What Does a Medical Office Assistant Do?

A medical office assistant is a key member of a healthcare team. They perform a variety of administrative and clinical tasks to keep the office running smoothly. If you are thinking of becoming a medical office assistant read on to learn more about the duties of this important role.

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Job Description

medical office assistants are responsible for a wide variety of administrative tasks in healthcare facilities. They play a vital role in keeping the office running smoothly and keeping the patients and medical staff organized.

Duties of a medical office assistant can include greeting patients, scheduling appointments, answering phone calls, handling patient inquiries, managing medical records and billing, taking vital signs, and providing support to the medical staff. They may also be responsible for ordering supplies, performing light clerical duties, and maintaining the cleanliness of the office.

Medical office assistants typically report to the office manager or a senior member of the staff. In some cases, they may work directly with physicians or other members of the medical team. They must be able to multitask effectively and handle a high volume of work with accuracy and precision. Strong communication skills are essential in this role, as is the ability to maintain confidentiality.

A medical office assistant typically needs at least a high school diploma or equivalent, although some jobs may require postsecondary education or certification. Many medical offices offer on-the-job training for new hires.

Duties and Responsibilities

Medical office assistants are critical members of the healthcare team, working behind the scenes to support doctors, nurses, and other medical staff. As the first point of contact for patients, they play a key role in managing appointments and keeping the office running smoothly. Medical office assistants also handle a variety of administrative tasks, from updating patient records to billing insurance companies.

While the specific duties of a medical office assistant vary from one workplace to another, there are some common responsibilities that are typically part of the job. These include:

Answering phones and routing calls
Scheduling appointments
Taking messages
Greeting patients and checking them in for their appointments
Collecting patient information (i.e., medical history, symptoms, insurance information)
Updating patient records
Maintaining files and organizing paperwork
Sending correspondence (e.g., referrals, test results)
Processing insurance claims
Billing patients and collecting payments

Skills and Qualifications

In order to work as a medical office assistant, you will need to have strong organizational, interpersonal, and communication skills. You will also need to be proficient in using computers and various software programs. Many employers will require that you have at least a high school diploma or equivalent, although some may prefer that you have completed a postsecondary training program.

Education and Training

Medical office assistants perform a variety of administrative and clinical tasks to support the work of physicians and other health care professionals. They might greet patients, schedule appointments, file insurance forms, prepare patients for examinations, and perform basic laboratory tests.


There are a number of ways to become a medical office assistant, but most employers prefer to hire candidates who have completed an accredited program and hold a current certification. The length of medical office assistant programs can vary, but most take between one and two years to complete. Some community colleges and technical schools offer evening and weekend classes to accommodate students who need to continue working while they complete their studies.

Medical office assistants typically learn through a combination of classroom instruction and hands-on training. Classroom instruction covers topics such as medical billing and coding, anatomy, physiology, and Medical Terminology Students also get training in using computer applications relevant to the medical office setting, such as Electronic Health Records (EHR) systems. Hands-on training is typically provided in on-campus clinics or labs, or through externships at local healthcare facilities.

Salary and Job Outlook

The average medical office assistant salary is $36,890 per year, or $17.73 per hour. The top 10% of earners make more than $50,000 per year, while the bottom 10% earn less than $28,000 per year. Job outlook for medical office assistants is positive, with an expected growth rate of 29% from 2019-2029.

Working Conditions

Medical office assistants work in a variety of settings, including doctor’s offices, clinics, hospitals, and insurance companies. They may be exposed to infectious diseases and hazardous materials. Some medical office assistants work long hours, evenings, weekends, and holidays.


Medical office assistants are integral members of the healthcare team. They perform a variety of administrative and clinical tasks to keep the office running smoothly.

Medical office assistants are employed in a variety of settings, including hospitals, clinics, physician’s offices, and insurance companies. They may work full-time or part-time hours. Some medical office assistants are self-employed and work as contract laborers.

Job Outlook

The job outlook for medical office assistants is positive. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects employment of medical secretaries will grow by 22 percent from 2010 to 2020, which is much faster than the average growth rate for all occupations. An aging population and advances in medical technology will continue to spur demand for medical office support services. Employment opportunities should be especially good for those with postsecondary education in medical office assisting.

Advancement Opportunities

Due to the nature of the work, medical office assistants are able to advance their careers by moving into management positions. With experience, medical office assistants may be promoted to positions such as office manager, lead medical office assistant, or senior medical office assistant. These positions typically have more responsibilities and may involve supervising other medical office assistants or training new employees. In some cases, medical office assistants may also be promoted to administrative positions in larger medical practices or hospitals.

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