|Number of Jobs:||210,200|
|This Job is Ranked in|
|Best Healthcare Jobs||#14|
|The 100 Best Jobs||#25|
A medical secretary might be the first person you see upon arriving for your doctor’s appointment. Or, these secretaries might work feverishly behind the scenes at your local clinic—ensuring your shot records are in order, scanning your insurance card, collecting your co-payments, and checking you in for an appointment. But even more than that, medical secretaries assist with medical reports, take medical histories, arrange hospitalization, and order surgical or medical supplies—tasks general office receptionists typically don’t complete. In short, medical secretaries manage the ebb and flow of patients daily—a task that can be very hectic and fast-paced. "My responsibilities are to make sure our clinic schedules appropriately for our 12 providers, and it can be extremely busy. On an average Monday, we answer up to 500-plus phone calls," says Ruth Scott, support and reception team leader at Medical Associates of Northern New Mexico. "At any given time, we have six to eight receptionists on the phone, checking people in and out. We can see up to 134 patients-plus a day.” Medical secretaries often work at outpatient care centers and offices of other health practitioners, but others work in physicians’ offices and hospitals.
Of the four million secretaries and administrative assistants who held jobs in 2010, about 11 percent of them worked in the offices of health practitioners, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) finds. The BLS also predicts employment growth for medical secretaries of about 41.3 percent between 2010 and 2020, which is much faster than the average growth for all occupations. Job prospects are good, particularly for those looking to work at physicians’ offices and surgical hospitals.
According to the BLS, medical secretaries earned $31,060 in 2011. The best-paid earned about $45,860, while the lowest-paid earned less than $21,410. The metro areas of San Francisco, Boston, and Seattle are the highest-paying cities for this profession.
People with high school degrees and a solid, working knowledge of basic office and computer skills qualify for many secretarial positions. But the requirements are more stringent for medical admins. Those interested in these positions should enhance their knowledge of medical terminology at community colleges and vocational schools.
Scott says prospective medical secretaries don’t need fancy credentials to land entry-level gigs, but it does take a blend of interpersonal and multitasking skills, a solid grasp of medical terms, and computer competency. As with most occupations, proactively searching and applying for positions at clinics and hospitals helps.
|Upward Mobility||Above Average|