The employment outlook for job seekers desiring to land a position as a medical secretary is stimulating. By 2022, more than 189,000 clinical assistants nationwide are projected to have already landed jobs, reports the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This marks an astounding 36 percent increase in the number of secretaries that were handling files, drafting messages, and other matters at hospitals and medical offices in 2012.
In Los Angeles, these vigilant support staff members earn an average annual salary of about $40,000, with top secretaries bringing home yearly wages greater than $50,000, according to current data.
In addition to possessing expert administrative skills, astute medical secretaries are knowledgeable about medical terminology, procedures and business protocols. On a typical day, a medical secretary is the first person with whom a patient interacts, forming a supportive bridge between the patient and attending physician.
Due to the advent of technological advancements, all hospitals and medical centers in L.A. now require their secretaries to maintain proficiency with computer applications, spreadsheets and medical software. This allows them to better manage the facility’s expansive database and medical records, schedule appointments, update patient information and process payments or insurance claims electronically.
To qualify for the vocation, an aspiring medical secretary will need a high school diploma and some experience working in a medical setting. Obtaining an associate’s degree from a community college offers a competitive edge. Schools that provide coursework in medical phraseology, transcription and insurance coding are beneficial to those who are serious about launching a career in this field.
Some of best programs designed to prepare students for secretarial posts within the health care industry are located in greater L.A. The top two-year institutions by enrollment include East Los Angeles College, Santa Monica College, Long Beach City College, Pasadena City College and Southwestern College.
Because of a marked increase in the demand for medical services by an aging population, employment opportunities are also on the rise at physicians’ offices that specialize in radiology, ophthalmology and the treatment of neuromusculoskeletal disorders. Experts say now is the time for trained medical secretaries to start securing those positions.
Sharon Raiford Bush is an award-winning journalist who covers topics of social interest in greater Los Angeles. Some news articles she has authored have been archived by the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. Sharon also contributes to Examiner.com.