Medical administrative assistants, also called medical secretaries, perform similar tasks as administrative assistants in other types of business, but they need specialised knowledge of medical terminology, medical and laboratory procedures and insurance. They perform medical transcription, create invoices, call in prescriptions to pharmacies and schedule patients for appointments. The amount of money a medical administrative assistant makes depends on the type of employer and location.
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The average pay rate for a medical administrative assistant was £9.80 per hour or £20,442 per year as of May 2009, finds the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Those in the middle 50 per cent of the earnings scale were making £7 to £11.5 per hour. The bottom 10 per cent had hourly pay rates at £6.50 and below, and the top 10 per cent were making £13.70 and higher. The job search website Indeed.com lists numerous job openings for medical administrative assistants and medical secretaries throughout the country in February 2011 with pay rates ranging from £6 to £13 per hour.
Types of Employment
The largest number of medical administrative assistants work in doctors' offices, earning an average of £9.50 per hour or £19,792 per year in 2009, advises the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Other major employers include offices of other health care practitioners, such as physical therapists and chiropractors, where these workers were making £8.80 per hour on average. Medical administrative assistants employed in outpatient care centres were earning an average of £9.60 per hour, in general medical and surgical hospitals £9.80, and for dentists £11.10 per hour.
The East Coast is generally the highest-paying region for medical administrative assistants. The median annual salary for these workers in the District of Columbia was £13.2 per hour or £27,456 per year. Those in Massachusetts were making an hourly rate of £11.80, in Connecticut £11.5, and in New Jersey £11.5. High-paying metropolitan areas included the Portsmouth, New Hampshire, region at £12.80 per hour, the Boston, Massachusetts, area at £12.60 and the Taunton, Massachusetts, metropolitan area at £12 per hour. Certain parts of the West Coast also are lucrative for these professionals. Medical administrative assistants in Washington state had an hourly pay rate of £11.3 in 2009, and in the Mount Vernon, Washington, metro area, £12.60 per hour. Medical administrative assistants in the San Francisco metro area were making £12.30 per hour on average.
Requirements and Outlook
Many prospective medical administrative assistants need only a high school diploma, but some employers prefer or require formal training in medical transcription, as indicated by job listings at Indeed.com. In addition, some employers prefer or require certified medical assistants or certified nursing assistants for medical administrative assistant positions. While the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates some job growth for the occupation of administrative assistants in general, the job growth for those in health care should be much faster than average.
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