Medical Secretary

Job Description:

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

Job Category:
Health Care & Social Assistance

What you will do:

In this role you could:

  • handle questions from patients, staff and consultants
  • organise a doctor’s diary, book consulting rooms and meetings
  • make travel arrangements
  • manage a waiting list of patients
  • update patient records and deal with confidential information
  • send samples for medical testing and record the results
  • type letters, clinical reports, minutes of meetings and do filing
  • monitor an office budget and deal with invoices


You’ll need:

  • administration skills
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

As well as:

  • customer service skills
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail (organisational skills)
  • the ability to work well with others (teamwork skills)
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure (leadership skills)
  • excellent verbal communication skills
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

To become a medical secretary, you don’t typically need specific GCSEs (or their equivalents) related to the field, but you should have a strong foundation in general education and administrative skills. However, some relevant subjects and skills can be beneficial for this career. Here’s a list of subjects and skills that can be useful for aspiring medical secretaries:

  1. English Language (Essential): Excellent written and verbal communication skills are essential for medical secretaries as they deal with patients, healthcare professionals, and medical records regularly.
  2. Mathematics (Essential): Basic math skills are necessary for tasks such as billing, processing insurance claims, and managing financial records.
  3. Science (Recommended): While not mandatory, having a basic understanding of biology or anatomy can be helpful for understanding medical terminology and documents.
  4. IT and Computer Skills (Essential): Proficiency in word processing, spreadsheet software, email, and electronic health record (EHR) systems is crucial for managing patient records and other administrative tasks.
  5. Business Studies (Useful): A basic understanding of business principles and organizational skills can be beneficial in managing appointments, billing, and general office tasks.

Post School

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. In the UK, for example, relevant subjects include:

  • Level in Management and Administration
  • Diploma in Medical Administration
  • Diploma in Medical Terminology


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

This typically takes 18 months to complete as a mix of workplace learning and off the job study.


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.

Direct Application

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

Career tips

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.

Working Hours and Environment:

A typical week consists of 37-39 hours of work. You could be required to work between 8am and 6pm on a rota.

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

Career Path & 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.