Choosing a Medical Office Administrator College in Ottawa: 5 Key Traits to Look For

Medical Office Administrator students at Herzing College Ottawa, earning Vital Signs certification

For many people, the decision to head back to school to earn a college diploma marks a key moment of transition and transformation. Committing to a new career path is no small matter. It often means juggling courses with an already busy schedule of work and family responsibilities.

Given that your time, money, effort, and future employment prospects are at stake, it's so important to research your college options carefully, before committing to enrollment. Medical office administrator schools are no exception! You'll be competing with other MOA grads for jobs after you finish your program, so you'll want to find the most comprehensive, relevant, job-ready curriculum out there, delivered by experienced and caring instructors.

This post is dedicated to students searching for a top quality medical office administrator college in Ottawa. These are the traits to watch out for and the questions to ask when comparing programs and making your final choice.


1. Look for Detailed Descriptions of Comprehensive Coursework

Medical office administrators handle a wide range of tasks at clinics and hospitals. They are the "face" of the establishment, responsible for greeting and assisting patients both in person and over the phone. MOAs are also responsible for clerical tasks that happen behind the scenes, and are crucial for keeping everyday operations running smoothly. They need solid computer skills, a compassionate touch, excellent communication skills, and knowledge of the most efficient medical office procedures.

To ensure the program you choose covers all the bases, look to the college website for a detailed description (not just a summary or a list) of the medical office administrator courses included in the program. Key study areas should include:

  • Healthcare software for medical/dental offices, used for billing, managing files, creating reports, etc. (such as AbelDent)
  • Scheduling software for entering, moving, and editing appointments (such as Microsoft Outlook)
  • Microsoft Office Suite (including PowerPoint, Word, Excel, and Access)
  • Health office administration procedures, such as receiving patients, booking appointments, managing health records, dealing with health insurance plans, financial records, inventory control, etc.
  • Managing patient records, charts, health histories, and proper transcription practices
  • Overview of body systems and their functions (anatomy and physiology), relevant medical terminology and common treatment procedures
  • Professional ethics and effective office communications
  • Certificates (such as First Aid and CPR)

2. Ensure the Medical Office Administrator Program Includes an Internship

Internships are absolutely crucial for gaining real world experience during your MOA training. You'll need an opportunity to apply the skills you have learned in class, build confidence in your abilities, and start making connections with local employers.

Make sure the Ottawa MOA program you're considering provides a guaranteed internship or practicum as part of the diploma. It should be at least four weeks in length, and require students to fulfill a minimum number of "work" hours in order to graduate.


3. Search for Testimonials & Reviews from Previous Students

When comparing your MOA training options, visit school websites and look for quotes or video testimonials from previous students—or a Google "reviews" button that shows an average online review score out of 5, along with feedback from each student reviewer. It's really important to hear from real students and grads, and not just from the marketing and admissions team.

Social media accounts are also a great place to look for genuine student feedback, a glimpse of life on campus, and graduate stories.  Not everything you find will be positive, but you will definitely get a sense of overall experience at each college, strengths and weaknesses, and the general quality of the training.


4. Detailed Instructor Profiles for the Medical Office Admin Program

So many colleges neglect to add instructor information to their program descriptions. But the person who delivers your MOA training can make or break both the learning experience, and your desirability as a job candidate after graduation.  A college is only as good as its instructors.

Check the websites of the colleges you're considering for profiles of their MOA teachers. You'll want to learn from professionals with many years of experience in healthcare administration, who are also passionate about teaching. Information about their educational credentials (diplomas, degrees, certificates) should be clearly provided, as well as any areas of speciality or expertise.

Don't see this information on the website? Ask admissions for instructor profiles during your research process or campus visits.


5. Inquire about MOA Graduate Job Placement Rates

Your main objective is to land a medical office administrator position after earning your diploma. So, it makes sense to ask each college what percentage of their MOA students go on to secure jobs in the field after graduation. This is called a graduate job placement rate, and it is a key indicator of quality for any college program, including medical office administration. You should find the placement rate somewhere on the website program pages, but if not, should ask admissions for this statistic while comparing colleges. A percentage above 85-90% is considered very encouraging.


Looking for more information about starting an MOA career, and selecting a high quality medical office administrator college in Ottawa?

Consider Herzing College's Medical Office Administrator program, delivered at our Ottawa campus. Training is comprehensive, delivered by experienced professionals, and takes just 7 months to complete. Visit the program page for detailed program information, or to chat live with a knowledgeable advisor. We're here to help!

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