Medical administrative assistants (NOC 1243)

High opportunity occupation

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.

Watch the video below to see what a day in the life of a medical office assistant is like.
Common job titles
  • case load planner - home health care services
  • secretary, medical
  • stenographer, medical


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.

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