You can find secretaries in almost every industry, and medical is no exception. Someone needs to hold down the fort! In 2016, there were over 4 million secretaries in the United States, and over 500K worked in the medical field.
What does a medical secretary do? Medical secretaries are an integral part of the hospital or physician’s office medical staff. You’re usually the first smiling face and cheerful voice patients interact with when they call or walk into the facility. As a medical secretary, you:
- Sort mail
- Answer the office phones
- Schedule appointments with patients
- Take care of the billing
- Prepare the medical reports
- Schedule patient consultations and diagnostic testing
- Keep office supplies in check
- File for both office and patient records
To truly succeed as a medical secretary, you should have excellent organizational skills, and be a people person. You’ll need to know how to use a computer and assorted programs and apps. Also, you should be a decent communicator, both verbally and written. Not to mention, a good listener. Be prepared to listen to a patient’s health woes, and the rest of the medical staff’s complaints. Oh and, don’t be a gossip. Discretion is key.
How Long Does it Take to Become a Medical Secretary?
You’ll need your high school diploma or GED in order to get into a medical secretary program. Most employers will expect that you’ve gone through either vocational training or a community college program.
- Vocational training can take one year, and you’ll receive a certificate.
- Community college takes two years; you’ll come away with an associate’s degree.
Once you’re hired, expect a period devoted to on-the-job training. That will last up to three months, depending on the type of medical facility you’re employed with.
There are no online programs for medical secretary at this time, but there are many other medical careers you can get into through online education.
Consider becoming a certified medical assistant to wow future employers. With two to four years of experience under your belt, you’ll become eligible to take the Certified Administrative Professional (CAP) exam through the International Association of Administrative Professionals.
What is the Salary and Job Outlook?
You’ll be looking at a median entry level salary of $23,650. As your experience level rises, so does your salary. The average annual salary for a medical secretary is over $37K, with the top 10 percent earning more than $62K.
There is a tremendous employment growth predicted for medical secretaries: 22 percent, which far surpasses most other occupations. That’s an additional 129,000 jobs opening through 2026—encouraging news for when you’re ready to start your search. Most of these job openings will be to replace the medical secretaries who are moving on or retiring.