What Is a Medical Administrative Secretary?

Medical administrative secretaries work in the healthcare industry but don't provide any direct medical treatments. Read on to find out about the duties, education requirements, employment info and salary statistics for medical administrative secretaries. Schools offering Administrative Assistant degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Duties of Medical Administrative Secretaries

As a medical administrative secretary (sometimes known simply as a medical secretary), you'll perform a wide range of clerical duties in a medical office setting. This may include answering telephones, scheduling appointments, processing bills and insurance claims, handling patient correspondence and performing other duties needed to keep a medical office running smoothly. You may also transcribe doctors' recorded dictation using your knowledge of medical terminology and word processing programs. You'll also maintain and organize patients' medical charts, locating the appropriate ones when needed.

You will need to possess good people skills, because you will often be in contact with patients. You may greet patients upon their entrance into the hospital or clinic, interview them to record their medical histories and instruct them on how to fill out insurance forms. Some medical secretaries also deal with medical coding and need to know the standard coding systems used in medical offices, such as the ICD-9-CM.

Important Facts About Medical Administrative Secretaries

On-the-Job Training Typically a few weeks
Key Skills Critical thinking, interpersonal communication, integrity, customer service focused, time management, writing skills, reading comprehension
Work Environment Hospitals, physicians offices, nursing facilities, insurance companies
Similar Occupations Receptionists, information clerks, medical records and health information technicians, medical transcriptionists

Educational Requirements

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), most secretarial positions require no formal education beyond a high school diploma; however, secretaries working in the medical field need to have knowledge of medical terminology and practices (www.bls.gov). You may obtain this knowledge through a formal education program at a community college or vocational school. Diploma and Associate of Applied Science degree programs for medical secretaries are commonly offered. These educational programs instruct you in the billing and coding systems, terminology and office procedures common to the medical industry. You'll also receive training in computers, keyboarding and business communications.

Optional Certification

Certification is not necessary to work as a medical secretary, but it can demonstrate your competence to employers. Two organizations that offer voluntary certification for medical secretaries are the American Medical Technologists (AMT) and the National Healthcareer Association (NHA). The AMT offers certification for medical administrative specialists, while the NHA offers the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) designation. To earn certification, you may be required to graduate from an approved training program and pass an exam.

Employment and Salary Statistics

According to the BLS, 516,050 people worked as medical secretaries in May 2014, and they earned an average yearly salary of $33,530 at that time. The BLS predicted that employment of medical secretaries would increase 36% between 2012 and 2022. A growing healthcare industry and aging population will drive the need for medical secretaries. Job opportunities are expected to be best for those experienced in the use of computer software applications.

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