Lots of people who are interested in medical office assistant training think that there’s only one career path to consider: medical administration. Though it’s a great choice, it’s not the only one. In this post, we’ll clarify the three different career paths people might be referring to when they say “medical office assistant.”
1. Medical Administrative Assistant
This is probably the most straightforward answer to the question, “What kind of medical office assistant training is available?” A medical administrative assistant handles the front- and back-office tasks around a medical facility. This job is different from a typical clerical position because it requires special medical office assistant training – medical administrative assistants need to know medical terminology, and they need to be able to use industry-specific computer programs and software. Most medical administrative assistants also know some medical billing and coding. They interact with patients, organize medical records, maintain doctors’ schedules, and do other work to keep the office running.
Go for this kind of medical office assistant training if you are organized and capable of multitasking. Doctors need medical administrative assistants to be efficient and tidy, because a disorganized office isn’t just inconvenient – it also sends a negative message to incoming patients.
2. Medical Billing and Coding
The second type of medical office assistant training you can get is in medical billing and coding. Medical coding is the application of alphanumeric codes to patients’ conditions and doctors’ treatments, procedures and prescriptions. These codes are used to unify and simplify the communication pathways between medical care centers and payment organizations (insurance, Medicare and Medicaid, etc.). After medical office assistant training in billing and coding, you can work to become a Certified Professional Coder (CPC) and work for a medical care center or insurance organization.
Choose this type of training if you’re patient and detail-oriented. Medical billing and coding also requires problem-solving skills; you’ll need to figure out which part of the medical document needs to be coded for. Medical billing and coding appeals to many people seeking medical office assistant training because after a few years on the job, you may be able to start working from home part- or full-time. This flexibility appeals to people with children and spouses of people who travel for work.
3. Medical Assistant
Some people think of a medical office as the entire doctors’ practice and aren’t actually looking for an “office job.” These people aren’t really seeking medical office assistant training – they’re looking for medical assistant training. Medical assistants do different things depending on who they work for and in what part of the country, but their responsibilities include performing routine measurements of vital signs (blood pressure, weight, temperature), minor lab tests (cultures for bacteria), interviewing patients, taking down medical histories, etc. Some medical assistants are also phlebotomists.
Choose this type of training if you like the more hands-on side of medicine and you don’t mind interacting with patients in the exam room. Medical assistants have the greatest variety of tasks, so if you’re easily bored, this is the career for you.
Hopefully, this post has cleared up some of the misconceptions about medical office assistant training (and what really isn’t medical office assistant training). Contact ACHT for more details about these career paths!