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Medical Administrative Assistant vs. Healthcare Administrator: A Career Path Comparison

Medical Administrative Assistant vs. Healthcare Administrator

Working in healthcare administration is a great career path with multiple points of entry depending on your career goals and resources available. Becoming a Medical Administrative Assistant will allow you to begin working in the field faster, as well as being less of a burden on your wallet. A career as a Health Administrator will take you longer and will cost more, but the pay is higher and your responsibilities and impact will be bigger.

Either career path will set you up for a fulfilling career that can make a positive impact in many patients’ lives.

Medical Administrative Assistant

A Medical Administrative Assistant (sometimes also referred to as medical secretary) is a professional who handles various office tasks in both private practice and hospital settings. They play a large part in keeping the office environment running smoothly. Your duties as a Medical Assistant will vary depending on where you work, the size of the office, and if you are the only administrator or part of a team of administrators. Your responsibilities may include the following:

  • Scheduling patient appointments
  • Checking in patients
  • Answering patient phone calls
  • Filing paperwork, medical records, and charts
  • Processing insurance forms
  • Billing insurance companies
  • Managing budgets
  • Transferring lab results
  • Ordering supplies and equipment

Benefits of a Being a Medical Administrative Assistant

One of the biggest benefits of becoming a Med Assistant is providing you with that feeling of accomplishment and personal fulfillment that comes from helping others in need. You may not be in the front-facing, clinical side of the medical field, but as a medical administrative assistant, you still have the opportunity to assist patients in need.

Another significant benefit of Medical Assisting is the opportunity for career growth. Working as a Medical Administrative Assistant gives you a chance to position yourself for advancement, allowing you to use your talents to make a greater difference, as well as increase your salary.

Training and Costs to Become a Medical Administrative Assistant

Medical Assistant training can last anywhere from six to nine months at a vocational school to two years at college. The cost of your training also widely varies depending on the type of institution you attend. You could pay around $2,000 at a vocational school or up to $10,000 or more at a college.

There are nationally accredited educational partners who offer flexible class schedules, hands-on learning and career assistance after graduation to help you navigate this part of the process.

Healthcare Administrator

Healthcare Administration can refer to two levels: department level and the hospital health system level. Both operations normally include managing staff, services, facilities, and finances.

Duties of a Healthcare Administrator

Your duties as a Healthcare Administrator will have you involved in decisions and responsibilities involving all departments. As a Healthcare Administrator, you may:

  • Manage facility operations, finance, personnel, and admissions
  • Coordinate the actions of all departments
  • Be the liaison between governing boards and medical staff
  • Recruit and hire administrators, doctors, and nurses
  • Plan budgets
  • Assist with further education for staff
  • Develop procedures for the organization or practice
  • Stay up to date on healthcare laws, regulations, and medical and technological advancements

Benefits of Being a Healthcare Administrator

Like a Medical Administrative Assistant, Healthcare Administrators also get personal fulfillment from knowing they are positively affecting the lives of patients. The healthcare administrator, however, is also responsible for making decisions and coordinating activities that also affect the staff, from maintenance to doctors, as well as the facility.

Another benefit of becoming a Healthcare Administrator is that it’s a growing field. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, they’re expecting the field to grow by 32% in the U.S. through 2029.

Training and Costs to Become a Healthcare Administrator

You must secure a Bachelor’s degree and an MBA from a program specializing in healthcare management to become a Healthcare Administrator. This path can take you anywhere from six to eight years.

The reported average cost of earning a bachelor’s degree is around $100,000, including room and board.

The averages for the cost of your master’s degree could cost an additional $11,926 at public institutions and $25,442 at private institutions.

If you’re looking for a career with higher pay, faster training, and stronger demand that lets you turn your passion into paychecks, healthcare administration provides multiple educational paths to your goal.