Medical secretaries perform clerical duties in doctor's offices and hospitals. Certificate programs are available through 2-year community colleges and vocational training schools. Individuals interested in professional training as a medical assistant must already possess a high school diploma or GED and be at least 18 years old. Some programs require candidates to take additional entrance exams to prove basic academic skills.
To earn a medical secretary certificate or certification, students must have a high school diploma or equivalent, be at least 18 years old and possess basic academic skills.
Certificate Programs for Medical Secretaries
Medical secretaries are responsible for maintaining patient medical records and scheduling appointments among other things. Coursework also covers prescription medication and minor medical procedures. Additional training may be necessary for specialized fields of medicine, such as gynecology, podiatry and optometry. Some programs also include classes in typing, record keeping, administrative procedures and accounting. Students also study lab procedures, clinical procedures and computing in healthcare. Courses common to medical secretary programs include:
- Office insurance and finance
- Medical law, professionalism and ethics
- Psychology of human relations
- Medical terminology
- Customer service in healthcare
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), medical secretary jobs were predicted to grow a 21% from 2014-2024, a much faster than average for all occupations. Medical secretaries may work in private physicians' offices and large public hospitals. In May 2015, the BLS reported a $34,330 mean annual salary for medical secretaries. Medical secretaries employed with the legal services industry earned a higher average salary of $41,620 (www.bls.gov).
Professional Certification and Continuing Education Information
Professional certification is available from the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To join, potential applicants must pass a rigorous certification exam. Members are required to retake the exam every five years to maintain an AAMA certification. In order to take the AAMA exam, students must have completed a program accredited by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools or the Allied Health Education Programs Commission on Accreditation.
Certificate programs are ideal for students interested in a career as a medical secretary. To advance one's career, certification may be worth the time and financial investment.