Medical secretary

Alternative titles for this job include Medical personal assistant

Medical secretaries provide office support in hospitals, GP surgeries, private clinics and universities.

Average salary (a year)

£16,500 Starter

to

£27,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

37 to 39 a week

You could work

between 8am and 6pm on a rota

How to become a medical secretary

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role
  • applying directly

College

You could do a college course, which would teach you some of the skills and knowledge you need in this job. Relevant subjects include a Level 2 or 3 Diploma in Medical Administration. 

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D) for a level 2 course
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) for a level 3 course

More information

Apprenticeship

You can get into this role through a business administrator advanced apprenticeship. 

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), usually including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship

More information

Work

If you already work in a healthcare setting, for instance, as a receptionist or clerical assistant, it may help you move into a medical secretary role if you take a relevant qualification while you're working.

The Association of Medical Secretaries, Practice Managers, Administrators and Receptionists (AMSPAR) and the British Society of Medical Secretaries and Administrators (BSMSA) offer:

  • Level 2 Certificate and Diploma in Medical Administration
  • Certificate in Medical Terminology

Volunteering and experience

To get a job as a medical secretary, you'll need experience of working in an office, ideally in a secretarial role. Temporary work can be a good way of getting this experience.

Direct application

If you want to apply directly for jobs, employers will expect you to have some GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), including English.

You'll find it useful to have a typing or word processing qualification like an RSA certificate before you look for work. Some organisations may also want you to have knowledge of medical terminology.

More information

Further information

You can find out more about medical secretarial careers from Health Careers.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • administration skills
  • customer service skills
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to work well with others
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

Your day-to-day duties may include:

  • handling questions from patients, staff and consultants
  • organising a doctor's diary, booking consulting rooms and meetings
  • making travel arrangements
  • managing a waiting list of patients
  • updating patient records and dealing with confidential information
  • sending samples for medical testing and recording the results
  • typing letters, clinical reports, minutes of meetings and filing
  • monitoring an office budget and dealing with invoices

Working environment

You could work in an office, at a GP practice or in an NHS or private hospital.

Career path and progression

With experience, you could manage a team of secretaries in a large organisation.

With further training, you could become an administration manager, office manager or GP practice manager.

You could also move into roles in finance or HR.

Training opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Business Administration Apprentice - HR Pay and Reward

  • Wage : £14,500.00 Annually
  • Location: HP2 4TZ

Business Administration Apprentice

  • Wage : £14,000.00 Annually
  • Location: NG9 1LA

Courses In England

(AMSPAR) Medical Administration and IT Diploma Level 2

  • Provider: South and City College Birmingham
  • Start date: 01 September 2019
  • Location: Birmingham

City and Guilds Diploma in Medical Administration: Level 3

  • Provider: Morley College
  • Start date: 13 September 2019
  • Location: London

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