The Administrative Side of a Career in Medicine

What Does a Medical Administrative Specialist Do?

One of the most stable and secure industries in the U.S. is the healthcare field. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects healthcare to add more jobs than any other industry over the next decade and estimates that the available jobs in the field will increase by 15% by 2029[1]. If the idea of working in a steady industry appeals to you, you might consider getting into healthcare. Although there will always be a need for people to work as nurses and doctors, the field also has plenty of opportunities for people in administrative roles.

In fact, opportunities for medical administrative assistants or specialists are expected to increase by 10% over the next 10 years[2], despite the fact that opportunities for administrative assistants in other industries are expected to drop by up to 22%.

If you have good people skills, an interest in medicine, and a desire to start a new career, learn more about the day-to-day life of a medical administrative specialist.

Skills a Medical Administrative Specialist Needs

Medical administrative specialists work directly with patients but often don’t perform clinical duties, such as taking blood pressure or removing stitches. They should still have good people skills though, as they will interact with patients regularly throughout the course of the day. Good interpersonal skills allow a medical administrative specialist to communicate effectively with a patient who might be uncomfortable or distressed.

It’s also important for medical administrative specialists to have strong organizational skills. They are usually responsible for booking appointments and for managing the schedules of the physicians and other health care providers they work with. To keep the practice running smoothly, an administrative specialist needs to know how to avoid double-booking or under-booking.

Since some medical assistants are responsible for medical billing and coding and for communicating with insurance companies, it’s important that they have good analytical skills. They should also have basic computer skills and the ability to understand and learn how an electronic medical records system works.

Responsibilities of a Medical Administrative Specialist

Depending on the practice, the medical administrative specialist might be the first person a patient sees when they walk into the reception area. It might be the job of the medical assistant to check patients in and to help them complete the required paperwork. They might take the insurance information of the patient and input it into the practice’s file system.

A medical assistant who specializes in administrative tasks will primarily be responsible for paperwork and scheduling. They might schedule a patient’s initial appointment and then any follow-up appointments. They are likely to answer phones and to communicate with other practices about the needs of patients, such as additional appointments, lab tests, or imaging.

Many administrative medical assistants spend much of their day navigating around a practice’s electronic medical records system. They might pull files from the system as needed to send to other healthcare providers or they might need to input data about a patient into the system.

How Much Do Healthcare Administrators Make?

The median annual salary for medical assistants was $34,800 in 2019[3]. Those who work specifically as medical administrative assistants or secretaries had median annual earnings of $36,580 in 2019[2]. Assistants who work in hospitals or outpatient care centers tend to have higher salaries compared to those who work in private physicians’ offices.

Earning a career certificate can position you to earn more as a medical assistant. Becoming familiar with electronic medical records technology also helps you command a higher salary in the field.

How to Become a Healthcare Administrator

You may be able to train on the job to become a medical administrative specialist. Most positions require at least a high school diploma or a GED. If you are interested in clinical work at all or would like to earn a higher starting salary, it can be worthwhile to pursue a career certificate in medical assisting. A certificate program will cover the basics of office management and clinical skills. It also gives you a chance to learn on the job through an externship program.

Orange Technical College offers a medical assisting career certificate program at our Avalon, Westside, and Winter Park campuses. Contact us today to learn more about our enrollment process and to schedule a visit at the campus that’s most convenient for you.


  1. Healthcare Occupations, Bureau of Labor Statistics,
  2. Secretaries and Administrative Assistants, BLS,
  3. Medical Assistants, BLS,