Overview

Our Medical Office Assistant and Unit Clerk program offers an integrated approach to healthcare administration, blending practical skills with foundational knowledge.

This comprehensive program is designed for those aiming to excel in unit clerk and medical office assistant roles.

In this program, you will:

  • learn the basic concepts of medical terminology, including suffixes, prefixes, root words and combining forms
  • learn the day-to-day operations of a medical office, including appointment scheduling, health and safety techniques, public relations and clinical skills
  • understand how to organize the workplace efficiently, manage time effectively and maintain professional workflow systems
  • master the skills required to manage patient records accurately, ensuring confidentiality and compliance with regulations
  • gain expertise in standard office software as well as specialized healthcare management applications 
    get acquainted with emerging technologies that facilitate patient care and enhance service delivery 
  • acquire the ability to handle billing processes, insurance claims and understand the financial aspects of medicine and healthcare services
  • learn the legal aspects of handling health information, focusing on record security, confidentiality and authorized disclosure of patient information
  • create a cover letter and resume, and practice effective communication and conflict management skills. 

You’ll get hands-on experience in an unpaid practicum in a healthcare facility, equipping you with administrative and clinical experience. 

When you graduate, you’ll be ready for roles such as medical office assistant, secretary, and in-patient and out-patient unit clerk in various healthcare settings, including hospitals, doctor’s offices, radiology clinics and rehabilitation centers. 

If you are detail-oriented, have excellent communication skills and a passion for healthcare administration, this program is your key to entering the workforce as a professional in the healthcare administration field.

Flexible learning options

A part-time intake (a course load of less than nine credits per semester) is offered for this program from January through September each year, broken into three semesters:

  • Semester 1: January to April
  • Semester 2: May to August
  • Semester 3: September practicum

This intake is primarily completed online during evenings and weekends, with a face-to-face practicum at the end of the program. It is ideal for those who wish to work full-time while completing the program.

Those in the medical office assistance field tend to be social, objective and directive.

You need:

  • discretion
  • critical thinking
  • communication, organizational and time-management skills
  • attention to detail
  • adaptability
  • interpersonal skills to establish a professional rapport with and instil confidence in patients
  • conflict-resolution skills to deal effectively with the sometimes-difficult behaviours of people in distress
  • the ability to maintain accuracy while multitasking or working under pressure
  • a mature attitude toward the human body, wellness and disease processes
  • the ability to work independently or as part of a team
  • the ability to type 30 words per minute (wpm)
  • to be comfortable sitting for long periods.

You should enjoy dealing with people, be comfortable using different types of computers and tech, and like compiling and organizing information.

You may be exposed to latex and disinfection materials or assist in performing some patient care procedures, which may be sensitive or performed in close proximity to the patient.

You are strongly encouraged to refer to the ALIS website for career, learning, and employment information for medical office assistants and unit clerks to ensure you can successfully meet the occupational requirements for the program and profession.

The opportunity to advance your education by transferring into this program or gain credit for previous postsecondary courses may be available.

There may also be opportunities to further your education once you graduate.

Learn more about program and institution transfer options

You will participate in an unpaid practicum at a healthcare facility or medical office. 

You will be assigned practicum placements with consideration given to your preference of location. However, due to limited availability in Calgary, it might be necessary for you to travel or relocate outside the city.

Special considerations will not be accommodated. You will be responsible for covering the associated fees of the practicum, including entrance requirements, relocation, and travel costs.

In compliance with the practica agreements with our clinical partners, you will be required to provide specific documentation before you can participate in your practicum. Find out what requirements you need for this program. 

After successfully completing this program, you’ll receive a SAIT Medical Office Assistant and Unit Clerk certificate.

Download program info

Careers and opportunities

Each year, SAIT conducts a survey between February and April to determine the employment rate, salary and satisfaction of our newest SAIT alumni. 

people icon 96% graduate employment rate

salary icon $41,600 average starting salary

Find out more about our graduate employment statistics >

Our graduates may work in the following occupations. Some careers require additional experience and education.

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Career counselling and support

Unsure which career path is for you? SAIT offers career planning services to help you decide your future.

You can also get started by taking our online career finder quiz, which can help you narrow down your search based on your current skills and interests.

Finally, you can also head to Alberta alis for various tools and resources, including additional quizzes and labour market information to help you narrow down a career path.

Services and workshops

Courses

The Medical Office Assistant and Unit Clerk certificate requires 18 credits (11 courses) to complete.

The program spans 21 weeks for those studying full-time or 36 weeks for those in our part-time intake, offered in January each year.

Your practicum placement occurs in the final semester.

View classes by semester

Course Credits

This applied computer course provides students with critical electronic communications, data and file management skills, along with a strong focus on using common productivity applications to format, calculate, analyze, visualize, and present or report data and information.

Equivalents:
  • COMP 261
1.5

Healthcare Systems Fundamental introduces learners to basic computer concepts related to healthcare, terminology, components, shortcuts, and security.

1.5

Health Information Law 1 is an introduction to the Canadian legal system and legislation that impacts health information management. The health record is a legal document frequently subpoenaed in court as evidence. Emphasis is on the legalities of record security, confidentiality, and authorized disclosure of patient information.

1.5

This course introduces learners to the organization, structure and chart management functions of a patient health record. The policies for record completion, security, numbering, filing, storage, retention and disclosure of information will also be covered.

1.5

This course will introduce learners to the multifaceted role of a unit clerk which includes coordination and management of information flow in the day-to-day operations of a unit within a healthcare facility. Focus will be placed upon communication and interpersonal skills, time management and managing stress through the use of interactive activities in a simulated environment.

1.5

In Electronic Medical Record, learners will be creating patient electronic medical records as they relate to medical office practices. Patient record security and access to patient information will also be discussed.

1.5

This course introduces learners to insured and uninsured billing in a medical office setting. Medical office bookkeeping, provincial insurance plans, diagnostic fee codes, Schedule of Medical Benefits, and Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) billing will be covered. Learners will be provided with hands-on experience with the newest software applications.

3

Clinical Placement provides learners with opportunities to apply the skills, knowledge and attitudes required for medical laboratory assistants in approved clinical laboratories.

1.5

This course introduces the professional working environment of the medical office. Learners will be provided with hands-on training in appointment management, administrative duties, clinical responsibilities and communication skills. Learners will also gain knowledge of public relations and infection control in a medical office.

1.5

Practicum provides an opportunity for learners to integrate the theory of medical office and/or unit clerk practices including, but not limited to, electronic health/medical records, patient scheduling, and access and disclosure to health information, in a healthcare setting. Professional interactions between health professionals and clients will be highlighted during this practical experience.

Pre-requisites:
  • HCPP 220
  • COMP 264
  • HILA 200
  • HRSC 206
  • HRSC 220
  • HRSC 231
  • MDOF 240
  • MEDT 211
  • MDOF 203
  • PROF 252
1.5

PROF 252 Professional Practice addresses the human relations and communication skills needed to work as a medical office assistant and unit clerk. Teamwork, conflict resolution, interpersonal communication, career planning and practicum preparation are emphasized.

1.5

Progression

Students must attain a PGPA and/or a CGPA of 2.0 or better in each semester and pass the necessary prerequisite courses to progress through the program. To qualify for graduation, students must pass all courses, attain a CGPA of 2.0 or better and complete course requirements within the prescribed timelines.

Review our grading and progression procedure >

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Explore your options!

Some courses in this program are available through Open Studies. You can complete courses via Open Studies to get a head start on your education, reduce your course load once accepted into a credentialed program, or determine which career path best suits you before you fully commit. 

You may also take courses for general interest or personal and professional development.

Available Open Studies courses

Admission requirements

Applicants educated in Canada

Applicants must demonstrate English language proficiency and meet the following requirements or equivalents:

  • at least 60% in English Language Arts 30-1 or English Language Arts 30-2.

SAIT accepts high school course equivalents for admission for applicants educated outside Alberta.

All applicants who were educated outside of Canada must demonstrate English Language proficiency and provide proof they meet the program admission requirements with an international document assessment. Find out what educational documents are accepted and assessment options.

SAIT may also accept courses completed at certain international post-secondary institutions.

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Academic Upgrading

Missing an admission requirement for this program? Upgrade your prior education to help you receive admission into one of SAIT's career programs.

Upgrade
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English language proficiency

All applicants must demonstrate English language proficiency prior to admission, including students educated in Canada.

Learn more

Available intakes

Fall 2024

Start dates:

Domestic students: Open
  • Application deadline: June 28, 2024

Costs

2023/24 Tuition and fees

The following costs are effective as of July 1, 2023. They are an estimate of tuition and fees based on the recommended course load per year.

Domestic students

Year Number of semesters Tuition fees Additional fees Total per year
1 2 $6,552 $1,570 $8,122
Total cost:
$8,122

Books and supplies are approximately $650 per full-time year.

This is a bring-your-own-device program with a standard computer hardware and software requirement. See the specific requirements on our computers and laptops page.

Find your booklist on the SAIT Bookstore’s website. The booklist will be available closer to the program start date. Can’t find your program or course? The bookstore didn’t receive a textbook list. Contact your program directly to determine if they’re still refining course details or if you’re in luck; no textbook purchase is required this term.

You are responsible for additional expenses related to your practicum, including pre-practicum requirements and relocation costs to practicum sites outside of Calgary.

Required personal protective equipment (PPE)

The industry-approved PPE you’ll need will be discussed during your first few days of classes.

You will also be required to purchase the Practice Medical Office Simulation

Additional fees

  • A fee is associated with obtaining a police information check, including a vulnerable sector check, payable to the police or the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).
  • You must have your immunizations reviewed by the SAIT Health Clinic. There is a $75 charge to review your vaccine and medical history. Any vaccines you need to be administered will result in additional charges.
  • A fee of approximately $50 to $100 is associated with an electronic student permit checking submission required for clinical practicum placements, payable to Synergy Gateway through the Verified software platform.
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Financial aid

Paying for your education may feel overwhelming, but we have resources and programs that can help, including information about payment options, student loans, grants and scholarships.

Learn more
Canada Alberta Job Grant icon

This program is eligible for Canada Alberta Job Grant funding.

Application process

Ready to apply?

Follow our step-by-step guide to submitting a successful application.

Learn how to apply

Communication during admission

Email is the primary source of communication during the admission process. Ensure your personal email account is managed appropriately to receive our emails, files and communications. 

We recommend you add hps.info@sait.ca domain to your safe senders' list or you risk missing critical email messages. 

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Begin your application

Apply now using the online application portal. 

Ensure you have a valid Visa or Mastercard to pay the non-refundable application fee of $120 for domestic applicants or $150 for international applicants. 

Apply now

Information sessions

Prepare for a strong start in your chosen program or get the details you need to decide your future path.

Our expert staff and faculty are ready to answer your questions and provide information about the following:

  • What sets SAIT apart
  • An introduction to the program and area of study
  • Admission requirements
  • Future career paths
  • Information on the earning potential and graduate employment rates.

Contact us

School of Health and Public Safety Advising

Phone
403.284.8500
Email
hps.info@sait.ca