Become a Health Unit Coordinator
Discover what you'll do in a health unit coordinator career.
What you'll do: You'll handle everything from maintaining patient charts and scheduling diagnostic tests to ordering supplies and transcribing doctor's orders. You'll also receive new patients and give information and directions to visitors. Because you'll serve as an important link between departments, physicians, nursing staff and patients and their visitors, you'll need to have excellent written and verbal communication skills.
Where you'll work: Hospitals, clinics, insurance companies, public health care agencies, nursing homes
Degree you'll need: High school diploma plus 6-month to 1-year certificate or diploma program
Median annual salary: $30,530*
Cities with highest employment level: Los Angeles, Houston, Boston, Atlanta, Dallas, Santa Ana, St, Louis, San Diego
Health Unit Coordinator Training
In addition to having your GED or high school diploma, you'll need to complete a unit coordinator program, usually a 6-month to 1-year certificate or diploma program. In the training programs, students receive a combination of classroom and clinical training. You'll learn clerical skills, medical terminology, hospital organization, legal and ethical responsibilities, and transcription of doctors' orders.
Health Unit Coordinator Licensure
National certification is optional, but some employers may require it. After you graduate from an accredited unit coordinator program, you'll qualify to sit for the National Health Unit Coordinator Certification Examination (NHUCCE). Successful completion results in the title of Certified Health Unit Coordinator (CHUC).
Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics wage data published March 27, 2012; Medical Secretaries.
*The salary information listed is based on a national average, unless noted. Actual salaries may vary greatly based on specialization within the field, location, years of experience and a variety of other factors. National long-term projections of employment growth may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, and do not guarantee actual job growth.
Did You Know?
- Many health unit coordinators begin their careers as Certified Nursing Assistants.
- Health care coordinator jobs first came about during World War II, when nurses were needed to take over certain physician responsibilities, such as checking vital signs and intravenous therapy.