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Medical Office Assistant Vs Medical Assistant: What's the Difference?

image of medical office assistant
Enza Nikalaidis

Because they sound so similar, many people often use the terms medical assistant and medical office assistant interchangeably. While both work in a medical setting, they are vastly different in terms of skill set, education, training, and more. If you’re interested in becoming a medical office assistant but are eager to learn more about the differences between a medical office assistant (MOA) and a medical assistant (MA), keep reading. 

Medical Office Assistant vs Medical Assistant - What Does Each Do?

As briefly mentioned above, both a medical office assistant and a medical assistant work in a medical setting. Typically you’ll find both MOAs and MAs in a primary physician’s office however additional settings include hospitals, assisted living facilities, rehabs, and long-term care homes. 

Here’s a brief overview of the main differences between a MOA and a MA:

What is a Medical Office Assistant?

Medical Office Assistants are responsible for providing administrative support to doctors and nursing staff to help keep the office running smoothly. 

Administrative work includes everything from answering phone calls and scheduling appointments to processing co-pays and data entry. 

Depending on the practice and how many people are employed, some medical office assistants may also be responsible for preparing a patient’s room and performing routine medical tasks such as taking their vital signs. 

What is a Medical Assistant?

A medical assistant (MA) is someone who also works in a medical setting but is primarily responsible for taking a patient’s vitals, recording a patient’s height and weight, jotting down a list of their ailments to pass along to the physician, and preparing the exam room and disinfecting medical tools. 

How Medical Office Assistant Responsibilities Differ Between the U.S. and Canada

It’s important to note that, in Canada, most medical office assistants perform a mix of clerical and medical-related tasks. 

In the United States, a medical office assistant does not perform any medical-related service to patients without the proper skills and education training. 

How to Become a Medical Office Assistant in Canada

If you’re considering a career as a medical office assistant in Canada, the good news is that most employers only require one year of post-secondary experience to start working. 

In other words, a medical office assistant program, such as Bryan College’s Medical Office Assistant Diploma Program, is all it takes to begin your rewarding career as a medical office assistant. 

To be eligible for a medical office assistant program in Canada, you must be 18 or older and have earned a high school diploma or equivalent. 

Though Canada doesn’t require formal education or certification for medical office assistants, doing so can improve your chances of getting hired. If you enroll in the 37-week online medical office assistant course from Bryan College, you’ll develop the skills employers are looking for, including but not limited to:

  • Medical Coding
  • Medical Terminology
  • Medical Billing
  • Medical Records
  • Administrative Policies and Procedures
  • Diagnostic Procedures
  • Medical Procedures
  • Body Systems
  • Patient Intake Procedures

You’ll also be given a Medical Practice Kit, so you can safely practice at home. This medical practice kit includes a transcription headset, blood pressure cuff, and stethoscope. 

During the program, you’ll need to clock 740 hours including tasks such as creating payroll, CPR, how to conduct thorough patient assessments, and more. 

Enroll at ​​Bryan College to Start Your Online Medical Office Assistant Classes Today 

If you love working with people and have been complimented on your interpersonal skills and strong attention to detail in the past, then a rewarding career as a medical office assistant may be right for you. 

With Bryan College’s Online Medical Office Assistant Diploma Program, you’ll develop the soft and hard skills needed to succeed in this industry. Opportunities for medical office assistants are popping up all over Canada at local physician offices, hospitals, behavioral health agencies, colleges, dental practices, hospice care, and more. 

To begin your medical office assistant journey, we welcome you to call our admissions staff at 1-888-641-6300 or send a request on our website. Once you do, a member of our admissions team will reach out to you to discuss the medical office assistant program, how much tuition is, and how you can enroll. 

While you may be interested in getting a job because you need one, working as a medical office assistant is its own reward. It takes someone special to dedicate themselves to helping others. We’re excited to see where your new journey takes you! 

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