how to become medical receptionist

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how to become medical receptionist

Medical receptionists work at the front desks at hospitals, doctor’s offices and other medical facilities. They work at reception desks, often answering phones, greeting visitors and doing clerical work. Additionally, a medical receptionist might also have the following duties:

Calling patients to remind them of upcoming appointments
Processing patient information in a computer or filing system
Processing payments from patients
Providing patients with intake forms and answer any questions they might have
Answering multi-line phones and direct calls to the appropriate departments
Transcribing physician notes
Average Salary
Most medical receptionists work full-time. Their hourly wages will depend on geographic location, years of experience and education level. For those who succeed in the position, there can be advancement opportunities that provide additional titles and wage increases.

Common salary in the U.S.: $13.42 per hour
Some salaries range from $9.49 to $18.99 per hour.
Medical receptionist requirements
Medical receptionist work requires specific skills and certifications:

Education
The minimum educational requirement for a medical receptionist job is a high school diploma or General Education Diploma (GED). However, many vocational and technical schools, as well as community colleges, offer diploma and certificate programs in medical reception and/or medical office technology. While an associate degree or college-level coursework is not generally required for employment as a medical receptionist, it can strengthen a job seeker’s resume.

Training
Some employers require medical receptionists to obtain formal online or in-person training, such as classes in medical terminology, medical software and medical ethics. They will learn most job duties, however, through on-the-job training. An experienced office staff member will lead this training, which is likely to include information about company policies, institutional procedures, patient confidentiality and patient health information.

Certifications
While most medical receptionist jobs do not require certifications, certificate programs are one way in which medical receptionists strengthen their resumes and learn skills necessary to excel at work. The following are two examples of many certifications that are available from various organizations, associations and schools of higher education:

Medical administrative assistant certification
The National Healthcareer Association offers this certification, among others. In these programs, students will learn about medical terminology, office procedures, CPR, first aid, health insurance billing and more. Most certificate programs take two to four semesters to complete.

Electronic Health Records Specialist certification
This specialized certification focuses on health records management. Those seeking this certificate will learn about secure and accurate records, patient data and insurance. The certification requires experience and a completed exam. This is a certification that can help medical receptionists stand out in the job market.

Skills
Medical receptionists need a variety of hard skills, such as organization, filing and computer skills. They also need soft skills, such as communication and customer service. They develop some skills through on-the-job experience, while they gain others through training and certificate programs. To be a successful medical receptionist job candidate, work towards acquiring the following skills:

Customer service
Medical receptionists, from their location at the front of a medical office, work with people consistently. They greet returning patients and staff members, as well as new clients. Members of the public will have questions, ask for directions and need assistance with forms. Medical receptionists need to be friendly, warm and willing to help.

Communication
In addition to speaking with people in person, medical receptionists spend time emailing, answering phones and making calls. They connect callers to the appropriate departments and multi-task to manage all aspects of their jobs. Strong medical receptionists are also great communicators who know how to listen, deliver information completely and write with clarity.

Computers
Depending on the position and location, medical receptionists will often need to work with various computer programs and software systems. Medical receptionists use word processing software and database systems on an everyday basis. They should be comfortable with the Microsoft Office suite. They may also send out appointment reminders via email and use computer-based schedulers.

Organization
Medical receptionists work with patient information, files, insurance companies, payments and other important items. To handle all of these sensitive and timely documents, they need to be organized. These receptionists usually use a variety of computer-based and paper filing systems. They are trained in the procedures and policies of their particular office.

Medical terminology
Medical receptionists’ jobs differ from others in their field in that they work in hospitals, doctor’s offices and other medical environments. They are often responsible for writing, organizing, finding and filing medical information. It can be helpful to start a medical receptionist job with prior knowledge of medical terminology. Otherwise, they can learn medical words and phrases through on-the-job training, experience and some certificate and degree programs.

Medical receptionist work environment
Medical receptionists work in a variety of environments. Some work in large hospitals, while others work in small clinics. There are a few things that almost any medical receptionist can expect out of their work environment:

Medical receptionists work indoors. They usually work in an office space, which they often share with coworkers and members of the public.
A medical receptionist’s desk is prominently located, giving them the ability to greet and direct guests. They work with both staff and patients on an everyday basis.
Phones and computers are central parts of a medical receptionist’s job. They often field many calls, emails and in-person questions at once.
Many positions require Monday-Friday, 40-hour-a-week schedules, but some, such as 24-hour clinics and emergency rooms, require weekend and evening hours.
How to become a medical receptionist
If you’d like to become a medical receptionist, you can follow these steps:

Pursue education
First, earn your high school diploma or GED. Consider earning a certificate in medical reception or medical administrative assisting, among other options. These credentials will help you stand out as a potential employee.

Gain experience
Even entry-level medical receptionist jobs often require experience in administration, reception or another public-facing position. Try to gain experience through internships or volunteer opportunities. Positions that require records management and administrative duties will be beneficial experiences to have before finding a medical receptionist job.

Build your resume
Be sure to customize the cover letter to refer to the specific job environment you are applying for, such as a small clinic or a large hospital. In your resume, include any educational credentials, certifications and experience you might have.

Search for jobs
You can start your job search online. You may be able to do some in-person searching too. Consider all the different medical environments in your area, including those you might be less familiar with, such as physical therapy offices or other specialists’ offices.

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