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What are the Trainings and Skills Needed to Become a Medical Office Assistant?

A person types on a computer with a stethoscope on the desk next to them
Enza Nikalaidis

To succeed as a medical office assistant in Canada, you need the right soft skills. These skills include everything from great attention to detail to excellent customer service and communication skills, as you are often the first person that patients, doctors, and drug reps see when they visit the office. 

By obtaining your medical office assistant training, you can develop both the soft and technical skills you need to succeed in this industry. Keep reading for a helpful overview of the medical office assistant skills you’ll develop when you pursue this educational path. 

What Does a Medical Office Assistant Do? 

A medical office assistant provides administrative support to a medical facility. Their primary functions include but aren’t limited to greeting patients and drug reps, scanning and updating insurance cards, maintaining patient records, checking blood pressure, scheduling and canceling patient appointments, and ordering office supplies. 

They also conduct routine administrative work like faxing, shredding, and uploading patient documents into their online database. Depending on the facility, some medical office assistants may prep patient exam rooms, as well, ensuring they are clean and ready to go for the next appointment. 

Like other healthcare roles such as nursing, medical office assistants are needed in a variety of healthcare settings. As such, you will find employment opportunities at local physician offices, hospitals, rehabs, outpatient care facilities, clinics, laboratories, and home healthcare facilities. 

What Skills Does a Medical Office Assistant Need? 

There is a wide range of medical office assistant skills you need to succeed, regardless of whether you’re working in a hospital, lab, or pediatric facility setting. Though there are many to choose from, here are the top six: 


As briefly mentioned above, as a medical office assistant, you will usually be the first person that patients and visitors see upon entering the practice, as well as when they call. 

As such, you need to possess excellent communication skills that help put patients at ease and help solve problems that may arise, such as another facility failing to send records over. 

Knowledge of Medical Terminology 

Though you will not be able to give out test results, having a basic understanding of medical terminology, such as BL for bloodwork, EMS for emergency medical services, and BMP for basic metabolic panel can ensure that you’re helping patients schedule the right appointments or providing clarification, such as when a customer asks what a BMP stands for on their script. 

Furthermore, this knowledge can come in handy when communicating with doctors who often use medical jargon. 

Adheres to Confidentiality

Patients have a right to privacy in a healthcare setting, so you should be able to adhere to this promise of confidentiality when speaking with patients on the phone and at the front desk, as well as when uploading their records into a database. 

Computer Skills 

As a medical office assistant, you will spend the majority of your day on a computer. Because of this, one of the medical office assistant skills you need to possess is computer literacy. 

This literacy extends to being able to successfully use an electronic health record system, as well as internet browsing to find contact information for other healthcare facilities. You should also possess basic diagnostic skills to resolve common computer problems. 

Time Management 

Medical facilities run on a strict schedule to make sure that patients are receiving the quality care they need. As such, you need to be able to manage your time well so that patients can quickly do things like check-in, register a new patient, and schedule appointments and diagnostic scans. 

Vital Signs and Other Medical Workflows

With medical office assistant training comes the subsequent knowledge of vital signs and how to participate in medical workflow procedures not limited to taking blood pressure and other in-room practices. 

As briefly mentioned above, medical office assistants are not just responsible for preparing a patient’s room, but the patient themselves for when the doctor arrives. This includes entering their medical info into an electronic record system, taking blood pressure, and listening to their heart. All of these medical office assistant skills are developed with an online training program. 

At Bryan College, each student is sent an at-home medical practice kit that includes a 

 stethoscope, and blood pressure cuff. The ability to practice these techniques prepares you for your day-to-day in a healthcare setting upon completion of the program. 

How to Become a Medical Office Assistant in Canada

Starting your career as a medical office assistant in Canada is easy. All you have to do is enroll in a medical office assistant training program, such as the one available at Bryan College. 

Our training program consists of eight courses taken over eight and a half months, or 37 weeks. Your courses cover topics such as Medical Terminology, Body Systems and Disease, Introduction to Computers, Applications and Keyboarding, and Introduction to Medical Office Assisting. 

In total, you will need to clock 740 hours. Upon successful completion of our medical office assistant training program, you can start pursuing employment opportunities. Healthcare services are always in demand, regardless of current economic status, so opportunities abound. 

Whether you want to work with children, the elderly, or the general population, there are endless opportunities for you when you complete a medical office assistant training program in Toronto, Canada. 

Develop the Medical Office Assistant Skills You Need With Bryan College

Are you ready to dive into the rewarding world of medical office assisting? If so, the admissions team at Bryan College can help you get enrolled. 

Our medical office assistant training program will help you develop the technical and soft medical office assistant skills you need to succeed in this role and stick out to employers. Request info today by contacting us at 1-888-641-6300. 

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