Almost anyone with basic computer skills can apply for secretarial work, but higher paid positions require specialties. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, secretarial work is expected to grow at the national average, but medical and legal secretaries are among the top paid disciplines. If you are looking for a career in medical administration, read on for some important tips that can charge your next career move.
Becoming one of these valuable office workers will require you to learn terminology specific to the industry you work with, and possess the ability to adapt to changing conditions rapidly. Basic computer skills will serve you well, but certification will help improve your skills and make you more appealing for higher paid positions.
Becoming a Secretary
Aside from a high school degree, medical secretaries are also required to hold a degree in medical administration. Online courses provide flexibility for those looking to go directly into the workforce, or those without a focus. Take time to learn the basics of the work, which is becoming more complicated with additional technology.
Today, secretaries might be required to answer email for executives, maintain electronic databases of employee and client information, use spreadsheets to report data on phone calls and customer correspondence, as well as a host of procedural information required to properly fill out forms.
Medical secretaries are also responsible for transcription of speeches, lectures, articles and other material as needed. Depending on the doctor and the size of the office, a medical secretary may also be expected to assist in various aspects of the medical billing process, like coding, charge uploads, claims reviews etc..
A vocational school or junior college will have administrative assistance programs, but look for programs that specialize in medical billing. Specifically, you want to learn the basics of insurance procedure, billing practices, and the procedures of labs and hospitals. You would also benefit from the ability to proofread, so take an introductory course on compositional writing to brush up on your skills.
Where to Find Jobs
Work for medical administration is spread out across the United States, but the highest concentration of jobs comes from the South and Eastern territories. States like California, Texas, and New York have high employment opportunities, but smaller states like Georgia and Massachusetts are also expected to have large job openings in this field. States with the lowest opportunities include Alaska, Wyoming, North and South Dakota, and Idaho. Deleware has the highest concentration of jobs per household, with an average hourly wage of about $15.27 cents.
If you are looking for the highest paid positions, you can expect to earn between $20-$22 per hour if you are working in either California or Washington. The top ten percent of all secretaries earned $55,960 per year, but this is across all disciplines and not specific to medical secretaries.
Promotions and Career Advancement
Secretaries are the backbone of any office environment, but no one wants to stay in one position forever. The trick to succeeding and moving up the corporate ladder will be to diversify your skill set. Entry level positions might put you in medical billing or at the front desk, but opportunities to advance include book keeping, accounting, and human retargets. Look for certification programs, take extra courses from a junior college, and consider returning to school for a better degree.
Online degree programs offer flexibility for those stuck in a Monday through Friday position that requires days.
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Tips on Paying for Your Education
There are a few ways for you to return to school if you want to become a medical secretary but lack knowledge about the industry:
- Apply for a student loan through the government student loan website. Fill out a FAFSA form for free and colleges in your area can use this data to determine your eligibility. Even partial help is better than nothing at all.
- Ask your employer for education money in lieu of pay raises. If you can show that your continued education directly benefits the company, you might be able to get help on paying for school.
- Consider taking individual courses instead of completing a certification. In some cases a certification is something that’s nice to have but not really required. These positions tend to come with lower pay, but in a pinch you can turn that experience into opportunity for better pay down the road.
Try to be patient as you grow in your field. There are many opportunities in medical billing and office management if you stick with your field. Pursue education outside of your specialty and look for opportunities to advance as the doctor’s office expands. If you can’t find a job in the medical field, try education. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that the bulk of secretarial work is confined to educational institutions, so branch out until you can find the position that you want.
Here’s a video that talks about a career in medical administration: