Your Guide to Herzing's Medical Office Assistant Program

Kelley Khemiri, Medical Office Assistant instructor and career development specialist, in her office at Herzing College Winnipeg.

Kelley Khemiri is truly the best person to talk to about becoming a medical office assistant. Not only does she teach Herzing's Medical Office Assistant program, she is also our Career Development Specialist.

That means she helps MOA students prepare their resumes, apply for jobs, and transition into employment after graduation. She guides students through the entire process, from day one of class to their first day on-the-job.

Plus, Kelley has 14 years of experience as a medical office administrator. She an expert in the field, a passionate instructor, and extremely savvy about hiring trends and job opportunities for MOAs in Winnipeg.

If you're considering this career path, who better to consult?

This week, we interviewed Kelley about some recent changes to the MOA program, which will give our graduates even more job opportunities after college.

We also asked her about the new online version of the course, what to expect on internship, where graduates are getting hired, and some of the special skills Herzing students learn in class.

If you have questions about MOA training, you will probably find the answer right here...with Kelley Khemiri, your expert guide to Herzing's Medical Office Assistant program.


Q: Kelley, can you tell us about your education and professional experience in medical office administration?

Kelley: I am a graduate of the Health Unit Clerk Accelerated Program with Continuing Education. I started my career as a Unit Clerk in Emergency Medicine in 2006, and from there I became a preceptor (teacher) for new unit clerks.

It was very rewarding training new grads to enter the field. I then moved on to become a Slating Coordinator with University Medical Group in 2012. I worked in collaboration with Cancer Care Manitoba. I scheduled for Oncology and General Medicine.

Afterward, I moved into Program Coordination with The University of Manitoba, Faculty of Medicine, which in turn led me to teaching. I have been blessed to have such a diverse skill set, and have made many lifelong friends along the way.

I have been a Medical Office Assistant (MOA) instructor for approximately 5 years now. This field is always evolving and changing. I am proud to be committed to the successes and triumphs of my students.


Q: How long have you been teaching the Medical Office Assistant program at Herzing?

Kelley: I have been teaching the Medical Office Assistant program at Herzing for just over a year now. I am also the Career Development Specialist, which means I help our students prepare for interviews, find employment, and transition into the workforce after graduation.


Q:The MOA program was recently upgraded. Can you walk us through the changes?

Kelley: We have made significant changes to improve our program, including adding additional courses such as Medical Billing, Law and Ethics, and Business Communications. We have also added training in Mental Health and CPR.

Another important change was the work placement. We extended the practicum from 4 to 6 weeks, so students could have more quality education and training in a real medical office environment.

These enhancements will add diversity to our Medical Office Assistant training. The new and improved curriculum will allow our students to qualify for more job opportunities after graduation.


Q: What inspired these changes to the MOA program?

Kelley: In discussing what we could improve on, we researched what types of medical office positions are currently available. We adapted our courses to meet the changing demands of the workforce, and add value to our diploma program. Our ultimate goal is to ensure our graduates are fully prepared to compete for great jobs.


Q: Is this program also available online? How does the online version work in terms of labs and hands-on training?

Kelley: The MOA program has been approved for online learning, yes. In terms of hands-on training, we have a few options available, where students can come into campus just to complete the lab portions of their courses.

We'll also be running live Zoom classes, and may send out a toolbox of equipment to be returned, once the course is completed. We're looking at ways to make the online MOA class as flexible as possible, without losing any of the hands-on elements.


Q: Where do Herzing's MOA students do their work placements? What kinds of tasks are they assigned while on internship?

Kelley: Our students usually complete their internships within hospitals, medical clinics, and medical administration.

They perform a multitude of tasks from checking in patients, scheduling appointments, performing vital signs, performing tests, completing and sending test requisitions, medical billing, and even scheduling the operating room for surgical procedures.

In a more administrative role, they are responsible for scheduling, inter-office correspondence, attending hospital rounds and meeting, recording minutes, coordinating physician schedules, and medical transcription.


Q: What kinds of medical procedures can a Medical Office Assistant perform?

Kelley: Our MOAs are trained to perform vital signs such as height, weight, temperature, blood pressure, and visual acuity.

They can also perform pregnancy tests, urine samples, process swab samples, cytology slides, and assist with minor surgery and physical exams.


Q: What key skills are employers looking for when hiring MOAs? What does it take to get hired?

Kelley: Today's employers are seeking MOAs with strong communication and clinical skills. The benefit of doing your MOA training in Manitoba is our clinical skills component.

In Manitoba, we teach our MOAs how to complete vitals, from height and weight to blood pressure and lab testing techniques.

Our Medical Office Assistants are highly sought after for these clinical skills, which is why we have fought to keep (and expand) this essential skill base in our program

Another key skill is teamwork. From day one, I teach my MOAs to work within a team. Being able to collaborate effectively with others is essential in our field.


Q: Is there good demand for Medical Office Assistants in Winnipeg right now?

Kelley: Skilled MOAs are always in high demand, as healthcare is such an integral part of everyday life. There are so many career paths that an MOA can take, in terms of employers and positions.

Employment rates are very good for the Medical Office Assistant program. Our last graduating class had a 92% employment rate.


Q: You also provide career support to MOA graduates: what does that process involve?

Kelley: I provide students with job leads, mentorship and resume advising. I also coordinate their practicum placements, so employers will often contact me with open positions.

That means I can send over the resumes of our MOA graduates. The bonus for me is they are my students. I know their personality, qualities and skills. I can often recommend who is an ideal fit for the position! This gives our grads a huge advantage.


Q: Where do our Medical Office Assistant graduates typically get hired?

Kelley: My graduates usually get hired right out of their practicum. We have been blessed with employers that often hire our students.

Examples include: Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, University Medical Group, Health Sciences Centre, Seven Oaks Hospital, Concordia Hospital, Selkirk Regional Hospital, Manitoba Clinic, Nine Circles Community Health Centre, Crestview Medical, and Assiniboine Medical.

Graduates are qualified for positions as Medical Office Assistants, Medical Administrative Assistants, Medical Receptionists, Medical Schedulers, Medical Billing, Medical Administrative Clerks, and Medical Transcriptionists.

I have also had graduates become Optical Assistants, Pharmacy Assistants and Medical Insurance Clerks.


Q: What makes a great Medical Office Assistant? How does someone know they're a good fit?

Kelley: Someone who is warm, charismatic, has effective communication skills, and can work well under pressure.

As MOAs, we run the front desk, schedule appointments, answer calls, direct patients, chart and assist physicians. Time management skills are essential.

Making patients feel welcome and taken care of when they come up to the desk is so important. Offering a warm greeting often changes their day!


Thank-you Kelley, for sharing your experience, insights, and advice! We're very lucky to have you on the faculty at Herzing College Winnipeg.


Want to learn more about Medical Office Assistant Training?

Herzing College Winnipeg offers a 12-month Medical Office Assistant diploma program. Training includes a 6-week internship in a hospital or clinic setting.

If you would like more information, your next step is to speak with Admissions. An Admissions Advisor will explain courses, career options, tuition costs, scholarships and financial aid options.

The Advisor will discuss your interests, strengths, and learning needs to determine whether the MOA program is right for you.

Find out how the Admissions process works at Herzing: What to Expect at Your Herzing College Admissions Interview

You can chat live with an Advisor right now, or click below to explore the Medical Office Assistant program for yourself. We're here to help!

Explore the Medical Office Assistant Program


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