Medical office jobs have remained in very high demand, even in times of recession or economic downtimes. Medical office jobs are also known as ambulatory jobs, or jobs in outpatient care. Both clinical and non-clinical jobs are available in medical office settings. Learn more about the variety of careers available in medical offices, clinics, and other ambulatory settings.
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Nursing careers are very prevalent in medical office roles. Nurses of all types and levels of education and experience are needed in a variety of roles to help manage patients in an office or clinic setting. Some nurses like to work in medical office settings because of the hours, as there are often few, if any, evening or weekend shifts required as there are in hospital settings where patients need care around the clock. Also, in a medical office, there is often more continuity of care and some nurses enjoy getting to know returning patients on a more personal level over time.
Medical receptionists are often the "face" of the medical office - they may be the first people patients encounter upon dealing with a medical office. Therefore, the role of the medical receptionist is key to the success of a medical practice - the receptionist is critical to forming the patient's perception of the quality of the practice - for better or for worse.
The medical receptionist must have excellent communication skills and customer service skills.
Medical billers and coders are key to the cash flow and profitability of a medical office practice. Medical billers work in the "back office" of the medical practice, ensuring that the proper numeric codes are documented for each patient's encounter, and submitting the documentation to the insurance company for reimbursement based on what service was provided to the patient.
Usually both billing and coding go hand in hand, but sometimes they may be separate roles. Normally, a biller must know medical coding and a coder is directly involved in billing.
The medical office manager keeps all the various departments running effectively and efficiently, from the front office to the back office. The medical office manager helps coordinate the staffing of the office, scheduling, and office policies and procedures. Some medical office managers may have a clinical background such as nursing, but more often, medical office managers work their way up into a management role from another non-clinical office job such as medical billing or other role.
Medical interpreters are often needed in medical offices in diverse areas, where there may be a large part of the patient population that doesn't speak English well, or at all. Language barriers can be particularly devastating in a clinical setting, if patients are unable to understand important health information, or if patients cannot communicate critical symptoms to the doctor or nurse. Therefore, medical interpreters play a very important role in these situations in medical offices which have very diverse patient populations.
Medical assistants help with some of the basic aspects of patient care such as obtaining vital signs, cleaning exam rooms between patients, taking blood, giving injections, and assisting with other minor procedures. Medical assisting doesn't require extensive education, and therefore, while the pay is not as high as other more advanced nursing or clinical roles, medical assisting can be a great way to "test the waters" and see if you should invest the time and money in a more advanced nursing degree.
Physician AssistantPhysician assistants, or PAs, are also known as "physician extenders" or mid-level providers, because they can fill many of the same duties as physicians. Depending on the state in which a PA works, a PA may be able to practice independently of physicians and practice much as a physician would, prescribing medications, doing procedures, and billing for their time. Physician is one of the most lucrative medical careers that doesn't require a doctorate level degree. However, it is not a fast-track either, as a master's level education in physician assisting is required.