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Occupational Profile

Medical Office Assistant

Medical office assistants support doctors and other health-care professionals by performing a wide variety of clerical and administrative tasks such as scheduling appointments, word processing, bookkeeping and accounting, photocopying, filing and answering telephone calls and correspondence.

  • Avg. Salary $52,763.00
  • Avg. Wage $27.92
  • Minimum Education 1 year post-secondary
  • Outlook Up
  • Employed 2,400
  • In Demand High
Also Known As

Administrative Support Personnel, Medical Secretary, Office Personnel

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

40%
40%
Average Wage
Starting
Overall
Top
  • Certification Not Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift up to 10 kg
NOC & Interest Codes
The Medical Office Assistant is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Medical Secretaries
NOC code: 1243
SOCIAL

Interest in speaking with people to schedule and confirm medical appointments, to receive and communicate messages for medical staff and patients, and to interview patients

OBJECTIVE

Interest in operating computers and other office equipment; may train other staff in procedures and in use of current software

directive

Interest in compiling information to complete documents, case histories and insurance and other claim forms, to maintain confidential medical files and records, and to order supplies and maintain inventory; may supervise other staff

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 
It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Duties
Updated Dec 14, 2016

Duties and responsibilities vary from one type of health-care organization to another, but in general, medical office assistants may perform any or all of the following duties:

  • answer the telephone, schedule and confirm medical appointments, greet patients and receive and communicate messages
  • use health software and other computer applications to book appointments or prepare reports, invoices, financial statements, letters, case histories and medical records
  • interview patients to complete intake forms or other documents, or help patients complete health history forms
  • transcribe from handwritten notes, electronic dictation or oral instructions
  • complete insurance and other claim forms
  • submit billing claims to Alberta Health Services
  • process payments, bank documents and accounts receivable
  • set up and maintain records management systems, including classifying and coding electronic and hard-copy files
  • operate sophisticated office equipment such as voice mail messaging systems, photocopiers, fax machines and document scanners
  • keep examination areas clean, orderly and stocked with supplies
  • use word processing, spreadsheet, database and presentation software to prepare medical documentation
  • perform other clerical and administrative functions as required (for example, order and maintain an inventory of supplies).

In large offices, these duties are divided among several people.

Working Conditions
Updated Dec 14, 2016

Medical office assistants work in health-care settings. They may work standard office hours or be required to work some evenings and weekends. Much of their shift is spent on their feet, and they are routinely required to lift items weighing up to 10 kilograms. Those who work in hospitals and doctors' offices may regularly be exposed to contagious diseases.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 10 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Dec 14, 2016

Medical office assistants need the following characteristics:

  • the ability to maintain patient confidentiality
  • excellent oral and written communication skills
  • good organizational and time management skills
  • the ability to maintain accuracy while multi-tasking or working under pressure
  • a mature attitude toward the human body, wellness and disease processes
  • the ability to follow directions closely and accurately
  • the ability to establish a professional rapport with and instil confidence in patients
  • the ability to deal effectively with the difficult behaviours sometimes exhibited by people in distress
  • the ability to work independently or as part of a team.

They should enjoy dealing with people, operating equipment such as computers and photocopiers and compiling and organizing information.

Educational Requirements
Updated Dec 14, 2016

Most employers require medical office assistants to be able to type at least 50 words a minute with a maximum of 3 errors, preferably 60 words a minute, and have a related post-secondary certificate or diploma. Knowledge of medical terminology and some medical instruments or tray items is essential.

Prospective students should investigate the suitability and reputation of training programs with employers before enrolling in a program.


Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

ABES (Alberta Business and Educational Services) - Calgary

Bow Valley College

Bredin College of Business and Health Care - Calgary

Bredin College of Business and Health Care - Edmonton

Bredin College of Business and Health Care - Spruce Grove

CDI College of Business, Technology and Health Care - Calgary City Centre

CDI College of Business, Technology and Health Care - Calgary North

CDI College of Business, Technology and Health Care - Calgary South

CDI College of Business, Technology and Health Care - Edmonton City Centre

CDI College of Business, Technology and Health Care - Edmonton North

CDI College of Business, Technology and Health Care - Edmonton South

CDI College of Business, Technology and Health Care - Edmonton West

CDI College of Business, Technology and Health Care - Red Deer

Evergreen College - Calgary

Grant MacEwan University

Medical Reception College 1 Ltd. - Calgary

Medical Reception College 1 Ltd. - Edmonton

Mount Royal University

Reeves College - Calgary City Centre

Reeves College - Calgary North

Reeves College - Edmonton

Reeves College - Lethbridge

Reeves College - Lloydminster

Robertson College - Calgary NW

Robertson College - Edmonton

Southern Alberta Institute of Technology

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Dec 14, 2016

Above-average occupational growth is expected in Alberta for 2016 to 2020. Job openings are a result of employment turnover and newly created positions.

Medical office assistants are employed in:

  • doctors' offices
  • hospitals
  • medical clinics and other health-care settings
  • public and private insurance companies
  • health software companies.

In large organizations, experienced medical office assistants may move into supervisory positions.

Medical office assistants are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 1243: Medical secretaries. In Alberta, 88% of people employed in this classification work in the Health Care and Social Assistance (PDF) industry.

The employment outlook in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the Health Care and Social Assistance industry)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • size of the occupation.

Over 2,400 Albertans are employed in the Medical secretaries occupational group. This group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 3.9% from 2016 to 2020. As a result, 94 new positions are forecast to be created each year, in addition to job openings created by employment turnover. Note: As medical office assistants form only a part of this larger occupational group, only some of these newly created positions will be for medical office assistants.

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Dec 14, 2016

Medical administrative assistants
NOC code: 1243

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $17.00 $28.00 $24.00 $23.77
Overall $21.00 $32.69 $27.92 $27.64
Top $22.00 $35.00 $29.88 $28.91

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

B: Good Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Good Reliability, represents a CV of between 6.01% and 15.00% and/or fewer than 30 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 50% of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Industry Information
Health Care & Social Assistance
ALBERTA, ALL INDUSTRIES
Public Administration

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

40%
40%

Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties

28%
28%

Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months

4%
4%

2015 Vacancy Rate

2%
Related High School Subjects
  • English Language Arts
  • Business, Administration, Finance and IT
    • Information Processing
    • Management and Marketing
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Clerical and Administrative Support

Updated Mar 16, 2016. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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