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Health Unit Coordinator Career

How to Become a Health Unit Coordinator

Also known as a “unit secretary,” a health unit coordinator helps a hospital, physician’s office, or other medical facility maintain smooth operations. Among other responsibilities, as a health unit coordinator, you’ll organize communication between patients and medical staff, update patient medical files, and address patient issues.

The unit coordinator is the cornerstone of any successful medical business. You will perform many of the essential duties that keep a healthcare business running, whether you’re answering phones or maintaining an efficient workplace calendar. To keep a hospital or medical center on schedule, healthcare staff will depend on your communication and attention to detail.

If you’re organized, communicative, and passionate about pairing patients with high-quality care, the job of a health unit coordinator could be a rewarding career option.

Health service coordinator meeting with patient

What Is a Health Unit Coordinator?

A health unit coordinator handles general administrative duties in a clinical setting, including patient outreach, appointment scheduling, and other duties. As a health unit coordinator, your focus on organizational duties will allow licensed healthcare staff members to provide high levels of care.

Unlike a health care coordinator—who works directly with patients to schedule appointments, implement treatment plans, and explain paperwork—health unit coordinators spend most of their time coordinating office processes. You will still communicate frequently with patients, especially when addressing any of their concerns or communicating with family members.

What Does a Health Unit Coordinator Do?

As a health unit coordinator, you will satisfy several responsibilities on a day-to-day basis. These individual duties include:

  • Checking in new patients when they arrive at your healthcare facility.
  • Scheduling patient appointments on behalf of their healthcare practitioners.
  • Communicating with patients and family members, to answer any questions and provide updates on the status of patient care and recovery.
  • Addressing patient issues and complaints.
  • Updating patient health records with any new or medically accurate information.
  • Communicating with healthcare staff members, to coordinate schedules, provide relevant patient updates, and identify any ways that the office could better serve its employees.
  • Ordering any new medical items as office supplies become low, or whenever new medical materials are necessary.

These and other responsibilities define the day-to-day operations of a health unit coordinator.

What Education Does a Health Unit Coordinator Need?

Health unit coordinators require specific education before they can begin their careers. You can take steps toward a health unit coordinator position through a bachelor’s degree in health services coordination. A health services coordinator degree program teaches students how to coordinate with healthcare providers, interact with patients, and provide essential administrative services in a clinical setting. This kind of degree gives students important skills and credentials that can help prepare them to work with patients in a healthcare setting, while combining important administrative, technical, and business tasks.

Health Services Coordination – B.S.

An online health degree program for students passionate about...

An online health degree program for students...

An online health degree program for students passionate about value-based care and dedicated to helping others.

  • Time: 60% of graduates of similar programs finish within 3 years.
  • Tuition and fees: $3,795 per 6-month term, plus a Health Professions Student Fee of $350.

Sample careers and jobs this degree will prepare you for:

  • Care coordinator
  • Patient advocate
  • Health services coordinator
  • Patient educator
  • Community health educator

This degree allows you to work inside the healthcare industry, while also directly working with patients who need help.

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What Skills Does a Health Unit Coordinator Need?

On a daily basis, health unit coordinators rely on a defined set of skills to complete tasks. These skills help them communicate with patients and healthcare staff, operate technology, and ultimately encourage a healthcare facility toward long-term success.

The individual skills that a health unit coordinator needs can include:

  • Problem-solving: The ability to identify and address any problems that a clinical facility is facing, or any issues that individual patients face.

  • Interpersonal communication: The ability to correspond appropriately with healthcare staff, doctors, medical suppliers, patients, and their family members.

  • Business management: The ability to coordinate business operations in a way that ensures the success of a medical clinic.

  • Phone etiquette: The ability to communicate with patients, schedule appointments, and answer questions over the phone.

  • Technological proficiency: The ability to operate all necessary pieces of office technology, including any computers, tablets, company phones, and online software programs.

  • Patient management: The ability to keep all patient schedules coordinated and organized, welcoming new patients and discharging patients who have completed their period of care.

  • Syntax interpretation: The ability to understand shorthand abbreviations and other terminology that medical practitioners and other healthcare staff members use.

These and other skills make for a successful health unit coordinator, an integral member of a healthcare team who leverages administrative skills to keep offices running without interruption.

How Much Does a Health Unit Coordinator Make?


The exact income of a health unit coordinator depends on a number of factors, including their employer, employer location, employer’s funding, years of experience, amount of schooling, and the status of any active certifications. In general, the salary of a health unit coordinator averages $64,205, with a range of roughly $20,237 to $165,380 per year.

What Is the Projected Job Growth?


In general, employment for health unit coordinators (or health services managers) is expected to grow 32% from 2019 to 2029. This forecasted growth should add an expected 133,200 health service manager positions, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

An aging population is one reason behind this increase in employment. As baby boomers grow older, their need for long-term care to address chronic issues will increase. The need for qualified health unit coordinators — who can provide administrative services in a healthcare environment — is expected to rise in parallel.

Where Do Health Unit Coordinators Work?


As a health unit coordinator, you are eligible to work in a wide variety of clinical settings. These locations include:

-Outpatient facilities


-Inpatient care centers

-Partial hospitalization centers

-General doctor’s offices

-Emergency care centers

These and other locations commonly employ health unit coordinators.

Interested in Becoming a Health Unit Coordinator?

Learn more about degree programs that can prepare you for this meaningful career.

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