Types of Medical Office Jobs

The different types of medical office jobs have remained in very high demand, even in times of recession or economic downtimes. Also known as ambulatory jobs, or jobs in outpatient care, medical office jobs are available in both clinical and non-clinical medical office settings. Learn more about the variety of careers available in medical offices, clinics, and other ambulatory settings.


Nurse and patient in a medical clinic

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Nursing careers are very prevalent in medical offices. 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. Hospital settings frequently come with higher pay, but with the downside of around-the-clock hours. Many nurses appreciate the continuity of care that comes with the medical office setting, and enjoy the chance to get to know returning patients on a more personal level over time.

Medical Receptionist

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Medical receptionists are often the "face" of the medical office—they may be the first people patients encounter when dealing with a medical office.

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.

Medical receptionists must have excellent communication skills and customer service skills, and be comfortable with the multitasking associated with operating the "front desk" of an office.

Medical Billers and Coders

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Medical billers and coders are key to the cash flow and profitability of a medical office practice. Medical billers usually 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. Reimbursement by health insurance companies is based on the service provided to the patient, and attention to accuracy is a must.

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.

Medical coders and billers currently take first place and second place on the list of the 5 best medical jobs.

Medical Office Manager

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The medical office manager keeps all of the various departments running effectively and efficiently, from the front office to the back office. He or she 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 another position. In large offices, the office manager often has a degree in business such as MBA and may delegate roles such as scheduling to other employees.

To work as a medical office manager a person must be detail-oriented and very organized. Having high emotional intelligence is a plus, as the office manager is often at the center of concerns between other employers and may often play the role of mediator.

Medical Interpreter

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Medical interpreters are often needed in medical offices in areas with significant diversity. This position is extremely important when there are patients who speak little or no English. While language barriers can be challenging in any setting, they can be particularly devastating or even life-threatening in a clinical setting. If patients are unable to communicate critical symptoms to the doctor or nurse, or are unable to understand important health information, good medical care can be substantially compromised.

In some settings, a medical interpreter will be expected to travel to different locations within a health system as the need arises. Since the interpreter serves as the "voice" for the patient, excellent interpersonal and communication skills are needed.

Medical Assistant

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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.

The particular job requirements of a medical assistant can vary between medical offices and with the size of the clinic, with smaller clinics often having medical assistants performing a greater number of nursing duties and fewer clerical-type roles.

Physician Assistant

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Physician 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

This 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.

Nurse practitioners are also referred to as mid-level providers, but there are some differences in education requirements. A nurse practitioner usually begins with a nursing degree and then continues for one year beyond. Physician assistants usually attend college for six years, or two years after obtaining an undergraduate degree.

A Word From Verywell

There are a number of different types of medical office jobs that require different levels of education and experience, and many of these can be done either part time or full time. Since humans haven't yet conquered illness and death, it's unlikely that these jobs will "go away" anytime soon. In addition, new types of medical office jobs such as medical scribes and patient advocates or navigators are continually arising and suggest there will be medical office jobs in the future that we can't even imagine as of yet.

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