Inside Medical Office Careers

Insider tips you need to know to choose and succeed in the right career

Medical Office Careers

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CareerReported Satisfaction
Medical Administrator
Medical Biller
Medical Secretary
Medical Transcriptionist

Career Background

Medical Office

  Job Tasks
  Work Environment
  How to Prepare for the Job
  Job Outlook

Career Video

Surprising and Helpful Information

Detailed info from people on the job

Examples of likes and dislikes:


"talking with patients and helping them with their dental needs. I also like it when children come into the office, and if they're scared I try to make them feel better. I even like dealing with insurance companies; it's like detective work sometimes and I really like that."


"getting managers to understand why compliance is good for the company. Managers look at compliance as if it gets in the way of them doing their work and sometimes it makes their work harder."

Career Overview

The growing healthcare industry fueled by the aging population continues to create a high demand for skilled professionals interested in a medical office career. Professionals in this field are crucial to the support of physicians, nurses, and other health care staff by handling valuable medical documentation such as appointment scheduling, correspondence, coding of procedures and diseases, and medical transcriptions. Several medical office career options exist, such as billing specialists and coders, medical secretaries, transcriptionists, and office managers. Employment may be found in a variety of settings, from private medical offices and clinics, to hospitals, medical laboratories, and insurance companies.

Career Skills

Medical office careers are generally ideal for individuals interested in the field of health care but do not want to treat or diagnose patients. Individuals should enjoy performing administrative duties, and most careers in medical office require strong computer and data entry skills. Some jobs in this field involve interaction with patients and require strong communication and interpersonal skills and the ability to work with people, including those that may be dealing with an illness. Other skills that are useful are organizational skills, as well as the ability to multi-task.


Although educational requirements vary by occupation, most entry-level medical office professionals are required to have a high school diploma or GED equivalent. Most employers prefer that employees that have attended a two or four year college or vocational school, with many offering programs leading to a specialized certificate, diploma or degree. For example, many schools offer focused programs, such as for medical secretaries, billers or transcriptionists. Individuals interested in management careers may be required to possess a bachelorís or masterís degree in a field such as health administration or management.

Career Options

There are several specialties within medical office careers that an individual can pursue. The following are a few examples of career choices in this field:

  • Medical secretaries work in hospitals, doctorís offices, and clinics. In addition to front desk duties such as answering phones and scheduling appointments, medical secretaries usually have specialized knowledge of medical terminology and practices to handle medical charts, correspondence, and reports, as well as insurance billing and coding.
  • Medical office managers have a variety of responsibilities for managing the day-to-day operations of a medical office so that it runs efficiently and that physicians and nurses can concentrate on treating patients. Duties include everything from managing the scheduling of the office to overseeing billing and organizing office activities.
  • Medical billers and coders use a system of medical coding to communicate between doctorsí offices and hospitals to insurance companies. By understanding medical terminology and assigning a code to injuries, diseases, and medical procedures, insurance companies are able to properly reimburse health care providers. These codes also provide a useful way to collect health data and track diseases and conditions.
  • Medical transcriptionists transcribe dictated recordings from medical professionals and doctors and create written materials such as correspondence and reports. Using a headset to listen to the recording, medical transcriptionists type and edit the information, and then return any written reports for final approval and editing. These reports become part of a patientís medical file.