Career Choice: Medical Secretaries

Career Choice: Medical Secretaries
  • Opening Intro -

    Medical secretaries typically work in the background at hospitals, doctor's offices and medical practices, individuals you may see when signing in for services, when discussing a bill or for obtaining a referral to another practitioner.

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Secretaries schedule appointments, compile and record information in medical charts, liaise with medical professionals and provide customer support as needed.

Duties

Also known as unit support representatives, patient relations representatives, and health unit coordinators, medical secretaries complete insurance and other claims forms, receive and route documents, and manage patient medical charts. These individuals must be familiar with medical terminology and forward records as required to other doctors, to insurance companies and for general filing. Medical secretaries answer phones, greet patients, operate office equipment and in some cases manage other employees.

Education

Medical secretaries have at least a high school diploma with some having completed vocational technical school, community or technical college or other recognized program. Employers typically require medical secretaries to be proficient with office equipment, demonstrate interpersonal and organizational skills, and be effective communicators. Job candidates with a bachelor’s degree in business may qualify for a position as office manager.

Salaries

As of 2012, the median wage for medical secretaries was $31,350 per year according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Salaries for medical secretaries in the 10th percentile was $21,900 per year and averaged $26,100 per year for those in the 25th percentile. Those in the 50th percentile averaged $31,300 per year. Salaries for medical secretaries in the 75th percentile averaged $37,800 per year to $45,900 per year for those in the 90th percentile according to the BLS.

The BLS reports that the annual wage for medical secretaries was $38,800 for those in Alaska. Minnesota had the next highest average, coming in at $37,800 per your followed by Washington at $37,700, New Jersey at $37,200 and Massachusetts at $36,900.

At the opposite end of the pay spectrum, salaries in West Virginia and North Dakota averaged $26,300 per year. In Oklahoma, salaries averaged $26,400 per year while Arkansas and Louisiana averaged $26,700 annually.

Job Outlook

The job outlook for medical secretaries is a bright one, with the BLS forecasting a 29 percent increase in the number of positions from 2010 to 2020. Credit a rapidly expanding insurance pool with ratcheting up demand for medical secretaries, people that will support physicians and other medical professionals who must comply with national healthcare. This position can also be ideal for the medical student who needs to earn income and gain experience while working his or her way through college.

References

Summary Report for: 43-6013.00 – Medical Secretaries

US Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: Secretaries and Administrative Assistants


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