Hospital Secretaries: Job Description & Career Info

Nov 17, 2020

Career Definition for Hospital Secretaries

Hospital secretaries work with patients and doctors in hospitals and clinics to ensure that every patient is getting the proper care. They perform administrative tasks, such as admitting patients, transcribing physician dictations and prepping medical files. Secretaries may also have to prepare and record patients' medical histories, make any hospital arrangements and order medical supplies.

Education High school diploma, experience in administrative and office skills, vocational school or community colleges helpful
Required Skills Communication skills, telephone and computer skills
Median Salary(2019)* $36,580 (medical secretaries)
Job Outlook(2019-2029)* 10% (medical secretaries)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

Prospective hospital secretaries need to have at least a high school diploma and should have developed administrative and office skills through work experience or education, although no formal educational requirements exist. There are many vocational schools and community colleges that can offer necessary administrative skills to students.

Skills Required

It is essential for prospective hospital secretaries to have terrific communication skills, because interactions with patients, doctors and medical staff are required on a daily basis. Secretaries spend most of their day on the telephone and computer, and it is important for them to understand Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel and other Microsoft Office applications.

Career and Economic Outlook

Medical and hospital secretaries are vital to the success of clinics and hospitals around the country. As medical technology continues to advance, jobs in the field will continue to increase. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov) predicts employment opportunities for medical secretaries, including hospital secretaries, to expand by 10% from 2019-2029, considerably faster than the average for other careers. Advancement opportunities for hospital secretaries include becoming office managers or coordinators of various hospital units. The BLS reports that in 2019, the median salary for medical secretaries, including hospital secretaries, was $36,580 per year.

Alternative Careers

Some similar occupations in this field include:

Medical Assistant

For those desiring patient care duties in addition to administrative work at a clinic or hospital, becoming a medical assistant could be a good career move. Medical assistants perform many clerical duties like filing and patient scheduling, but they also help doctors with patient exams, take vital signs, administer shots and collect blood for lab analysis. Earning a certificate in medical assisting is how many start out in the field, and employers may have a preference for those with professional certification credentials like Certified Medical Assistant or Registered Medical Assistant.

As reported by the BLS in 2019, 725,200 medical assistants worked in the U.S. and received $34,800 in median wages for the year. The BLS also predicts that this profession will grow by a rate of 19% during the 2019-2029 decade.

Health Information Technician

If organizing and securing medical records at a hospital or clinic sounds appealing, consider a career in health information technology. Health information technicians collect patient information, review and correct data, label files with classification codes for easier retrieval, create digital records from paper documents, ensure privacy and security measures are in place and research patient care outcomes for statistical purposes. To gain employment in this profession, an associate degree or certificate in health information technology is usually necessary, and optional professional certification like the Registered Health Information Technician designation may be beneficial when seeking employment.

Job opportunities in this field are predicted to increase by 8% from 2019-2029, according to the BLS. In May of 2019, the BLS also reported that medical records and health information technicians earned a median salary of $42,630 per year.

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