  • Medical receptionist: Medical receptionists are like medical secretaries and administrative assistants in their job duties. The name of the role and specific duties may change based on the size and scope of the practice for which the medical receptionist works.

  • Health unit coordinator: A health unit coordinator may work within a large health care facility. In this role, you may manage patient information databases, organize appointment information, compile chart information, transcribe physicians' orders, and prepare materials like death and birth certificates.

Related articles

How to Write a Medical Coding and Billing Resume (Example)

Explore more articles