Medical administrative assistants (NOC 1243)

About this job

Medical administrative assistants perform a variety of secretarial and administrative duties in doctors' offices, hospitals, medical clinics and other medical settings.

People in this occupation:

  • must have excellent interpersonal skills, as well as the ability to be tactful and discreet
  • use organizational skills for managing large amounts of detailed information
  • should be proficient in working both independently and in a team setting, and must be capable of working under pressure

Changes in office technology and the evolving responsibilities of medical administrative assistants mean that adaptability and resourcefulness are also important qualities.

Common job titles
  • case load planner - home health care services
  • secretary, medical
  • stenographer, medical
  • case load planner - home health care services
  • secretary, medical
  • stenographer, medical

Earnings

Annual provincial median salary

$41,587

Source: 2016 Job Bank Wage data

Note:Estimated median employment income based on 2016 Job Bank median hourly wage rate (median annual salary = hourly wage rate x 40 (hours per week) x 52.14 (weeks per year))

Provincial hourly rate

  • High
  • Median
  • Low

Source: 2016 Job Bank Wage Report

Duties

Medical administrative assistants perform some or all of the following duties:

  • schedule and confirm medical appointments and receive and communicate messages for medical staff and patients
  • enter and format electronically based medical reports and correspondence and prepare spreadsheets and documents for review
  • interview patients in order to complete forms, documents and case histories
  • complete insurance and other claim forms
  • start and maintain confidential medical files and records
  • prepare draft agendas for meetings and take, transcribe and distribute minutes
  • prepare financial statements and billing procedures
  • establish and maintain various internal office administrative support procedures such as document tracking and filing and monthly reporting
  • order supplies and maintain inventory
  • determine and establish office procedures and routines
  • may supervise and train other staff in procedures and in use of current software

Work environment

Medical administrative assistants work in the offices of health care professionals (e.g., physicians, dentists or other medical practitioners). Hours are usually set by the employer's clinic hours, which may include evenings or weekends. Those who work as ward secretaries in hospitals may sometimes be required to work on a shift system.

Since medical administrative assistants use computers for the majority of their work, these workers may be susceptible to back and neck injury from sitting at desks for extended periods of time, or to eye strain from viewing computer monitors. Medical administrative assistants are also at risk of contracting illnesses because they are in relatively close contact with patients, so precautions are taken to minimize the risk.

Job requirements

Education, training & qualifications

Completion of secondary school is the minimum education requirement, however, most employers require additional education in a related certificate or diploma program which could include:

  • programs structured for medical or dental office administrators, such as a one-year Medical Office Assistant (MOA) certificate
  • training in medical terminology or pharmacology, management software and basic medical office procedures
  • specialized training in EMR systems

Additional beneficial skills for a person in this career include:

  • a typing speed of 50–65 words per minute and knowledge of spreadsheet and database software
  • an ability and comfort level adapting to new software programs due to changes in technology, such as the increasing use of electronic medical records (EMR)
  • WCB Level 1 First Aid, CPR Level C and Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) certification

Skills

  • Clerical Ability
  • Numerical Ability
  • Detail-Oriented
  • Finger Dexterity
View skills definitions

Education programs in B.C.

The following program areas are related to this occupation:
  • Administrative Assistance/Office Assistance

For more information about programs offered specifically for this career, visit EducationPlannerBC.

Select a region to view regional outlook
Vancouver Island / Coast Mainland / Southwest Thompson-Okanagan Kootenay Cariboo Northeast North Coast & Nechako
Cariboo
Employment in 2016:
0
Average annual employment growth:
N/A
Expected number of job openings:
N/A
Kootenay
Employment in 2016:
0
Average annual employment growth:
N/A
Expected number of job openings:
N/A
Mainland / Southwest
Employment in 2016:
370
Average annual employment growth:
2.1%
Expected number of job openings:
200
North Coast & Nechako
Employment in 2016:
0
Average annual employment growth:
N/A
Expected number of job openings:
N/A
Northeast
Employment in 2016:
0
Average annual employment growth:
N/A
Expected number of job openings:
N/A
Thompson-Okanagan
Employment in 2016:
20
Average annual employment growth:
N/A
Expected number of job openings:
N/A
Vancouver Island / Coast
Employment in 2016:
200
Average annual employment growth:
1.5%
Expected number of job openings:
110

N/A - Data not available

Source: B.C. Labour Market Outlook

Insights from industry

British Columbia's population growth and demographic shifts are putting pressure on the health-care system. This will result in the creation of some new jobs, however the majority of new job openings will result from retirements.

Most employers now require the completion of a Medical Office Assistant, Dental Office Assistant or related certificate or diploma program. Inexperienced workers who have not completed post-secondary studies related to this occupation will likely have more difficulty finding work. Individuals who have completed related post-secondary studies, have good knowledge of computers and software applications, and have previous experience working in the occupation will be in high demand.

The increasing use of electronic medical records, which is replacing paper-based record systems in many offices, requires that medical secretaries stay current with technological developments. Workers with specialized skills in computer software and information management technology.

Career paths and resources

Career paths

Medical administrative assistants often start their career as receptionists for general practice clinics or records clerks for hospitals. With experience, they may find work in a specialist practice or move into supervisory positions, such as office or clinic manager.

Medical administrative assistants have the ability to work in various medical settings, including hospitals, clinics, health insurance companies and doctor's and dentist's offices.

Additional resources