What Does a Medical Office Assistant Do? (2024 Guide)

Image of a medical office assistant helping a patient with paperwork

quick answer

Providing support to medical professionals, Medical Office Assistants help greet patients, keep records, organize and order supplies, liaise with insurance providers, and perform other administrative tasks as needed.

Medical professionals, such as Doctors, Nurses, and even Administrators, have the massive responsibility of ensuring patients get the care they need. Often the first face a patient sees in the office and the person making sure things get done behind the scenes, Medical Office Assistants (MOAs) play an essential role in the operation of any medical office.

But what does a Medical Office Assistant do? They’re part Office Administrator, part Receptionist, all parts people and health care enthusiasts. Discover the duties, salary, and career prospects in Canada for Medical Office Assistants. 

Medical Office Assistant Duties and Responsibilities

Medical Office Assistants’ tasks and job responsibilities can differ depending on the work environment — in a hospital versus a clinic, for example. The following is a list of what you can expect when working as a Medical Office Assistant

  • Greeting and registering patients
  • Redirecting or escorting patients to their respective areas
  • Addressing patient concerns in person, over the phone, or by email
  • Maintaining office and medical supplies
  • Completing administrative and clerical tasks such as medical records, data entry, and billing
  • Completing insurance and other claim forms
  • Scheduling and confirming client appointments
  • Communicating messages to medical staff and patients
  • Conducting initial interviews with patients to complete forms, documents, and history
  • Receiving payments, recording them in patients’ records, and issuing receipts when necessary

Illustration outlining the hard and soft skills of a medical office assistant

Essential Medical Office Assistant Skills

There are a number of specific skills that ensure a Medical Office Assistant is successful in their role. While a strong penchant for customer service is invaluable, a MOA must also have analytical skills, among others. 

Some of the essential professional competencies in a Medical Office Assistant job posting may include:

  • Knowledge of medical terminology and procedures
  • Business writing
  • Computer competency
  • Knowledge of electronic medical record systems
  • Good “bedside” manner 
  • Ability to accurately do intake information, such as weight, blood pressure, and heart rate

Soft Skills 

Medical office assistants typically deal with clients for most of the day, which is why they need to have excellent interpersonal communication skills. They should also be:

  • Organized
  • Team players
  • Analytical and problem-solvers
  • Detail-oriented
  • Able to multi-task
  • Able to work well under pressure

Required Education and Training 

When it comes to beginning your career as a Medical Office Assistant, aspiring candidates must complete at least a high school Diploma. This is typically expected for most administrative positions. Hiring Managers will likely look for candidates who have a college Certificate or Diploma.

When it comes to Medical Office Assistants, they should have training specific to Medical Office Assistance or in a related health care field. A candidate with a Diploma or Degree in Business Administration would also be a great fit for this career.

Here are some of the things a Medical Office Assistant program, such as Robertson’s Medical Assistant Office Diploma program, will do:

    • Introduce clinical procedures and the key competencies and clinical skills performed in a medical office setting, including vital signs, motor testing, sensory testing, sterile procedures, and more.
    • Teach office procedures that apply to the medical office setting, including navigating medical office software, patient record keeping, office administration, and patient relations.
    • Develop the medical transcription skills necessary to produce accurate medical reports from recorded dictation. 
    • Teach anatomy, physiology, and medical terminology useful to a medical office setting.
    • Develop professional business communication and customer service skills to work in a dynamic medical office setting.
    • Provide emergency first aid/CPR training Certifications.
    • Teach proper typing techniques and help improve keyboarding accuracy.
    • Increase Microsoft Windows applications competency, including Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.
    • Provide hands-on training in either a real or simulated medical office environment.

Map of Canada with the median medical office assistant salaries 

Medical Office Assistant Salary

Before entering any field, it’s important to know what to expect salary-wise. Medical Office Assistant salaries can depend on many factors, including where you’re working, your hours, your province, and more.

The Government of Canada reports that the median salary is $22.56/hour across the country. On the lower end, wages start at $15/hour. On the upper end, they can be as much as $34.55/hour. The average yearly salary for a Medical Office Assistant is $47,433. Here’s an overview of hourly salaries in each province. 

Average Hourly Wages by Province
Location Low ($/hour) Median ($/hour) High ($/hour)
Yukon 19.12 25.35 34.55
Alberta 20.19 28 33.50
Saskatchewan 17 23.09 33.23
Ontario 16.55 22.44 32.05
British Columbia 20 23 29.57
Manitoba 16 21 28
Newfoundland and Labrador 17 22.50 27.54
Nova Scotia 18.13 22 27.07
Prince Edward Island 15 24 27
Quebec 18 21.98 26.54
New Brunswick 18 23.08 26.41
Data from the Government of Canada
No data available for Nunavut or Northwest Territories

Medical Office Assistant Jobs in Canada

Medical Office Assistant is a relatively in-demand job in Canada, with data showing that between 2022 and 2031, job openings in the field will be greater (41,100) than the number of job seekers (36,400). Those interested in working as a Medical Office Assistant may also consider the following careers. 

Jobs Similar to Medical Office Assistant
Role Description Average Annual Salary
Dental Office Manager Similar to a Medical Office Assistant, Dental Office Managers help schedule and check in patients and keep records while acting as Supervisors for the rest of the office. $78,219
Medical Secretary A Medical Secretary helps check patients in, manage records, and schedule appointments, as well as support the office in a supervisory capacity. $70,209
Administrative Assistant Administrative Assistants handle office organization, ensuring supplies are always in stock, customers are greeted, and phones are answered. $65,317
Receptionist Working in any office setting, Receptionists greet people, take calls, manage appointments, and perform other administrative tasks. $58,812
Clinic Manager Clinic Managers handle both administrative and medical tasks for the clinic, helping make decisions to ensure the clinic runs smoothly. $57,360
Source: Indeed

Medical Office Assistant Job Description

Below is a brief overview of what a job description for a Medical Office Assistant may look like. 

Medical Office Assistant 

Job summary:
This is an entry-level position within a private practice. A successful applicant will provide administrative support to the entire clinic, including but not limited to Doctors, Nurses, Patients, and other staff members.

Key responsibilities: 

  • Book appointments and check in patients
  • Update medical records 
  • Communicate with Doctors, Nurses, and insurance providers on behalf of the patient
  • Complete patient intake, including but not limited to blood pressure, weight, and motor testing
  • Manage and order supplies as needed


  • High school Diploma
  • Medical Office Assistant Certificate or similar training (preferred)
  • Or combined experience of a minimum of two years

How To Become a Medical Office Assistant

Becoming a Medical Office Assistant requires a minimum high school Diploma, with a preference for those with some post-secondary education and experience. It’s important to have a Medical Office Assistant resume that demonstrates you’re a good fit for the role. Although there is no single way to become a Medical Office Assistant, here is an overview of the general pathway:

  1. Obtain relevant education: Although there’s no specific education requirement for Medical Office Assistants, a relevant Certification or Diploma will provide the skills to be successful in the role. 
  2. Master technical skills: Candidates should understand core competencies such as medical software and clinical skills needed for the role before applying for jobs. 
  3. Improve soft skills: It’s essential to be organized and people-oriented to work as a Medical Office Assistant. 
  4. Practice and prepare for the job interview: Of course, you can’t get a job without knowing how to successfully interview. Do some practice interview questions and prepare for the interview based on the job description provided.
  5. Stay on top of training: Once you secure a job, you’ll want to continue to stay on top of industry trends and take advantage of upskilling opportunities to remain a valuable asset at your clinic.


Here are some common questions people have about becoming a Medical Office Assistant. 

Is It Worth Becoming a Medical Office Assistant?

Yes. Medical Office Assistants are paid well for the role and get to provide personal care to patients in an administrative capacity. It’s a meaningful career that does not require extensive education — usually a Certificate is required at most. 

Is a Medical Office Assistant a Stressful Job?

Because Medical Office Assistants deal with the public and sensitive health information, the job can be stressful at times. However, if you’re interested in health care and are personable and highly organized, you will likely find the job quite rewarding. 

Is a Medical Office Assistant the Same as a Receptionist?

While the roles have quite a bit of overlap, Receptionists are solely administrative, while Medical Office Assistants help with patient intake tasks such as recording blood pressure. 

Become a Medical Office Assistant With Robertson College

If you’re interested in becoming a Medical Office Assistant, it all starts with the right training. Programs should include both classroom learning, as well as hands-on experience, training students in both the hard and soft skills necessary to succeed as a Medical Office Assistant. 

Want to learn more about what a Medical Office Assistant does? Explore Robertson’s Medical Office Assistant Diploma program and get started toward your rewarding health care career.

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