by Wendy Terry

originally published in the 2012 Winter Issue

In September while I was attending a graduation event for Access Business College (See advertisement on back page), Sonia Nerses, the Executive Director spoke to me about the value of a Medical Office Assistant certificate for today’s labour market.

What do Medical Office Assistants do? They used to be called Medical Secretaries, and they are the first people you speak to when you enter a doctor’s office, a medical lab, a clinic or a health care facility. They often call you to remind you of an appointment or give the dates and times for a referral to a specialist. They will have found your medical records for the doctor before your appointment. They make sure the charges get billed to OHIP or an insurance company.

What do they need to know? They need to be knowledgeable about basic medical terminology and specialized computer programs for logging in appointments, billing OHIP or insurance companies, and maintaining the health care records of patients.

What are the elements of the job? Medical Office Assistants keep regular work hours in an office setting. Entry level pay is $15 to $18 an hour. You can use this position to move into other areas of health care like Medical Records or Transcription in hospitals, long- term care facilities, OHIP itself or a health insurance companies. Given that the baby boomers (almost a quarter of the population) are moving into their senior years and will spend a lot of their time on medical problems, you can expect the job opportunities to grow in this area.

Sonia, herself a nurse, is now dedicated to helping her students find work through Access Business College. She is wizard at helping students find funding through Second Career and other programs. While researching jobs and training for your employment counselor, consider training as a Medical Office Assistant. As Sonia says, it’s a good educational investment.

Toronto, Canada