Medical Office Assistant

Medical Office Assistant Certification FAQs

Nathan Stokes Medical Administrative Specialist, School of Allied Health Leave a Comment

Medical office assistants perform vital functions in allied health. At Bryan University, we offer a medical office assistant diploma you can earn in 40 weeks over four quarters, preparing you for certification through American Medical Technologists.

Today, we answer several FAQs regarding medical office assistant certification and what you can do to accomplish that.

What is a medical office assistant?

A medical office assistant provides support services to medical professionals in a doctor’s office or clinic by performing day-to-day administrative tasks.

Your overall duties ensure every day runs smoothly at a medical office.

What tasks and duties do medical office assistants perform?

Your daily tasks and duties include, but are not limited to:

  • Checking patients in at the front desk as they arrive
  • Answering phones
  • Scheduling appointments for patients
  • Responding to emails
  • Interviewing patients to obtain case histories and key information ahead of their appointments
  • Operating computer equipment and software
  • Transcribing patient records and letters
  • Processing insurance payments properly for medical billing and coding processes
  • Making sure labs receive the right samples and clinicians receive the proper results
  • Maintaining office supplies and equipment

doctors office

What is the difference between a medical office assistant and a medical assistant?

The main difference between a medical office assistant and medical assistant is that a medical assistant may assist a doctor with various clinical procedures like examinations, injections, EKGs, and medical tests as note-takers. 

Medical office assistants don’t take part in these medical procedures. But they would make sure the notes are accurate with regards to medical records and patient history.

How long does it take to become a medical office assistant?

After receiving your GED or high school diploma, your post-secondary medical office assistant training may vary from nine months to two years, depending on your chosen training program. 

At Bryan University, a medical office assistant diploma takes 40 weeks (nine months), and a medical administrative specialist associate degree takes 70 weeks (one year, four months). 

What soft skills do I need as a medical office assistant?

You will need several skills to work as a medical office assistant competently.

They include but are not limited to:

  1. Computer technology and software used daily.
  2. Effective communication with staff members and patients.
  3. Organization to handle multiple tasks.
  4. Time management throughout the day.
  5. Compassion for patients.
  6. Confidentiality to comply with privacy laws.
  7. Attention to detail as you talk to patients.
  8. Teamwork in a busy medical office environment.
  9. Problem-solving complex situations with a varied skill set.
  10. Accountability for getting daily tasks done on time while maintaining standards of behavior.
  11. Positive attitude towards everyone, especially patients who may be nervous.
  12. Always be willing to go the extra mile for patients in the office with fantastic customer service.

What hard skills do I need to know as a medical office assistant?

  1. Medical terminology
  2. Medical office communications
  3. Anatomy and physiology
  4. Medical law and ethics
  5. Basic insurance
  6. Medical coding and billing
  7. Electronic medical records management

You’ll learn these hard skills and more with a diploma or associate in applied science degree at Bryan University.

Medical Office Assistant Checking a Schedule

Why should I earn a certification for becoming a medical office assistant or medical administrative specialist?

Earning a certification to become a medical office assistant demonstrates your familiarity with several aspects of the medical field, including:

  • Medical office administration and procedures for maximum effectiveness
  • Financial aspects of health care, including billing, insurance, and accounting
  • Medical terminology related to the human body, anatomy, and physiology
  • Risk management and audits for billing and insurance purposes
  • Medical law and ethics with regards to patient privacy
  • Pharmaceutical principles for the prescribing and administration of drugs
  • Medical software and computer applications

As you apply for jobs, you may find that a fundamental job requirement is to earn certification to become a medical office assistant. At Bryan University, our courses in the School of Allied Health prepare you to take the American Medical Technologists’ Certified Medical Administrative Specialist (CMAS) exam after you graduate.

How do I earn a certification for becoming a medical office assistant?

American Medical Technologists outlines you must be a recent graduate or scheduled to graduate from an accredited medical administrative specialist program, which includes 720 hours of didactic instruction with at least 160 hours of that as an externship. 

The program must include course content areas from:

  • Coding
  • Health care insurance processing
  • Information processing
  • Medical records management
  • Office financial responsibilities

Bryan University’s program partners with AMT to make sure we maintain the organization’s standards.

What certifications are available for medical office assistants?

Several nationwide organizations offer certifications for healthcare careers. We use American Medical Technologists because the group focuses on rigorous standards, long-standing respect in the medical community, and offers 11 certifications recognized by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA).

Person Signing Certificate

How much does certification cost for a medical office assistant?

As of 2021, certification costs $120 through AMT.

How can I prepare to take a certification exam for a medical office assistant?

First, make sure to study and ace your classes through your medical office assistant diploma or medical administrative specialist associate in applied science degree. These classes are specifically designed to prepare you for certification.

Second, consider purchasing a practice exam or review course through AMT as a refresher for the skills and concepts you need to pass the test. Utilizing study resources provided by the testing agency helps you prepare for their specific exam.

Third, schedule the exam online by giving the testing agency your relevant information.

Fourth, make sure to arrive, take, and pass the exam. Get there 30 minutes early with your required testing items. 

How can I see results from my medical office assistant certification exam?

Results from AMT are posted within 48 hours after you take the exam. You’ll receive your official certificate in the mail, while you can download your member card online.

What happens if I fail my medical office assistant certification exam?

If you receive a failing score, you need to retake the exam no sooner than 45 days from the previous attempt. You are limited to four exam attempts for any one certification through AMT. The retesting fee is $90.

Young Woman Studying for a Medical Assistant Degree

What professional organizations do medical office assistants belong to?

Medical office assistants and office administrative specialists can belong to professional organizations to further their skills, field, and community. These organizations help with advocacy, professional development, and continuing education.

These are the two primary organizations for medical office assistants.

  1. American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management (AAHAM) 
  2. Association for Healthcare Administrative Professionals (AHCAP)

Medical Office Assistant & Medical Administrative Specialist Education at Bryan University

Are you interested in starting a vibrant career as a medical office assistant or medical administrative specialist education? Bryan University offers two educational tracks for a diploma or an associate in applied science degree. One takes 40 weeks, while the other takes 70 weeks. Contact us or call 1-855-862-9755 for more information.


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