What does a medical secretary do?
Medical secretaries provide administrative and secretarial support to hospital doctors, GPs, health service workers and medical researchers. You’ll need excellent organisational skills to do this job, as well as a good working knowledge of medical terminology.
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
What do I need to do to become a medical secretary?
You do not need a specific qualification to become a medical secretary, but excellent typing and administrative skills are essential.
You can get into this job through:
- a college course
- an apprenticeship
- working towards this role
- applying directly
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.
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
You can get into this role through a business administrator advanced apprenticeship.
You'll usually need:
- 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), usually including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship
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.
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.
- Typing qualification
Where to find out more
You can find out more about medical secretarial careers from Health Careers.
Where could I be working?
As a medical secretary, you could work for a:
- consultant in a hospital setting
- director or chief executive of an NHS Trust
- GP surgery
- private practice
- university or research department
- pharmaceutical company
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.
Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0