Medical Administrative Assistant Career Overview

Career Overview: Medical Administrative Assistant

Medical administrative assistants, also called administrative medical assistants, are a specialized type of medical assistant. These MAs focus on the administrative activities that make a clinical office run smoothly.

Medical administrative assistants are in high demand in the medical field as medical offices, like other offices, need to be run by administrative personnel.

What Do Medical Administrative Assistants Do?

Administrative MAs may work in a variety of environments, including:

  • Hospitals
  • Clinics
  • Physician’s Offices
  • Outpatient Medical Facilities
  • Offices of Chiropractors
  • Offices of Optometrists
  • Podiatrist Offices
  • Specialty Clinics

Administrative medical assistants usually work in a clean, safe, and well-lit environment.

Duties of Administrative Medical Assistants

Administrative MAs are essential to the efficient operation of an office. They make sure physicians see the right patients at the right times, ensure patients remember their appointments, ensure insurance forms are filled out correctly, and often perform any task that does not involve medical treatments or procedures.

Some tasks of a medical administrative assistant might include:

  • Updating Patient Records
  • Answering Phones
  • Collecting Patient Payments
  • Billing
  • Bookkeeping
  • Greeting Patients
  • Filling Out and Submitting Insurance Forms
  • Scheduling Hospital Admissions
  • Sorting Mail
  • Scheduling Laboratory Testing

Medical administrative responsibilities may extend beyond administrative tasks, though. Many of these MAs, particularly those who work in small clinics, also perform some of the duties of a clinical medical assistant. More information can be found in a general medical assistant job description.

Administrative Training

Although some employers prefer to train their own administrative MAs, this practice is becoming rare. Employers increasingly prefer formally trained administrative medical assistants who have graduated from accredited medical assisting schools. Most administrative MAs pursue diploma programs, certificate programs, or associate’s degree programs.

Diploma and certificate programs can usually be completed within one year. An associate’s degree program can take up to two years, and involves slightly more advanced training. These career-focused programs include job-specific courses such as:

  • Office Procedures
  • Computer Operations
  • Anatomy
  • Filing
  • Biology
  • Pharmacology
  • Bookkeeping

Diploma and certificate programs have few, if any, general course requirements, since the focus of these programs is to teach the specific responsibilities of administrative MAs.

An associate’s degree, by contrast, usually has a moderate portion of general course material along with core-specific courses. These programs impart a broader education that can be applied toward more advanced degrees later on.

Many community and junior colleges, vocational schools, and technical schools offer administrative medical assisting programs. The most reputable schools are accredited by either the Accreditation Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) or the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).

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