Medical Secretary Associate Degree

Learn the average salary and employment outlook for medical secretaries. Find out about associate degree programs in medical administration, including online course and degree options. Schools offering Administrative Assistant degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Why Is a Medical Secretary Associate Degree Necessary?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) asserts that a high school diploma and some skill with office work can qualify you for a position as a secretary (www.bls.gov). However, it further states that a medical secretary's specialized duties typically require some formal postsecondary education. Although you'll usually receive some on-the-job training as a medical secretary, having a solid foundation in the terminology, procedures and policies used in a medical office could improve your job opportunities.

Several community colleges and vocational schools offer associate degree programs that can prepare you to become a medical secretary. You'll need to be familiar with medical terminology, medical transcription and the preparation of medical documents. You'll also need to know how to take care of daily administrative office duties, like record management and business communication.

Key Topics Learned Medical transcription, record management, business communication, medical terminology, document preparation
Common Courses Computer applications, pharmacology, medical office procedures, human resources, medical billing and coding
Learning Environment Traditional classroom and fully online programs are available, but internships need to be completed in person
Median Salary (2014) $32,240*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Can I Expect in a Program?

You can usually earn an associate degree in medical administration in two years of full-time study. Only a high school diploma or its equivalent is required to enroll, though you might need to provide health records and submit to a background check to participate in the practical portion of the program.

Typical courses you might encounter include medical billing and coding for insurance, medical terminology, medical office procedures, pharmacology, medical transcription, human resources, information management and computer applications. Most schools require or recommend that you complete an internship or work co-op during your program to gain practical experience in a medical office environment.

What Are Some Online Opportunities?

Some schools offer you the chance to complete all course requirements online. In general, courses are presented asynchronously, which allows you to access the material at your convenience. Part of your requirements could include participation in instructor-led discussions several times a week. You'll usually access course materials and assignments through a course management system, such as Blackboard. If your program requires an internship, you'll need to complete it at an approved site.

What Are the Employment and Wage Projections?

While there are no certification requirements for medical secretaries, earning a credential might enhance your employment and advancement possibilities. If you meet education and experience requirements, you can sit for a certification examination. Examinations are administered by such professional organizations as the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP) and the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).

The BLS projected employment opportunities for medical secretaries would increase 21% from 2014-2024. The growth was expected to be due to a developing need for more healthcare services because of a growing senior population. In 2014, the BLS determined the median annual wage for medical secretaries to be $32,240.

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