How to Become a Medical Office Manager

No matter what the industry, almost every organization needs people to work in management positions, and the medical industry is no exception. A medical office manager position is a fast paced, well paying job that requires impeccable communication skills. A medical office manager will manage the administrative and financial side of a busy medical individual or group practice, while leaving the doctors free to concentrate primarily on treating ill patients.

This job requires dealing with medical office personnel, insurance company representatives and patients. Due to the nature of this field, it is not unusual for high stress situations to arise, especially when dealing with matters of finance between patients and insurance companies, so good communication and the ability to handle stress are needed to do this job effectively.

What makes this job interesting is that there is no one particular path one must follow in order to get a job as a medical office manager. Though some states require a bachelor's or master's degree in the field, other states are more lenient, and a person who has adequate experience working as an assistant to a medical offer manager can sometimes rise through the ranks and become a manager without a bachelor's or master's degree in medical office management.

The training required for a medical office manager job is quite similar to that of any other high ranking management job and should be listed in your manager resume. While there are some one year medical office management courses, you could also transition into this position if you have a bachelor's or master's degree with a focus in business management or accounting.

Because managing a medical office does have its own unique challenges, many schools now offer health care management degrees, which will provide more adequate preparation for the day to day challenges of this position. As a part of this degree, you would likely learn about basic medical terminology for coding and billing purposes, proper record keeping, and learning to communicate with staff and handle human resources issues.

Due to the fact that medical office managers deal with issues of law concerning insurance rules and federal and local regulations concerning medical practice, you will be better prepared for this type of job if you also take coursework or get certified in matters of medical law.

Those who have majored or minored in finance or marketing could also have the skills needed to succeed in this field. Unless you obtain a doctorate in health care management, it is unlikely that you will land a medical office management position in the beginning stages of your career.

For career support and guidance, consider joining a professional association such as the Professional Association of Healthcare Office Management in order to gain knowledge about job openings, as well as to meet others in the management field who can help provide job search advice, as well as networking connections for employment opportunities.

To reach the rank of a medical office manager, it is often recommended that you start out as an administrative assistant to a medical office manager. In this capacity, you will get to work alongside the primary manager and gain hands on experience in the day to day duties of the office manager.

After a few years of working in this capacity, it is likely that you will have the experience needed to step up to a primary management position. Many states require that medical office managers pass a state examination in order to get licensed to work as a medical manager. Most people opt to either take the Certified Medical Office Manager or Certified Medical Manager license exam.

These licenses usually require that you take a certain amount of continuing education to remain certified, and you must keep current on these continuing education courses every two years or so.


Gail Esparan