Healthcare Office Assistant

healthcare office assistant answering phone in medical office

Healthcare Office Assistant-Diploma Program

Become a Healthcare office assistant and join the administrative support team in a variety of healthcare settings. Your HCOA training prepares you for rewarding careers with dental, medical, pharmacy, physiotherapy, optometry and chiropractic and other clinics.

In this HCOA program, you’ll learn the necessary computer software, professional office skills, and the core elements of anatomy, physiology, terminology and pharmacology. As a graduate you’ll have the training you need to find employment in the growing healthcare industry.

This Healthcare Office Assistant program includes office skills specific to the healthcare industry as well as terminology and procedures. It also includes a practicum to provide an opportunity to use your knowledge in a real work setting.

Healthcare Office Skills & Procedures
• Telephone Techniques & Filing Systems
• Scheduling & Recall
• Code of Ethics & Confidentiality
• Medico Legal
• Psychology of Patients Needs
• Patients, Colleagues & Communications
• Collection, Banking Services & Procedures
• Office Equipment
• Business Letter Writing
• Healthcare Insurance
• Clinical Records
• Vital Signs & Standard Precautions
Medical Office Skills
• Medical Terminology
• Medical Transcription
• Computerized Medical Billing
• Dental Office Skills
• Dental Terminology
• Dental Treatment Plans
• Dental Estimates
• Power Practice Dental Software
Pharmacy Assistant Skills
• Prescriptions
• Medication Handling
• Receiving and storing
• Pharmacy Procedures
Computer & Administrative Skills
• Introduction to Technology & Keyboarding
• Microsoft Outlook
• Microsoft Word
• Microsoft Excel
• Microsoft Access
• Business Communications

Job Search Skills


First Aid & CPR

Workplace Hazardous Materials Information Systems (WHMIS)

41 weeks (approximately 820 hours) total

  • 38 weeks of classroom training and a 3 week practicum placement

Students Supply:

  • Loose-leaf paper
  • 3-ring binder
  • Flash drive
  • Pens/pencils/highlighters

College Supplies:

  • Handouts & photocopied materials
  • Student Manuals
  • Confirmation of mature student status (19 years or older on first day, and out of school for 1 full year) OR if under 19, evidence of Grade 12 completion or equivalent
  • Entrance assessment
  • English-competency assessment may be required
  • Meeting with an Admissions Advisor
  • Some level of touch-typing skills (speed is not important)
  • Application and understanding of commonly used healthcare terminology
  • Current computer applications such as MS Word, MS Excel, Internet and Email
  • Using a transcriber for medical letters and reports
  • Following office protocol relating to professionalism, confidentiality, communication and dispute resolution
  • Empathetic listening and customer service skills when communicating with patients or clients
  • Handling difficult clients
  • Managing incoming and outgoing mail (postal and electronic)
  • Office procedures for scheduling appointments, maintaining appointment records, receiving office calls
  • Procedures for answering, transferring and screening office calls
  • using one or more current software billing programs
  • Understanding Release of Information Regulations
  • Students are assessed on each module of their program by either a test, project, assignment or demonstration of skills
  • Students are assessed of professionalism, conduct, and attendance and their practical training components
  • An average of all the module grades, as well as the grades for professional conduct and attendance, is calculated.   Successful completion of the program requires a minimum of 65% average grade, and successful completion of the practicum component

Students participate in 3-week practicum near the end of their program.  During this time students take the role of employee, and work diligently to maximize the learning opportunity and create a positive experience for themselves, the college and the practicum host.

As a graduated Healthcare Office Assistant you’ll be confident and prepared to join the administrative team in the growing healthcare industry.

Types of Employment
• Perform office assistant duties in pharmacies, hospitals, dental and medical offices and physiotherapy, chiropractic, optometrist and naturopathic clinics
• Work as Medical Transcriptionists

Where HCOA Graduates are Working
• St. Joseph’s Hospital
• Courtenay Medical Clinic
• Comox Valley Medical Associates
• Comox Valley Family Services
• Powell River Hospital
• Medical Clinic in Parksville
• Alano Club
• Comox Medical Clinic
• Mt. Washington
• Valley Care Medical


  • BC is currently facing worker shortages in health occupations
  • Employment in this field is expected to grow at an above-average rate
  • Population growth, an aging population, and technological advances in diagnosis and treatment are contributing to increasing demands for health services

Work BC

Click image to download course outline

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