Medical Secretaries Overview

Medical secretaries are among the top ranked occupations with the largest number of job openings. Applicants with deep knowledge of computer software applications should expect the best job opportunities. Employers are increasingly looking for applicants who have received a certificate or associates degree in medical administration.

Nature of the Work for Medical Secretaries

Medical Secretaries

Medical secretaries help to run a health organization efficiently by performing a wide array of clerical and administrative duties. Some of their duties include scheduling appointments and meetings, maintain paper and electronic files, perform research and give out information to other staff and patients.

Medical secretaries often use a large amount of office equipments, including photocopiers, telephone systems, fax machines and photocopiers. The increase in computer technology has allowed for medical secretaries to perform work that was previously reserved for managers and professionals such as writing correspondence, managing databases and developing reports and presentations on digital publishing software. Sometimes a medical secretary will provide orientation and training for new staff, operate new office technologies and perform research on the Internet.

With experience, a medical secretary may move up to executive medical secretary and administrative assistants. Their job differs because they are providing less clerical tasks and more information management than medical secretaries. Executive medical secretaries take over more complicated responsibilities such as reviewing submission, memos and reports to decide on their significance and prepare for distribution. In addition to these duties, they also arrange conference calls and supervise other clerical staff. In some cases, they perform research and conduct statistical reports.

Medical secretaries have to complete training to acquire the knowledge of technical terminology and procedures. This is important because they mainly write correspondence, transcribe dictation and assist physicians and medical scientists with reports, articles, conference proceedings and speeches. In addition to these tasks, they may also record medical histories, call for patients to be hospitalized and order medical supplies. Knowledge of billing standards, insurance practices and hospital and laboratory procedures is necessary for this career.

Medical secretaries work at medical offices and often sit for extended amounts of time. Those who spend a lot of time keyboarding may experience eyestrain, stress or carpal tunnel syndrome. Most medical secretaries work a full 40-hour week, however some work in temporary positions.

Training, Other Qualifications and Advancement for Medical Secretaries

Although some medical secretaries graduate from a high school vocation education program, the majority of medical secretaries are required to complete specialized postsecondary training programs in order to learn the terminology of the business. Executive medical secretaries especially are increasingly required to have a college degree because they are working closely with top executives. A bachelors degree in medical administration gives applicants an edge in the application process.

In order to advance their knowledge of the industry, many medical secretaries tend to go through on-the-job instruction by equipment and software vendors or other employees. Sometimes they may attend a class online or on-campus to understand how to operate new office technologies. Continuing education is becoming an integral part of this career as office automation continues to expand.

Medical secretaries should have excellent oral and written communication skills, and be proficient in typing. Because they must often deal tactfully with other patients and other employees, they must have good customer service and interpersonal skills. Medical secretaries must also be versatile and adaptable to changes in the office environment.

Generally, medical secretaries advance by being promoted to other administrative positions with greater responsibilities, such as an executive medical secretary. Knowledge of the industry may also lead a medical secretary to become an instructor or sales representative of medical manufacturers of computer equipment or software.

Top 10 Most Popular Medical Administrative/Executive Assistant and Medical Secretary Schools

1. Instituto de Banca y Comercio, San Juan (San Juan, Puerto Rico)
2. Sawyer School (Pawtucket, Rhode Island)
3. Somerset Community College, Somerset (Somerset, Kentucky)
4. Universal Technology College of Puerto Rico (Aguadilla, Puerto Rico)
5. Hunter Business School, Levittown (Levittown, New York)
6. Bowling Green Technical College, Bowling Green (Bowling Green, Kentucky)
7. Olympia Career Training Institute, Kalamazoo (Kalamazoo, Michigan)
8. Western Iowa Tech Community College (Sioux City, Iowa)
9. Big Sandy Community and Technical College, Prestonsburg (Prestonsburg, Kentucky)
10. STVT - Weslaco, TX (Weslaco, Texas)

See All Medical Administrative/Executive Assistant and Medical Secretary Schools

Top 10 Most Popular Online Medical Administrative/Executive Assistant and Medical Secretary Schools

1. Lake Region Technical College - Online School
2. Centura College - Online School
3. Bryant & Stratton College
4. Columbia Southern University
5. Jones International University - Online
6. Fortis College Online
7. Herzing University - Online School
8. Career Point College - Online School
9. RETS College - Online School
10. Vatterott College - Online School

Employment and Job Outlook for Medical Secretaries

Number of People in Profession


Changing Employment (2008-2018)

Employment is projected to grow about as fast as average (increase 7 - 13%).

Out of the 4.3 million jobs for secretaries, there are about 469,740 jobs for medical secretaries.

Employment growth for all secretaries and administrative assistants should be 11 percent in the next decade, which is about as fast as average for all occupations. However, in the healthcare industry, there is expected to be a much faster than average growth for medical secretaries.

Advancement of new office automation technologies and organizational restructuring will make medical secretaries more productive. Medical secretaries will accomplish more in the same amount of time due to the use of scanners, computers, voice message systems and Email. In some medical offices, medical assistants assume the same tasks that were once completed by secretaries. In addition, it is common for small to medium-sized organizations to outsource key administrative functions such as bookkeeping, data entry and Internet research.

Because medical secretaries perform other duties that cannot be easily automated, such as planning conferences and working with clients, a demand will continue to grow. Also, as medical assistants perform more duties traditionally assigned to secretaries, the standard arrangement of one medical secretary per manager will change. As a result, medical secretaries will take on more responsibilities and be seen as valuable members of the team.

Many job opportunities will result from the need to replace medical secretaries who transfer to other occupations. Applicants who have extensive knowledge of computer software applications in combination with experience should expect the best job opportunities. Those with a bachelors degree in medical assistance will be in high demand to act as a managerial assistant and perform more complicated tasks.

Earnings and Salary for Medical Secretaries

The median annual wage of medical secretaries is $30,190. The top 10 percent earn more than $44,060, while the bottom 10 percent earn less than $21,080. The middle 50 percent earn between $24,950 and $36,830.

Annual Salary for Medical Secretaries

On average, Medical Secretaries earn $30,190 per year.

10% 25% 75% 90% $21,080/yr $24,950/yr $36,830/yr $44,060/yr

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook