Skagit Valley College logo

Patient Registration Specialist

Welcome to the Patient Registration Specialist Program

Patient Registration Specialist personnel perform the necessary duties in order to keep a medical center or clinic running smoothly on a day-to-day basis. The Patient Registration Specialist program trains students in clerical and reception skills that are needed in medical settings. The Patient Registration Specialist is often the first person a client or patient talks to when entering a medical facility.  This position requires individuals who are not only friendly and helpful to patients, physicians and staff, but also have a high degree of professionalism, accuracy and timeliness.  Patient Registration Specialist personnel are employed in a variety of medical offices, insurance companies, public health agencies, long-term care medical settings, clinics, hospitals, or other healthcare facilities. Common tasks include greeting the patient, taking information, instructing patients on completing medical forms, referring patient questions to appropriate sources, scheduling visits, answering the phone, reviewing patients' account status, and other duties as assigned by the employer.  The Patient Registration Specialist goes by many names: receptionist, staffing assistant, admitting registrar, patient care coordinator.  These positions are usually entry-level and although they require no credentialing, the training and experience offered through this certificate should provide a hiring advantage to job seekers.

Patient Registration Specialist personnel are included in the "high demand occupations" needed for trained health care workers.  Patient Registration personnel work in clean, climate-controlled environments. Manual dexterity and good motor coordination are necessary to enable students to be able to use the computer and manipulate office machines. Keyboarding skills are essential.  A registration clerk must be able to promote a positive and cooperative work environment by communicating problems and workflow issues with supervisors, and handling conflict in an appropriate manner.  Patient Registration personnel must also be able to respect the culture, values and opinions of others.

Program Options

The estimated program length is based on full-time enrollment.  It is the student's responsibility to discuss sequencing and work out their individual schedule with a counselor or program advisor.  Any developmental coursework a student may be required to complete may increase the program length.  The certificate is not intended for university transfer.


NOTE: at Skagit Valley College Micro-certificates of Completion are designed for taking courses over a short period of time focusing on enhancement or development of a specific skill or set of skills.  Micro-certificate courses can help enhance employability skills or provide preparation for continuing education in the program area.  Students must maintain a 2.0 GPA or above in all required course work.

Program Learning Outcomes:

Graduates of the Patient Registration Specialist program will

  • Communicate orally & in writing at a level necessary for successful employment in a medical facility.
  • Read, spell, understand & pronounce basic terms of medical terminology & apply them appropriately.
  • Demonstrate the skill and competence required to operate a personal computer system and the associated software as typically found in a medical office environment.
  • Achieve an industry-level proficiency in keyboarding and word processing.
  • Perform those basic office tasks and procedures that are typical in entry-level medical office positions, including reception and standard filing practices.
  • Accurately use and prepare common medical forms including insurance forms.
  • Communicate respectfully and professionally with co-workers, health care professionals, customers, patients, and their families.
  • Understand and practice the professional work habits expected in the medical office field, including confidentiality and ethical practices.
  • Possess a commitment to diversity and enhanced employability through the understanding and practice of human relations, teamwork, and patient service skills.
  • Demonstrate the ability to research employment opportunities, prepare an effective employment package, including resume, and present oneself positively in a job interview.

Program Entry Requirements

Students must apply to the Admissions Office for an application to Skagit Valley College. To enroll in this program students must be a high school graduate or posses an equivalent diploma (GED), have previous experience working in a medical facility, and have extensive knowledge of medical terminology.  Excellent verbal and written communication skills are also required.

Career Opportunities

The Occupational Information Network (O*NET) is the nation's primary source of occupational information.  The O*Net Online database is an interactive research tool for exploring and searching occupations.  The database, developed by the US Department of Labor, contains information on hundreds of standardized and occupation-specific descriptors, and provides a variety of FREE Career Exploration Tools.

O-Net Online: www.onetonline.org 

  • SOC   43-4171.00 - Receptionists and Information Clerks
  • SOC   43-6013.00 - Medical Secretaries

Job Search Information

For more detailed information about Washington State healthcare employment trends, wage rates, employment opportunities, job tasks, etc. search the websites listed below: