Medical secretaries, also known as medical administrative assistants, perform secretarial tasks that require specific knowledge of clinic, hospital or laboratory procedures as well as medical terminology. A medical secretary is responsible for billing patients, scheduling appointments, creating and recording medical reports and charts. Medical secretaries manage the front office.
Medical Secretary Schools
Most medical secretary jobs require a high school diploma and general secretarial skills and knowledge in the field. But as health care becomes a more popular field, medical secretary training is increasingly leaning towards graduation from a postsecondary degree program. An associate degree in medical office administration is one way to prepare for a career as a medical secretary. Medical office administration courses cover topics such as:
- Customer service
- Medical terminology
- Laboratory procedures
- Record systems
Many Medical Office Administrator degree programs also require students to complete an internship in a physician's office to gain "real world" experience. Most medical secretaries partake in specialized training programs that provide the training in the industry's language. Some employers provide training in medical terminology. Medical administrative assistants should have good word processing and bookkeeping skills. Basic secretary training is often required. Classes are offered at community colleges and vocational schools.
Medical Secretary Certification and Licensing
In addition to medical secretary training degree programs, several valuable certifications are available to help medical secretaries sharpen their skills and become more attractive to prospective employers.
- Certified Professional Secretary (CPS) - A three-part exam covering office systems, technology, administration and management
- Certified Administrative Professional (CAP) - An advanced four-part examination which focuses on office systems and technology, office administration, management and advanced organizational management
- Level 3 Certificate in Medical Terminology - Offered by the Association of Medical Secretaries, Practice Managers, Administrators and Receptionists (AMSPAR), this certificate gives an advantage to those working in any medical specialty.
Resources for Medical Secretaries
- American Association of Medical Assistants
- International Association of Administrative Professionals
- National Health Council
- Bureau of Labor Statistics, Secretaries and Administrative Assistants
- Bureau of Labor Statistics, Medical Secretaries
- Association of Medical Secretaries, Practice Managers, Administrators and Receptionists (AMSPAR)