Practice Office Manager

An education beyond high school isn't absolutely necessary if you have work experience as a medical receptionist or office clerk. However, completion of a certificate program for medical office assistants or a medical assistant associate's degree is attractive to employers and can give you an advantage over other candidates for a job. Basic business courses, such as accounting, marketing and human resources are important. Experience in supervising others is helpful, as you might manage an office staff and coordinate duties with health care professionals. Excellent written and verbal communication skills, and the ability to prioritize tasks in a busy environment, are vital to the position.

General Duties

Specific duties vary depending on the size and needs of a practice, but typically include monitoring and ordering office supplies and equipment, arranging office maintenance and supervising clerical staff. You might prepare and monitor a safety program, ensure that all licenses are up to date, and handle human resources duties, such as hiring and benefits administration. Administrative duties can include scheduling patient appointments and maintaining staff schedules. The office manager often prepares and sends bills and statements to patients as well as ensures insurance claims are submitted. You might do more extensive bookkeeping, such as reconciling bank statements and accounts payable, and you may be in charge of payroll.

Specialized Duties

While other staff members may do the filing, you'll be responsible for maintaining a secure storage system that complies with privacy laws for confidential medical information. You might arrange for patients to be admitted to a hospital or schedule laboratory services. You'll ensure medical equipment is inspected and serviced regularly, and that clinical safety procedures are in place and followed. These can include disposal of bio-hazardous waste, storage of medications, and steps for reporting suspected abuse to authorities. If you have training as a medical assistant, you might prepare examination rooms and work directly with patients, taking vital signs and medical histories. Managing a medical office takes a diverse skill set, from clerical and bookkeeping skills to knowledge of medical terminology and procedures. It isn't an entry level position, but a tailored combination of education and experience can move you into the job within a few years. Working in a doctor's office, hospital or related health care setting is mandatory, and a certificate program or associate degree can give you the necessary skills to advance.