Due to the projected growth of medical office jobs, there has never been a better time to consider shifting into the field.
This technical vocation has multiple career types and disciplines to choose from. In this guide, we will discuss the types of medical office jobs thriving in today’s healthcare industry, plus the skills, education, and general career path needed to qualify for each.
Perks of Office Careers in the Medical Field
Medical office job opportunities can provide a range of benefits — both professionally and personally.
- High demand:The healthcare field is estimated to be one of the fastest-growing industries in the country through 2022 and beyond. In fact, healthcare practitioners, technicians, and support-assistant positions are expected to add over 1.7 million new jobs nationwide by 2022 alone, a rate that translates into 21 to 28 percent total occupational growth. The industry’s explosive demand is due to several variables, namely the U.S.’s aging population requiring more medical assistance, plus advancements in treatment options underscoring the need for expanded medical research and infrastructure.
- Benefits: The medical field reports competitive benefits packages, including employee health insurance, dental insurance, vision insurance, paid vacation and sick days, vision, and retirement.
- Education stipends: Many employers in the medical field offer potential tuition reimbursement or education stipends to employees gaining advanced certificates and Diplomas.
- Career entry: Medical offices support one of the most diverse spectrums of jobs and role types in any modern industry. Given the range of careers necessary for a medical office to function, employers accept a range of applicants with various skills and technical aptitudes, including positions that require certificates candidates can receive in a year or less.
- Meaningful work: Working in the medical industry means you manage others’ health and happiness every single day you step into the office. Your job places you in the center of peoples’ lives, providing care and compassion during some of their most vulnerable moments. Given this environment, few people find themselves questioning the impact they have when working in the medical field.
Types of Jobs in Medical Offices
Careers in the medical field are incredibly diverse. Many prominent positions in medical offices fall on the administrative side. Others provide direct or supportive care to patients. All, however, are instrumental in creating a comfortable, professional atmosphere where real people find expertise, answers, and support within their personal lives.
Some of the most common types of jobs in medical offices are:
1. Medical Insurance Billing and Coding (MIBC)
Medical insurance billers and coders are the office experts at creating, filing, and managing medical records within an office’s health information system.
As a MIBC specialist, your main responsibilities include:
- Processing electronic health records.
- Receiving, analyzing, coding, and processing insurance claims.
- Liaising with insurance providers, doctors, consultants, and patients.
- Maintaining compliance with medical industry personally identifiable information (PII) storage and sharing standards.
- Using and navigating medical billing software.
- Interfacing via phone, email, and in-person with patients regarding medical records and billings.
Medical insurance billing and coding Diplomas and certificates can be achieved in one year as a full-time student enrolled at an accredited university.
2. Medical Lab Technician
Medical lab technicians are responsible for drawing and testing fluids, tissues, and other bodily substances after such tests are deemed necessary by a nurse or doctor.
Lab technicians work with special medical laboratory equipment to analyze collected samples and record findings in appropriate records systems. Alongside their core lab testing responsibilities, medical lab technicians will also:
- Discuss documented test findings with physicians, nurses, and qualified caregivers.
- Maintain laboratory equipment and general facilities.
- Remain fluent and up-to-date in the latest research and terminology across human anatomy, physiology, phlebotomy, chemistry, and microbiology.
Lab technicians can work in a variety of medical environments, from traditional hospitals and clinics to university research centers, blood banks, and biotech corporations. To qualify as a practicing medical lab technician, you must obtain an associate’s degree from an accredited program, with the addition of a lab technician license in some states.
3. Medical Administrative Assistant
Medical administrative assistants perform several significant front and back-office operations for medical facilities. Reporting to the medical office manager, an administrative assistant executes many of the following duties:
- Welcoming, greeting, and corresponding with patients within and outside the office.
- Scheduling and managing appointments in-person, over the telephone, and through electronic scheduling systems.
- Accessing and reviewing an office’s health information system, namely for document retrieval and coding.
- Receiving and filing insurance claims.
- Maintaining the office’s overall health information and document management system.
- Upholding general office accounting and billing operations.
Medical administrative assistants may also be referred to as medical secretaries or medical receptionists. Regardless of the title, both perform vital clerical and operational tasks keeping the ward, clinic, or facility running smoothly.
4. Medical Office Manager
As the name implies, medical office managers are charged with the daily governance, operations, and overall facilitation of a medical facility’s business operations.
These individuals helm several domains, including but not limited to:
- Overseeing a facility’s compliance with government regulations, insurance procedures, medical innovations, pharmaceutical developments, and legal operations.
- Scheduling, coordinating, and supervising non-clinical employees.
- Strategizing new processes to improve business systems and streamline office costs.
- Spearheading non-clinical staff training and development.
- Providing final approvals on office budgets, supply and purchasing orders, and billings.
- Stepping in for administrative assistants and billing and coders for appropriate insurance filing activities.
Those with medical office manager titles typically enter this role with a heath care administration certificate or degree.
5. Dental Assistant
Dental assistants provide auxiliary support and patient-care services in dental offices.
This medical role is pivotal in a well-run, efficient dentist practice, working alongside dentists and hygienists to manage and execute back-office work.
Among a dental assistant’s core responsibilities are:
- Assisting dentists and hygienists with patient procedures.
- Handling dental impressions.
- Preparing treatment rooms and dental instruments.
- Processing radiographs.
- Performing intra-oral and extra-oral examinations.
- Sterilizing and maintaining dental facility laboratory equipment for various patient tests.
Dental assistants typically require one to two years of education, with degrees or diplomas available through traditional or online-hybrid instruction.
6. Medical Assistant
Medical assistants are a key position in nearly every healthcare facility, from urgent care and ambulatory facilities to private family practices.
As a medical assistant, daily roles and responsibilities include:
- Documenting a patient’s medical history.
- Prepping patients for examinations or procedures.
- Liaising on treatment options and medications.
- Running and documenting laboratory tests.
- Drawing blood samples.
- Taking patient vitals.
- Assisting physicians across exams or procedures.
Demand for clinical medical assistants is on the rise, with job openings and diploma programs increasing nationwide to meet this demand.
7. Medical Interpreter
Medical interpreters act as a translator between physicians, nurses, medical assistants, or office professionals and limited English proficiency (LED) patients or the deaf or hard-of-hearing.
Also known as health care interpreters, this medical office worker is invaluable in providing high quality, patient-centered care at hospitals, clinics, and other health facilities. Medical interpreters ensure patients understand their doctor during their visit, answer patient or family members’ questions, relay lab results or prescription information, and break down any nurse or doctor’s instructions.
On the other side, healthcare interpreters help protect medical facilities from liability issues related to patient neglect or miscommunication as well as deliver in-demand, culturally competent services.
8. Pharmacy Technician
In clinics or hospitals with their own connected pharmacies, pharmacy technicians assist pharmacists across refill, transaction, and customer service tasks.
Pharmacy technicians provide a gamut of services both behind-the-scenes as well as interfacing with patients, such as:
- Dispensing prescriptions and refills.
- Filing and maintaining patient prescription information and medical history.
- Handling insurance company claims.
- Conducting more pharmaceutical office and operational activities.
State-by-state requirements vary to become a pharmacy technician. However, most individuals preparing for this career receive certificates or diplomas in pharmacy technician administration to stand out from other candidates and increase their starting salaries.
The demand for nurses alone is expected to increase by 15 percent by 2026, making it one of the top prospective job fields in healthcare and across all industries.
Those interested in nursing have several career paths to explore, including two nursing careers with particularly flexible education routes: becoming a licensed practical (LP) or vocational nurse (LV).
Both LPNs and LVNs perform basic nursing and checkup care, including taking patient vitals, providing initial wound assessments, and documenting checkup details into an office’s health information system. The only major difference between LPNs and LVNs is based on where you live. In Texas and California, the term “vocational nurse” is more common, whereas the majority of other states employ licensed practical nurse titles.
Tops Skills for Office Jobs in the Medical Field
Entering a medical office career will require a formal certification or diploma from an accredited institution. However, excelling in this field takes more than a slip of paper. You will need certain traits, skills, and characteristics to thrive in many types of medical office jobs today, including:
- Communication and interpersonal skills: Clinical and administrative medical professionals alike should possess an ability to articulate, express, and understand medical concepts clearly and empathetically. They should be able to deliver relevant medical processes and information to a wide variety of people and demographics, as well as practice professional telephone, email, and face-to-face customer-service etiquette.
- Stress management skills:Medical facilities can be high-stress environments. Working in a medical role requires confidence and level-headedness to provide patient caregiving calmly and assuredly, even when pressed for time.
- Empathy: Every type of medical office role contributes to a patient’s overall experience. Medical office workers must continually strive to nurture the best environment for patients and families through a caring, understanding, and approachable demeanor.
- Organizational skills: Clerical and administrative office roles, in particular, require systems-oriented, linear thinking, and execution skills.
- Dependability: Medical office staff needs to be internally motivated, task-focused, and diligent in their work. Minor errors in coding, filing, or insurance billings cause massive headaches for the office and patient alike.
- Emotional intelligence: High emotional intelligence lends the ability to “read a room,” understanding the best way to manage your own feelings as well as the feelings of patients across situations. High emotional intelligence also benefits all types of medical office roles by improving the way you deliver medical information, ask questions, and guide patients through decisions and paperwork.
- Non-judgemental personality: All people employed in the medical field must be able to separate personal beliefs from patient caregiving, upholding the dignity and autonomy of the patient. Medical office employees of all types must prioritize mutual respect and compassion regardless of a patient’s lifestyle, disposition, history, or current medical situation.
How to Get a Job in a Medical Office
There is no single, definitive path to landing a job in a medical office. However, there are recommended steps to take and items to consider early in your healthcare career — including the following:
- Understand your real motivations: Are you passionate about a job helping others? Do you prefer working with computers or enjoy math and science? Perhaps you are looking for a stable salary with good benefits for your family. Understanding the exact motivations for working in healthcare will help guide the role or position suited for you. In return, you will be a happier, more motivated employee, which benefits the entire office.
- Weigh the pros and cons: Like any job, there are undeniable benefits and considerations to weigh before applying. Medical office job pros include a stable profession within an in-demand field, good pay, competitive benefits, and flexible certification and Diploma options, including online courses. On the other hand, medical offices tend to be high-stress professional environments with the possibility of non-traditional shifts and work hours during nights and weekends.
- Consider your ideal medical office environment: The daily pace, responsibilities, and skills demanded by your role will often be determined by what kind of medical office you are in. For example, a hospice office will be very different than a NICU’s, just as working in a small, rural community clinic will differ from a large urban hospital. People entering the medical field must be honest about what kind of work environment suits them, then filter jobs and applications accordingly.
- Research suitable diploma and certificate programs: Finally, you must determine what kind of healthcare education fits your lifestyle. Accredited programs in your area will offer degrees, diplomas, and certificates, each with their own course demands and graduation timelines. Research which education type is needed for your desired career in a medical office. Next, consider if an online, in-person, or hybrid program is best to acquire that diploma or certificate. Online healthcare programs are often the more flexible route, particularly for those working full-time or supporting families.
- Enroll: Contact your chosen institution to start your application, inquire about financial aid, sit in on classes, and begin transferring credits you may have from high school, college, or similar institutions.