Medical Administrative Assistant vs Medical Biller and Coder


If you are ready to pursue a rewarding career in healthcare, you will need to decide which type of medical career is the best choice for you. Two popular choices are Medical Administrative Assisting and Medical Billing/Coding. At National American University, we train students just like you for successful careers in both of these rewarding fields. Before you decide which Allied Healthcare career is right for you, read more about these specialized medical careers, and then make an informed decision for yourself.

Medical Administrative Assistants and Medical Biller/Coders are both allied healthcare careers, and are trained medical personnel. These professionals are integral parts of medical care teams. Working with and alongside doctors, these medical professionals perform vital tasks, freeing up doctors’ and nurses’ time. These two positions are responsible for different tasks, however.

What Does a Medical Administrative Assistant Do?

Medical Administrative Assistants are responsible for a medical office’s administrative tasks and are the professionals who keep the healthcare system running smoothly. The Medical Administrative Assistant’s job is challenging, but also highly rewarding. Some typical duties of a Medical Administrative Assistant include greeting patients, answering telephones, handling correspondence, scheduling appointments, arranging for hospital admission and laboratory services, updating and filing patients’ medical records, filling out insurance forms, and handling billing and bookkeeping.

Another important role of the Medical Administrative Assistant is to act as a liaison, or coordinator, between the medical staff and the patient. Medical Assistants are often responsible for explaining to the patient any upcoming procedure, answering patient questions about medical procedures, and relating information both to and from the attending doctor. For this reason, good communication and interpersonal skills are absolutely vital for Medical Assistants. Medical Administrative Assistants should also be very organized, have the ability to multitask, and be able to work both independently and as part of a team.

Medical Administrative Assistant Degree Programs

Medical administrative assisting typically requires an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. NAU’s Medical Administrative Assistant program prepares students for this career through a completely online course format. Courses include Medical Law & Ethics,  Medical Record Management, and Healthcare Coding. Graduates of NAU’s program are thoroughly prepared to test for the industry-recognized Medical Assistant National Certification by the NCCT. To learn more about this program, visit the Medical Administrative Assistant program page.

What Does a Medical Biller and Coder Do?

Medical Biller/Coders, on the other hand, are also a critical part of the medical team, but have different responsibilities and tasks. Medical Biller/Coders are responsible for ensuring the medical provider or practice is compensated for their services. Every medical procedure, injury, illness, and diagnosis has a corresponding medical code. Medical Coders assign the designated codes to each individual patient service and diagnosis, and Medical Billers use those codes to request payment from the patient’s insurance company. These Medical Office Specialists perform vital administrative healthcare tasks, freeing doctors and other medical staff to provide direct care to patients.

Medical Billing and Coding Training Programs

While medical administrative assistants often have a degree, medical billing and coding professionals can earn a certificate or diploma. The online Medical Biller/Coder program at National American University trains students in the skills they need to enter into a variety of entry-level positions in this rewarding healthcare field. NAU students learn comprehensive medical coding and billing procedures, current medical software and trends in the insurance industry. Students learn medical terminology, medical billing software, and how to prepare and file insurance claims and analyze benefits. Graduates are prepared to pursue certification through national professional associations, such as the American Association of Professional Coders (AAPC) or the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA).


If you are interested in a truly rewarding medical career you can be proud of, then call NAU call us at (855) 448-2318. Our friendly and helpful Admissions Representatives are waiting to tell you more about NAU and our online programs and can help you begin the enrollment process. Don’t put your future on hold any longer, make your goals a reality with NAU!


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