UNIT CLERK AND MEDICAL OFFICE ASSISTANT
START A NEW CAREER IN HEALTHCARE IN ONLY 26 WEEKS
BECOMING A MEDICAL OFFICE ASSISTANT OR UNIT CLERK
Heritage College’s Unit Clerk and Medical Office Assistant certificate program readies students to enter Canada’s growing healthcare industry. This express program gets you the education you need quicker than other Calgary-area colleges, so you can graduate and start your new career in only 26 weeks.
At Heritage College, you’ll learn from an experienced team of doctors, nurses, and healthcare experts, and master the skills today’s employers are looking for. Our instructors share their valuable, real-world knowledge and experience, preparing you to become part of a modern healthcare team.
In this program, you’ll learn to oversee healthcare organizations and assist in clinical functions. This course introduces its students to medical terminology, clinical and office procedures, Alberta Healthcare billing, Electronic Health Records, and medical transcriptions as core subjects. After completing this program, you will be prepared to aid in supervising numerous medical office procedures.
As a non-clinical member of a health care team, medical office assistants and unit clerks coordinate information from doctors, nurses, medical administration, insurance providers, patients and families. Over the length of this course, you will learn medical transcription, scheduling, admissions and discharge procedures, and other clerical duties. You’ll also be prepared to prioritize tasks, adapt to changes, and develop effective communication strategies for a medical office environment.
Heritage Career College’s 6-month Express Medical Office Assistant and Unit Clerk program includes three weeks of hands-on work experience in Calgary-area medical facilities, or other partner institutions across Alberta. We divide our practicum experience into two sections: one half in a clinical environment, and the other half in a long-term care facility. Graduates of our programs receive continuing support from Heritage College’s Career Services department, including help with job searches, resume and LinkedIn profile reviews, and interview preparation.
Graduates of Heritage College’s Unit Clerk and Medical Office Assistant program develop the office administration and medical knowledge needed to manage the front-office operations of a medical clinic, nursing home or hospital unit. Over the length of this 6-month program, students:
- Gain valuable hands-on experience in labs and practicums, including sterilization, patient preparation, basic urinalysis and the recording of vital signs
- Study medical terminology, anatomy, physiology and pharmacology to help identify a patient’s medical issues.
- Obtain vital experience with medical transcription, including numerous real-world practical exercises to hone this in-demand skill
- Explore medical clinics, long-term care facilities, and hospitals to discover the differences between these facilities and prepare students for careers in a variety of medical settings
- Learn the regulations and laws that govern medical practice in Alberta
How You'll Learn
Heritage Career College’s Express Unit Clerk and Medical Office Assistant certificate program has two delivery methods:
- In-Class: Either five days a week (morning option) or two days a week (weekend option) at Heritage College’s Northeast Calgary campus.
- Blended: Lectures and theory delivered online, with online assessment; occasional labs and exams in-class at our Northeast Calgary campus. In total, 325 hours of instruction is delivered online, and 255 hours is delivered in-class.
This program combines lectures, visual aides, hands-on learning via practical exercises, projects, exams and group discussions into an accessible learning experience. Validation of knowledge is done through through exams, practical tests, projects, and practicum evaluation.
Medical office assistants, medical secretaries and unit clerks are core members of most healthcare teams. Our graduates can find employment in:
- Nursing Homes
- Continuing Care Facilities
- Rehabilitation Institutes
- Medical Clinics and Physicians’ Offices
- Diagnostic Medical Imaging Offices
- Dental Offices
Your job responsibilities will vary depending on the type of employment you find. In most clinics and hospitals, a unit clerk or medical office assistant is the first point of contact for patients. Our graduates work as medical receptionists, unit clerks, medical billing clerks, medical transcriptionists, medical office secretaries and clinic managers.
For more information about the career of medical office assistant, visit alis’ medical office assistant career information page.
Your education is one of the most important decisions you make in your life. It’s an investment in your future, and it can pay you back in dividends.
At Heritage College, we work with you to ensure you can afford the education you need to transform your life. We have helped many students get financial aid, and our team is ready to help you make the right decisions for your future as well.
Our admissions team will work with you to determine the options that best fit your own personal financial needs and situation. This program is eligible for Canada Student Loans, other forms of government funding, and scholarships. We can advise you on Alberta Student Aid, personal lines of credit, RESPs, and our own in-house student financing. We work with you to ensure you are securely funded before you start your program, so you start your program confident you will be able to see it through to the end.
You can visit our Tuition and Financial Aid page for more information on how we can help you afford your education. Please also visit our Scholarships and Grants Page for information about current financial aid opportunities exclusive to Heritage College students.
Upcoming Start Dates
June 26 - In-Class Weekends
August 10 - Blended Weekdays
700 Total Hours
580 Theory | 120 Practicum
Blended (325 hrs online, 255 hrs lab)
No high school diploma? No problem!
Heritage Career College doesn’t require a high school diploma for our mature admissions pathway.
Standard admission is for students who have graduated from high school or another educational institute within the past year.
Students must be 18 years of age or older, and have one of the following:
- an Alberta high school diploma, verified by transcript
- a non-Alberta equivalent
- a General Equivalency Diploma (G.E.D.)
Students must also clear a criminal background check, have a complete immunization record, and demonstrate basic computer knowledge.
Medical Office Assistant and Unit Clerk certificate program students complete a 3-week, 120-hour hands-on work experience at Calgary-area partner clinics, laboratories and long-term care facilities, or at one of our partner institutions across Alberta. Typically, one half of this work experience is at a medical clinic or laboratory, and the other half is at a long term care facility. However, external circumstances might influence the exact breakdown of the practicum.
To take part in this practicum, students must meet the following requirements:
What our grads say...
Fill out the following form and one of our Admissions Advisers will get in contact with you to answer any questions you have.
MEDICAL OFFICE ASSISTANT ANDUNIT CLERK COURSE DESCRIPTIONS
This is only an outline of our Medical Office Assistant and Unit Clerk program. For more information about our curriculum, please contact our admissions advisers.
This course covers professionalism in business communications with an emphasis on correct English grammar, spelling and punctuation. Students also develop proofreading skills. Business communications exercises will further sharpen keyboarding skills.
Over this course, students learn essential computer knowledge and skills, helping them to maximize efficiency in the fast-paced healthcare industry. This course develops proficiency in Microsoft Word, Excel, and Outlook. Knowledge of Microsoft Office provides the necessary backbone needed to manage a variety of administrative healthcare tasks.
This course involves an introduction to human anatomy and physiology. Taught in a hands-on manner, students will learn through descriptions, illustrations, videos, flashcards and exercises. Students learn the basic structure of medical terminology through developing an understanding of root words combined with prefixes and suffixes. System-associated terminologies follow with corresponding abbreviations, pathologies, clinical and diagnostic procedures. Upon completion of this course, students learn to:
- Identify, spell, and pronounce the basic components of medical terms.
- Understand the structures and physiology of body systems.
- Name, spell, define pathologic conditions, drugs, lab or diagnostic tests, and therapeutic procedures related to the systems studied.
- Identify and define commonly used medical abbreviations and terminologies associated with major systems of the body.
Over the length of this course, students develop necessary medical office clerical skills. These skills are applicable in a variety of medical settings such as medical clinics, private offices, specialist offices and hospitals.
Upon completion of the course the student will be able to:
- Schedule appointments
- Conduct inventories
- File reports correctly
- Assess office equipment functions
- Scan, fax, route phones and other crucial office tasks
- Have a clear understanding of their role in different medical settings
- Understand the growth of the healthcare environment
- Develop a Policy and Procedures Manual
- Demonstrate practical interpersonal communication skills
- Ensure a healthy work environment and prevent work-related injuries
- Demonstrate cultural tolerance and understanding
- Work with patients who have challenging or special needs
In this course, students will learn how to:
- Relate microbiology in asepsis, sterilization, and disinfection procedures
- Take and record vital signs
- Prepare patients and assist physicians in medical procedures
- Properly collect specimens and complete requisitions
- Complete basic diagnostic urinalysis
- Recognize medical instruments and take inventory of essential medical supplies
- Ensure Quality Assurance in a healthcare environment
Students in this course learn core business administration competencies, including banking procedures, payroll management and financial management.
This course provides students with an understanding of the structure of health services in Alberta. It covers the Health Information Act, as well as other laws governing healthcare practise and the area of medical law and ethics in the province.
Over the length of this course, students familiarize themselves with various letters and reports routinely dictated by medical professionals. This course covers proper formatting, sentence structure, punctuation, grammar and spelling. Students develop listening, comprehension, editing and proofreading skills. Also included is the importance of confidentiality in medical practice.
Building upon completion of the Medical Terminology, Medical Office Administration Procedures, and Clinical Competencies courses, this course reinforces medical terms and procedures and further improves keyboarding skills.
Upon completion, the students would have learned to:
- Understand the basic concept and rules in medical transcription
- Place the utmost importance on confidentiality
- Set up and use a transcription machine
- Edit and proofread commonly transcribed medical reports
Students develop the skills needed to help physicians prepare claims for services insured under Alberta Health Insurance Plan (AHCIP).
Upon completion, the student would have learned to:
- Identify insured and uninsured services under AHS
- Prepare claims and understand the necessary materials needed in all claims.
- Update submitted data
- Verify a patient’s coverage
- Understand Alberta’s Statement of Assessment and Statement of Accounts
- Use Price Lists, Procedures List, Diagnostic Codes and Explanatory Codes
In this course, students learn how to handle electronic medical records, appointment booking, and procedure billing in an electronic patient database. This includes hands-on experience with both the Med Access EMR and the Alberta Netcare system.
This course covers the non-clinical, administrative tasks performed by Unit Clerks and Unit Coordinators in hospital nursing units. Working under the direction of a Nurse Manager or Unit Manager, Unit Clerks are essential in coordinating activities in the unit. Unit Clerks monitor patients’ medical records, assist in transcribing doctor’s orders, and participate in new patient intake. Professional and interpersonal skills are vital in helping medical and non-medical staff, patients and visitors.
Over the length of this course, students will learn:
- The basics of Hospitals, Medical Centers, and today’s Health Care Systems
- Personal and Professional Skills, including Communication and Interpersonal Skills, Workplace Behaviours, Management Techniques and Problem-Solving Skills
- How to read a Patient’s Chart, Electronic Medical Record (EMR) and Kardex
- A Unit Clerk’s role in processing Doctors’ Orders, including Electronic, Handwritten or Pre-printed
- Medical Abbreviations
- Nursing Observation Orders, Patient Activity and Positioning
- Nursing Intervention and Treatment Orders
- Nutritional Care Orders
- Medication Orders
- Laboratory Orders
- Diagnostic Imaging Orders and Other Diagnostic Studies
- Treatment Orders and other miscellaneous orders
- Admissions, Preoperative and Postoperative Procedures
- Discharge, Transfer and Post-mortem Procedures Reports
- Infection Control, Emergency Management, and Special Services
This course teaches job search skills and helps students understand the labour market. It includes coaching in writing effective resumes and cover letters. Students also participate in mock interviews to correct and refine skills, increasing employment readiness.
- Job search strategies
- Resume and cover letter writing
- Mock interviews and retrospective reviews
- The role of social media in job hunting