Earning an Online Medical Office Administration Certificate

What You’ll Learn & What You Can Do After Graduation

A medical office administrator manages the administrative duties and clinical tasks in a medical practitioner's office. These administrators often work in hospitals, physician's offices, and other healthcare facilities. An online certificate in medical office administration qualifies individuals for roles as medical assistants, an occupation that the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects to grow 29% from 2016-2026.

Many two- and four-year institutions offer certificate programs in the field that help learners gain foundational knowledge and practical skills. While earning their certificate, students typically complete interactive coursework, certificate exam preparation, and practicum requirements.

What Are the Requirements to Get a Certification in Medical Office Administration?

Prospective learners should familiarize themselves with admission requirements and prerequisites before pursuing a medical office administration certificate online. Generally, applicants to certificate programs must hold a high school diploma or GED. Most programs require a minimum cumulative GPA of about 2.5. Some programs may also require standardized test scores, such as ACT or SAT scores, and some schools may require applicants to submit to a background check, take a drug test, and sign a healthcare policy acknowledgment.

What's the Difference Between a Medical Office Administration Certificate and Degree?

An online medical office administration certificate provides the training and education necessary to obtain entry-level employment in the industry. However, a certificate is not a substitute for a bachelor's degree in the field. A certificate program can help learners prepare for further education in a related area or a cognate discipline.

A certificate can improve employment opportunities for working professionals. The credential demonstrates the professional has mastered core skills, which can give job candidates a competitive edge in the growing field. A certificate program also allows individuals to specialize, which can lead to increased earning potential and job responsibilities.

Online Medical Office Administration Certificate Curriculum

Learners pursuing a medical office administration certificate online receive instruction in both medical concepts and practical applications. They gain professional management skills such as keyboarding, record keeping, project management, and finance budgeting. Additionally, coursework typically covers medical topics including key terms, codes, and diagnoses. This knowledge allows administrators to effectively communicate with patients and medical professionals. The list below provides information about some courses common to medical office administration certificate programs.

  • Fundamentals of Medical Office Administration: Learners in this course survey the basics of the field and gain skills and knowledge necessary to thrive in fast-paced, high-pressure work environments. Topics include medical professionalism; safety; confidentiality; and communication, financial management, and telephone techniques.

  • Medical Terminology: This comprehensive introduction to common medical language prepares students to apply terminology in office settings. Students learn to use medical language in written and oral communication and explore electronic tools designed to build health informatic databases.

  • Medical Coding: This course builds on foundational concepts and teaches students how to analyze and classify medical documentation for reporting purposes. Learners engage in lab practicums, implement coding procedures outlined by industry standards, and practice cross-referencing strategies for record keeping and office taxonomy.

  • Healthcare Business Management: This course explores the major management functions and the leadership skills necessary for strong, effective healthcare supervision in medical offices. Learners receive training in personnel recruitment, conflict resolution, privacy and cultural diversity, time management, stress reduction, and effective responsibility delegation.

  • Anatomy and Physiology: The first in a two-term sequence, this course provides students with foundational information pertaining to physical anatomy and physiological concepts in modern medicine. Coursework covers the skeletal, muscular, and nervous systems; biochemistry; cellular biology; histology; and the special system.

What Can You Do With a Certificate in Medical Office Administration?

An online medical office administration certificate can lead to higher earning potential for professionals in the field. The BLS projects the number of medical assistant positions to increase 29% from 2016-2026, and many professionals in the field want to set themselves apart from the competition.

According to the BLS, medical assistants can significantly increase their job prospects and earning potential by completing postsecondary training. A certificate in the field can help medical office administrators secure employment with high potential for advancement.

Salary by Experience Level for Medical Office Administrators

  • Entry-Level (<1 Year):
    $30,000

  • Early-Career (1-4 Years):
    $36,000

  • Mid-Career (5-9 Years):
    $49,000

  • Experienced (10-19 Years):
    $60,000

Source: PayScale

Average Salary for Medical Office Administrators

Average Pay: $49,994

Source: PayScale

Accreditation for Online Certificate Programs

Learners interested in earning medical office administration certification online should research each prospective school's accreditation status. Accreditation involves review by a third party and ensures schools and programs meet acceptable standards of academic quality and rigor. Accrediting bodies are private, nongovernmental organizations and can award regional, national, or programmatic accreditation.

Regional accreditation is the most prestigious type and often applies to nonprofit institutions, such as state colleges and public universities. Regionally accredited schools maintain an academic focus and must adhere to high standards of educational excellence. Technical institutions, career schools, and for-profit institutions often receive national accreditation.

In addition to institutional accreditation, prospective students can look for programmatic accreditation, which applies to a specific department or program. The Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools and the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs accredit medical office administration programs.

The Department of Education (ED) and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) oversee accrediting bodies in the United States. The ED is an administrative division of the U.S. federal government and is responsible for education policy, while CHEA consists of degree-conferring institutions across the country. Though neither the ED nor CHEA accredits schools directly, the organizations set accrediting guidelines and recognize agencies that confer regional, national, and programmatic accreditation.