Best Path to a Job in a Medical Office?
November 28, 2011 5:30 PM   Subscribe

Managers in health care offices: given my girlfriend's background and education, what's her best bet for landing a decent office/administrative (i.e., not clinical/nursing) job in a hospital?

My girlfriend (early 40s, American Midwest) is looking to get back into the above-crap-wages job market she left to raise kids years ago. She has a bachelor's degree in business, is proficient with computers, and is pretty sharp and personable all-around. She worked in purchasing at a hospital in California right out of college, and more recently she's temped in hospital accounting and dietetics departments, and likes the environment and culture of the non-clinical side of health care.

But now that she's ready for something permanent, we're not sure how she can put her best foot forward. She doesn't need anything spectacular--the $12-14 an hour range would work fine for us right now. The competition is stiff, though, so we want to find something that will set her apart from other applicants on paper.

We've looked at certificate programs in administrative medical assisting, but we don't want to go (deeper) into student loan debt if we can help it. More than one admissions counselor at nearby schools has asked her, "Won't your BS and experience be good enough?" which makes sense... but is there something else, reasonably cheap (less than $1000), that we can do?

We were thinking along the lines of certification in the Microsoft Office suite, an online course in bookkeeping, etc. Even a medical billing class, if the price is right and it leads to a position in the pay range I mentioned. Any ideas?
posted by Rykey to Work & Money (4 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
First stop- ask her doctors and their staff who is hiring. Very unlikely that she'll want to work for her doctor, but there is an introduce grapevine. Volunteer at the nearest hospital- maybe holding preemie babies, or reading books to kids or older patients. After a few weeks, ask everyone you come in contact with (politely, etc) if any departments are hiring for _her skillset_ or _related_. Someone will know, or be able to point you toward the job openings website/ bulletin board. The bonus to this approach is your volunteer experience can tell you so much more about the environment than word of mouth or interviews.

Also, Medical Transcription might be an avenue she can explore. It won't be an office she can go to, instead she might be taking work in to do at home.

These jobs are usually by the page, or by time on tape. Temp agencies may have a line on this kind of work, but you can sometimes solicit doctors directly.

Invest in a foot pedal for stopping/rewinding the recordings, and a medical dictionary package for your word processor, maybe, a big fat maybe, go to a weekend "medical transcribing workshop." As doctors and hospitals move toward electronic medical records the transcription business is likely to take off.

I'd she does this on her own, without an agency, she'll be a small business owner. Insure appropriately. If she goes with an agency, there will be a non-disclosure/non-compete clause.
posted by bilabial at 5:46 PM on November 28, 2011

Feel free to me-mail me. I've been out of medical offices for nearly a decade, and out of dental offices for 5 years. But I'm happy to brainstorm with you.
posted by bilabial at 5:47 PM on November 28, 2011

If you have a large university with a hospital in your town, check with them to see if they have an employment agency servicing the hospital. That's how I got an admin medical records job in college.

Another thing I did was send a cover letter and resume to every doctors' office in town (whether they were advertising job openings or not) when I moved to a new area, explaining that I had medical administrative experience and was looking for a permanent position in the field. I got a surprising number of responses with that method.
posted by something something at 7:08 PM on November 28, 2011

Major medical centers and university medical centers sometimes (often?) have their own in-house temp agency (check their HR website). This is probably the best way to get the requisite experience for a permanent position, because hospitals often have their own systems and procedures, and that inside knowledge is what will set her apart.
posted by elizeh at 7:25 PM on November 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

« Older Who can cut a 4'x2' sheet of wood to custom...   |   What is written on the taped-up hands of mma... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.