Online Associate in Medical Office Administration Programs 2021

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Introduction to Medical Office Administration Programs

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To perform vital, life-saving work, every medical facility needs reliable medical office administrators. These professionals ensure things run smoothly in an office by keeping track of medical records, stocking medical supplies, helping with billing, and performing patient scheduling. This work requires medical procedures and terminology knowledge, so most employers call for at least an associate in medical office administration to perform this role.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports a $36,580 median annual wage for this occupation, and about 604,780 individuals in America work in this position. Keep reading to learn more about medical office administration careers, the projected job outlook, and the education requirements.

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Understanding Medical Office Administration Programs

  • What can you do with a medical office administration degree?

    Medical office administration degree-seekers may work as medical office administrators, receptionists, or secretaries. They find employment at doctors’ offices, hospitals, rehabilitation facilities, and dentist offices.

  • How long does it take to get a degree in medical office administration?

    Most medical office administration positions require at least an associate degree. This takes full-time learners about two years to complete.

  • What is a medical office administrator?

    A medical office administrator uses industry terminology knowledge to perform essential secretarial and administrative duties. Some of these professionals oversee payroll, schedule patient appointments, and organize medical records.

  • Is medical office administration in demand?

    The BLS projects a 5% decline in office and administrative support jobs between 2019-2029. However, the BLS also projects healthcare professional jobs, in general, to grow 15% during the same timeframe.

Why Get a Degree in Medical Office Administration?

While the BLS projects a 5% decline in the job outlook for office and administrative support professionals between 2019-2029, data reports that the industry still needs a new workforce as current professionals retire. Additionally, medical office administrators may experience more job openings than other office administrators in the future due to the increased need for medical professionals.

Pursuing a medical office administration associate degree allows learners to quickly and affordably enter the workforce. Many community colleges offer two-year degrees in this subject. Additionally, students can complete the degree entirely online. Community college and online programs generally offer lower tuition rates than private four-year universities.

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How Much Does a Medical Office Administration Degree Cost?

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average annual cost at a public two-year institution measured to $10,281. However, the average yearly price for a two-year degree at a private institution averaged $25,596 during the same academic year. These figures include tuition, fees, and room and board.

Many factors influence a medical office administration degree’s cost. Comparing tuition between multiple colleges allows learners to form a realistic estimate. For example, some schools offer lower tuition rates for online learners. Additionally, online learners save money on commuting, room and board, student activity fees, and campus maintenance fees.

Prospective learners can lower tuition costs with financial aid. The FAFSA allows students to apply for multiple government grants and loans through one form. The application takes about 45 minutes to complete and requires tax information. Students who file their taxes under a dependent status must enter their guardian’s financial information.

Calculating the Cost of a College Degree

To make a realistic college budget, learners must calculate their total degree cost. Below, we provide an affordability calculator to help learners find colleges within their budget. Users simply type in their income after taxes and the calculator reveals a suggested maximum amount to spend on college.

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How Much Do Medical Office Administration Majors Make?

Based on BLS data, medical secretaries and administrative assistants earn a $36,580 median annual salary. The BLS also estimates a $26,180 median annual salary for earners in the bottom 10 percentile. For earners in the top 90 percentile, the median salary estimate rose to $53,230 per year.

Work experience also impacts pay. March 2021 PayScale data reports that individuals with less than one year of experience in this field earn a $13.78 average hourly rate. In contrast, professionals with more than 20 years of medical office administration experience earn an average $20.33 hourly rate. These rates may also vary by location. For example, medical assistants in larger cities might earn more than the same professionals working in rural areas. Professionals who want to earn more should consider pursuing an advanced degree in the field.

Courses in Medical Office Administration

Through their studies, medical office administration students develop interpersonal communication skills and learn how to use software for billing and patient scheduling. Certain associate in medical office administration programs may allow students to select a concentration, such as medical coding or insurance billing. Learners graduate with the ability to provide a seamless check-in process for patients, keep medical supplies stocked, and accurately accept and document payments.

Most associate courses feature lecture-based learning and multiple-choice exams. Additionally, associate programs rarely require a thesis or capstone project. Below, we discuss three courses that offer a sample of the degree’s typical curriculum.

In this course, learners discover how to provide exceptional aid for patients through the check-in process. The class examines patient questionnaires and how to handle complaints properly. Many patient communication courses discuss interpersonal communication theories and the importance of active listening.

Students in a software for medical office administration course learn how to use platforms like Envoy, AdvancedEHR, and Kareo Billing for patient check-in and payment processing. Learners also evaluate the program’s efficiency so they can make educated recommendations for future employers. This course also teaches students how to transfer patient data from an old platform to a new platform.

A billing and coding course teaches students how to apply billing codes for insurance purposes accurately. Learners discover which codes correlate with specific medical procedures. A billing and coding course also requires class participants to memorize medical terminology. A portion of the course discusses medical ethics and the importance of keeping medical records secure.

Certifications and Licensure for Medical Office Administration

To position themselves as competitive job candidates, aspiring office administrators may earn certifications or licenses. Certifications vary from academic certificates. Certifications substantiate professional achievement, and professional organizations and companies issue these accolades. Certifications usually require an exam and online learning modules, while certificates require actual college courses. Take a look at these common certifications for medical office administrators.

Certified Coding Associate

The American Health Information Management Association provides this certification to aspiring medical coders and medical office administrators. Before taking the certification exam, the organization suggests applicants attain six months of coding experience and complete coding training on medical terminology. Nonmembers pay $299 to take the exam, while members benefit from a $199 discounted fee.

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Certified Medical Administrative Specialist

Learners who pursue this certification must pass an exam covering topics such as managing medical records, coding, billing, and insurance processing. The American Medical Technologists association oversees the exam and application process and provides professionals with study materials and resources.

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National Certified Medical Office Assistant

The National Center for Competency Testing provides this certification for medical office assistants. Current students must pay a $90 exam fee. The test features questions focusing on communication, medical office computer applications, scheduling, medical records, and general office upkeep. In 2020, this exam yielded a 74% pass rate.

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Scholarships for Medical Office Administration

Learners should apply for multiple scholarships to fund an associate in medical office administration. Scholarships typically require an essay, recommendation letters, references, and official transcripts. Below, we highlight two scholarships reserved for learners studying medical office administration or a related degree.

  • Medical Group Management Association Leaders Scholarship

    Who Can Apply: Applicants must enroll in an undergraduate or graduate program related to medical practice management, such as medical office administration. Candidates must also hold MGMA membership.

    Amount: $2,500-$5,000

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  • Medical Group Management Association Section Scholarships

    Who Can Apply: MGMA offers various regional scholarships, including the Midwest, Southern, and Western Section scholarships, to students pursuing a medical practice management degree. Applicants must reside in eligible states to apply for each regional scholarship.

    Amount: $2,500

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Online Associate in Medical Office Administration Programs 2021

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