Medical Secretary Career: Job Duties and Salary Profile


In the medical field, a medical secretary is a specialized professional responsible for all administrative duties in a clinical setting. The secretary provides active support for medical professionals and aids them in their work through various important tasks. Though they usually work behind the scenes, they are crucial to the smooth operation of a busy hospital, clinic, or office, and not much could be done without them. Read on for more about this important position.

Being a medical secretary, you would work as a reputable person involved in different tasks, often including multiple chores at the same time. Secretaries act as a bridge between the patients and the doctors,meaning they need to not only have excellent clerical and customer service skills, but must also have a sound working knowledge of medicine and medical terms and practices. They ensure the office is run efficiently and their employer’s time is spent interacting with patients as much as possible, rather than being bogged down with paperwork and other administrative tasks.

Job Duties

A medical secretary involves more skills and necessary personality traits than one might expect. Because they are the go-between for doctors and patients and they spend so much of their time interacting with patients, they must be compassionate toward others, open-minded, and sympathetic, but they must also maintain excellent self-control in order to keep the office running smoothly. Day-to-day work tasks might vary according to the job location, but medical secretaries in a large working environment, such as a hospital, are often responsible for managing a team of subordinate secretaries or secretaries in other wings of the hospital. Because they are highly valued for their organization and sense of responsibility, they are sometimes called on to make their own decisions on how to deal with patients. Other general duties include billing patients, arranging appointments, fielding calls, labeling medication, and maintaining updated records.

Salary and Job Outlook

Because medical secretaries are required at every level of healthcare service, they can expect to find employment fairly easily. Common jobsites include hospitals, medical schools, general practice surgery centers, healthcare centers or clinics, and private practice offices.

According to report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics in May 2011, the average annual salary of a medical secretary was $31,060; ten percent of employed secretaries earned as much as $45,860. There were an estimated 502,850 medical secretaries employed in the US at this time, with a large number of them (184,890) working in physicians’ offices. The number of positions available is expected to climb over the next several years, though availability and actual salary both depend on the usual factors such as location, employer, experience, and state wage laws.

Education Requirements

Proper planning can lead to faster placement on a jobsite. The first educational requirement is a high school diploma. Although post-secondary education is not mandatory, a two- or four-year program might provide an applicant with an advantage over less-qualified competition. Occupational or on-the-job training, especially in a medical field, is a bonus. Any previous work experience in which you’ve gained practical skills is looked on favorably by employers. After years of work and dedication, you could potentially be promoted to an executive or senior secretary position.

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