Job Description for a Health Care Secretary
Health care secretaries work in a variety of settings, from small practices to busy clinics and hospitals. They perform general office duties, such as greeting patients, scheduling appointments and performing word processing and data entry; however, in some offices, they may also perform medical assistant duties by interviewing patients to obtain information about their condition.
Health care secretaries may also carry out specific back-office duties, such as medical transcription or, in larger settings, monitoring medical staff to ensure their credentials are in compliance with state and federal regulations. Health care secretaries are employed throughout the U.S. and generally work full-time or part-time during regular business hours, although some employers require weekend work.
|Education||High school diploma, associate's degree and/or certification as a medical assistant|
|Job Skills||Word processing and use of office software, data entry, organization, multi-tasking, communication, medical terminology, multilingual a plus|
|Median Annual Salary (2017)*||$34,610 (all medical secretaries)|
|Job Outlook (2016 - 2026)*||22% (all medical secretaries)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Health care secretarial professions generally require a high school diploma, an associate's degree in medical administration or certification as a medical assistant. Coursework should include medical terminology, transcription, coding, insurance procedures, database management, word processing and data entry. Employers may also require Basic Life Support and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) certification; courses are offered through the American Red Cross.
Health care secretaries must have excellent word processing and data entry skills and knowledge of office software programs. They must be highly organized and able to handle multiple tasks simultaneously. Communication skills are essential so that they can interact with patients, coworkers and medical staff. They should be familiar with medical terminology and insurance procedures. Multiple language skills can also give job seekers a competitive edge.
Salary Information and Career Outlook
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects job opportunities for medical secretaries to grow 22% between 2016 and 2026, which is must faster than average (www.bls.gov). Salaries vary depending on experience, responsibilities, employer and region, but the BLS reports that the median annual wage for medical secretaries was $34,610 in 2017. Many employers also provide benefits, including health insurance, pension plans and paid vacation.
Alternative Career Options
Below are some similar career options to a health care secretary:
Receptionist and Information Clerk
The BLS reported a 9% employment growth for receptionists and information clerks between 2016 and 2026, with most growth within the health care industry. The primary duties of receptionists are clerical tasks, along with greeting patients or customers. A high school diploma is the minimum education required. As of May 2017, receptionists and information clerks made a median hourly wage of $13.65, or $28,390 for the year. Those who worked in the healthcare and social assistance industry made a median hourly wage of $14.26, according to the BLS.
Medical Records and Health Information Technician
These technicians are responsible for compiling and maintaining patients' medical records. The BLS reported that most of these workers were employed in hospitals. A two-year degree or postsecondary certificate is needed to enter this career. Several certification options exist as well. The job outlook for medical records and health information technicians was 13% growth from 2016 to 2026, as stated by the BLS. Their median annual salary was $39,180 in 2017.