A medical office manager runs a large or small medical office, overseeing the staff, handling business affairs, working with physicians and more. If you want to become a medical office manager, a four-year degree often is required, and sometimes a master's degree is desired. Your studies might be focused in health services, business administration or a related field. Previous experience working in a medical office is often desired, and some smaller physicians' offices might not require degrees if you have demonstrated on-the-job training in the field.
Completion of a certificate program in medical office management can be helpful, especially in a tight job market where you will be better off with more education and experience. Even if you have prior office management experience, certification demonstrates that you understand the intricacies and issues unique to a healthcare practice. An example of a certificate program is the medical office manager certificate offered by the Practice Management Institute, an educational organization for medical office professionals.
Good medical office managers often are highly valued members of medical practices, and some physicians credit them with greatly improving efficiency. The duties of a medical office manager vary depending upon the individual physician and practice, but if you become a medical office manager, you might be expected to hire and manage personnel, oversee billing to patients and insurance companies and be responsible for marketing and business development. To excel in the varied role of medical office manager, it will be helpful to have have experience in progressively responsible office administration positions and to have a well-rounded education that includes classes in management, marketing and accounting.
Other attributes that might be required if you want to become a medical office manager include understanding medical terminology and having experience with medical coding. Knowing specific software typically used in the medical industry might be required. Examples of medical software include Medisoft and Medical Manager. No matter whether you have specific medical software experience, being computer proficient and knowing basic software packages typically used in office environments is important.
Qualities that will benefit you in your goal to become a medical office manager include strong leadership ability and decision-making skills. The ability to quickly solve problems is important in a busy medical practice. Good communication skills are important, because you will need to interact with physicians, nurses and other healthcare personnel as well as patients. Having an empathetic personality to work with patients who have possible health and financial problems can also benefit you as a medical office manager, as will having the assertiveness to follow up on unpaid patient bills and deal with insurance companies.