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How to Become a Medical Receptionist

Puja Lalwani
The job of a medical receptionist does not require as much education as it does experience and the development of some very important skills. Here's a look into becoming a medical receptionist in terms of education and skills.
A medical receptionist is a professional who serves as intermediary between a doctor and a patient. This job does not just involve greeting patients at a doctor's clinic. A lot goes into performing this job and doing so effectively. This job relies more on personal skills than on any type of education, and most of the training is received on the job.
Certification in the field is available and definitely gives an edge to those who wish to pursue it as a full-time career. A look into how to become a medical receptionist will give you details about taking it up professionally. Before that, let's take a brief look into what this job entails.

Job Description

A medical receptionist is someone who manages the doctor-patient relationship effectively and may work in a variety of settings such as a doctor's office to a health care center.
Handling queries by patients, scheduling appointments with them for the doctor, managing their records and details, answering mails and phone calls, explaining prescriptions to patients, dealing with insurance claims, and communicating with other medical and health care professionals, all come under the purview of a medical receptionist's duties.
As you can see, the job primarily includes front-desk responsibilities. However, these duties also go beyond the front desk, and having the knowledge of some amount of medical jargon, business skills, and office management skills will definitely help in this field.

Educational Requirements

As mentioned earlier, this job relies more on skill than on education. However, there are certain educational requirements that must be fulfilled along with the development of other essential skills.
  • High School Diploma: Getting a high school diploma or a GED is the basic requirement toward becoming a medical receptionist. Focus on the sciences and maths in high school for better performance on the job. While most such students may directly get jobs as medical receptionists, there are other things that you can do to get better at the job.
  • Associate's Degree: While a college degree is not necessary, having one may help. In college, you can focus on subjects such as psychology, communications, computers, business skills and management, accounting, and statistics to develop the necessary skills for the job. One or two years in college will prepare you well for this job.
  • Certification: For an edge over others in the field, you may pursue a certificate course. This is usually a one year course that will involve education in business communication, medical laws and ethics, computer programs, medical terminology, and workplace relations.
Such a course will arm you with some basic skills that you can hone when on the job. You may choose to attain only certification instead of an associate's degree from college.
  • Internships and Volunteer Work: Any job is better performed when one has experience in it. 
Similarly, in this case, attaining an internship or performing some kind of related volunteer work will always be of great use. These are aspects that you can highlight in your resume as a fresh medical receptionist, and will definitely help you get that first job.

Skills Required

No job is worth the effort if you don't have the skills to perform it. Participating in volunteer programs and internships, along with certification help you build and develop the necessary skills to become a good medical receptionist.
Further, you should start working on developing these as early as possible so that you can ease into the job smoothly. The skills that are expected are:
  • Patience
  • Time Management Skills
  • Business/Office Management Skills
  • Customer Relation Skills
  • Organizational Skills
  • Independence as well as Team Playing Skills
  • Confidence
  • Computer Usage Skills
  • Communication Skill
These are all skills that are usually acquired on the job. However, you must be open to developing these so that you can become a thorough professional and demand a good salary with your level of proficiency.
It would also help to find some people who are already in the business to understand what the job entails and how to go around becoming a medical receptionist. Start working on your skills and education at the earliest to make the most of this lucrative job.