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How to Become a Medical Office Assistant Online

Enza Nikalaidis

Medical office assistants are essential members of medical facilities such as doctor offices, hospitals, and more. By combining management, clinical, and administrative responsibilities, medical assisting can be a challenging but rewarding job. You may be interested in pursuing a career as a medical office assistant online, but how do you get started?

Here are steps on how to become a medical office assistant online:

  • Enroll in an online medical office assistant program
  • Complete your program
  • Apply for available roles
  • Use your skills in an everyday setting

If you want to learn what it takes to become a medical office assistant this guide will tell you everything you need to know, including the job responsibilities, skills needed, and educational background. By the time you're done reading, you'll be ready to choose a college and begin your MOA program online!

What are the Duties of a Medical Office Assistant?

A medical office assistant has a unique job. The role blends managerial, clinical, and administrative duties all under one title.

Let's review the daily job responsibilities of a medical office assistant so you can get a feel for what will be required.

Assisting During Patient Examinations

Doctors and nurses may ask medical office assistants to step in during a patient examination and help out.

You'll be well-versed in medical terminology and equipment to assist during these examinations and allow them to run smoothly.

Transcribing Treatment Notes

One of the most important responsibilities is transcribing treatments accurately. When a doctor or nurse prescribes a treatment for a patient you should be taking notes of what the treatment is, the dosage, and the duration of the treatment.

You can pass this information to other relevant medical staff or add it to the patient's file. 

Arranging Patient Hospital Stays

When a patient's condition is deemed serious enough to warrant a hospital visit, it may be your responsibility as a medical office assistant to check hospital availability and schedule a room for that patient.

Staying on Top of Hospital Inventory

Hospitals rely on a variety of medical equipment as well as everyday office items.

You may have to assist in tracking the current hospital inventory, note which items are running low, and order more before the items run out.

Billing and Invoicing

Patients will have to pay for their medical services, and as a medical office assistant, you'll be the one to bill them. You'll learn the facility's billing procedures, including when to send invoices out.

Cleaning and Organizing the Front Desk and Reception Area

The front desk and reception area are your domain, so you're expected to keep them clean, organized, and presentable.

You want to make a good impression on incoming patients, especially since the front desk and reception area are the first places in a medical facility they see.

Keeping the Staff Up-to-Date About Appointments for the Day

Doctors and nurses often have jam-packed schedules full of back-to-back appointments. As the day gets underway, it'd be your job to inform the medical staff about their patient obligations for the day.

Updating Patient Records

When a patient comes in and receives service at the medical facility, you have to update their records to reflect all the treatments they've currently received and have received in the past.

This way, when a doctor or nurse reviews that file, they get a full, comprehensive picture of the patient's health.

Answering Phone Calls and Responding to Emails

Another facet of your job as a medical office assistant is keeping up with office correspondence. When someone rings the front desk, you'll pick up the phone and redirect the person as needed.

You'll also monitor incoming emails and respond in a timely fashion.

What Skills Does a Medical Office Assistant Need?

Medical office assistants also need a subset of skills to exceed in their role, so let's take a look at those required skills now.

Basic Medical Skills

You should be well-versed in the basics of a medical office assistant.

You should have a strong grasp of anatomy and physiology as well as medical terminology as it relates to medical conditions, treatments, and equipment.

This will allow you to do your job with confidence and liaison with doctors, nurses, and other medical staff efficiently.

Technology Skills

As we discussed in the last section, your job will require you to use the computer for email correspondence as well as software for billing and invoicing.

Knowledge of how medical office software works will benefit you as you get started with your new career. Once you use this software regularly, you'll become a master in no time.

Attention to Detail

You can't miss a decimal point when invoicing a patient, nor can you skip a detail when writing down a patient's treatment records or relaying the schedules for the day to the medical staff.

You must have an eagle eye for the small and large details alike to excel as a medical office assistant.

Organizational and Planning Skills

Your job responsibilities require you to keep the front desk and reception area immaculate. More so than that, you have to manage doctor and nurse schedules, incoming and outgoing bills, and patient records.

Your organizational skills should be flawless so you can juggle these responsibilities without feeling overwhelmed.

Further, you have to be an excellent planner so you can ensure that there are no overlaps in a doctor's schedule or that a patient can get a hospital bed at a moment's notice.

Communication Skills

You'll communicate verbally and nonverbally all day with doctors, nurses, patients, patient's families, and medical staff. You have to be a clear, concise communicator who can get points across in an easily understood manner.

Friendliness and Patience

As one of the first faces a patient sees when they visit a hospital or doctor's office, yours must be a demeanor of friendliness through and through. You want to seem approachable so a patient is comfortable asking you questions.

As with any job, working as a medical office assistant does mean having difficult patients from time to time. You must always be patient even when the other person may not be.

How Do I Become a Medical Office Assistant?

If you're ready to become a medical office assistant after reviewing duties and skills, the next step is to find a program!

Enroll in an Online Medical Office Assistant Program

Many institutions offer certificate programs that provide the essential knowledge you will need for the medical assisting field. Then, it's up to you if you'd like to further your education to an associate's or even bachelor's level.

Apply for Available Roles

You've got your diploma, and now you're ready to begin applying for available medical office assistant roles.

Your job can take you to an assortment of job settings. For example, you could work in a dental office, a college or university (in the healthcare department), a behavioral health facility, a long-term care facility, a physician's office, a hospice center, or a hospital. 

Once you nail the interview, it shouldn't be long before you get a callback or several, and land the job of your dreams!

Use Your Skills in an Everyday Setting

You've just been offered your first job as a medical office assistant. You accept and soon begin working in a medical facility. Due to your time in an online college, you feel prepared to do your best in this job.

Looking to Enroll in a Medical Office Assistance Course Online?

If you're looking for an accredited college that offers medical office assistant courses online, Bryan College could be just the school for you.

Students who enroll in our MOA course online will complete their education in less than a year. You'll then be fully prepared to begin working as a medical office assistant!

Your time at Bryan College will be highly beneficial to your future career as you learn such invaluable skills as communications, medical billing (WSIB and others), medical procedure basics, patient intaking and scheduling, and medical inventory management.

You'll also learn how to maintain medical records and insurance forms, administrative workflows, how to handle medical emergencies, and how to use medical office software.

Enroll in Bryan College's Medical Office Assistant Program today!

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