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Medical Office Assistant

Medical office assistants support doctors and other health-care professionals. They perform a wide variety of clerical and administrative tasks. These include scheduling appointments, word processing, billing, data entry, filing, and answering telephone calls. They may also perform minor medical duties. For example, they may take vital signs and prepare the consultation room.

Also Known As

Administrative Support Personnel, Medical Administrative Assistant, Medical Office Administrator, Medical Secretary, Office Coordinator, Office Personnel

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Medical Secretaries (1243) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Medical Secretaries (B213) 
  • 2011 NOC: Medical administrative assistants (1243) 
  • 2016 NOC: Medical administrative assistants (1243) 
  • 2021 NOC: Medical administrative assistants (13112) 
Interests & Abilities

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2006 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Medical Secretaries

2006 NOC: 1243

Interest Codes

Interest Codes for This NOC Group
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

Your Interest Codes

To identify or change your interest codes, complete the Interests Exercise in CAREERinsite.

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 for this NOC group 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 About Interests

Abilities

Typical ability expectations for this NOC group
Your abilities

To fill in or change the values for your abilities, complete the Abilities Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Mental Abilities

General Learning Ability

Verbal Ability

Numerical Ability

Visual Abilities

Spatial Perception

Form Perception

Clerical Perception

Physical Abilities

Motor Coordination

Finger Dexterity

Manual Dexterity

Understanding Abilities

A Quick Guide

You are born with abilities that help you process certain types of information and turn it into action. These abilities influence which skills you can learn more easily.

The abilities or aptitudes shown for this NOC group come from the General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB). The GATB measures 9 aptitudes. It groups them into 3 categories: mental, visual, and physical.

The abilities scores range from 1 to 5, with 5 being stronger.

Learn About Abilities

Duties
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Duties and responsibilities vary from one type of health-care organization to another. In general, medical office assistants answer the telephone, schedule and confirm medical appointments, greet patients, and take messages. They may perform any or all of the following duties:

  • 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 handwritten notes, electronic dictation, or oral instructions
  • Complete insurance and other claim forms
  • Submit billing claims
  • Process payments, bank documents, and accounts receivable
  • Set up and maintain records management systems, including classifying and coding electronic and hard-copy files
  • Operate complex office equipment such as voice mail systems, photocopiers, fax machines, and document scanners
  • Keep examination areas clean, orderly, and stocked with supplies
  • Perform minor medical duties, such as preparing the consultation room
  • Take vital signs and help with examinations
  • Use word processing, spreadsheet, database, and presentation software to prepare medical documents
  • Perform other clerical and administrative functions, such as ordering and maintaining an inventory of supplies

In large offices, these duties may be divided among several people.

Working Conditions
Updated Mar 31, 2019
  • Strength Required Lift up to 10 kg

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. Those who work in hospitals and doctors’ offices may regularly be exposed to contagious diseases.

Traits & Skills
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Medical office assistants need:

  • Discretion
  • Communication, organizational, and time-management skills
  • Attention to detail
  • Interpersonal skills to establish a professional rapport with and instil confidence in patients
  • Conflict-resolution skills to deal effectively with the sometimes difficult behaviours of people in distress
  • The ability to maintain accuracy while multitasking or working under pressure
  • A mature attitude toward the human body, wellness, and disease processes
  • The ability to work independently or as part of a team

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

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Top 10 Skills Employers Are Looking For

Medical administrative assistants

2016 NOC: 1243

This chart shows which job skills are currently in highest demand for this occupational group. It was created using this occupation's 100 most recent Alberta job postings, collected between Dec 22, 2021 and Dec 02, 2022.

Review these skills to learn:

  • Whether or not this occupation matches your skill set
  • What training you may need to get these skills
  • What skills to highlight in your resumé, cover letter, and interview.
Tasks: Determine and establish office procedures and routines
Tasks: Enter and format electronically based medical reports and correspondence and prepare spreadsheets and documents for review
Tasks: Interview patients to obtain case histories
Tasks: Complete insurance and other claim forms
Determine and establish office procedures and routines
Enter and format electronically based medical reports and correspondence and prepare spreadsheets and documents for review
Tasks: Schedule and confirm appointments
Complete insurance and other claim forms
Schedule and confirm appointments
Personal Suitability: Team player
Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2019
  • Minimum Education 1 year post-secondary

Most employers require medical office assistants who can type at least 50 words a minute (preferably 60) with a maximum of 3 errors. Knowledge of medical terminology and some medical instruments or tray items is vital. A working knowledge of human anatomy and physiology is also vital. Medical and dental offices in particular most often require candidates to have a diploma or be certified by a medical office assistant program.

Prospective students should ask employers about the suitability and reputation of training programs before enrolling.


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
Alberta Educational Centre
Alberta Paramount College
Alison College
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 - Red Deer
Bredin College of Business and Health Care - Spruce Grove
Canadian Health & Business College
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
City College of Management
CLI College of Business Health & Technology - Calgary
East-West College - Edmonton
East-West College of Business & Technology
Global College of Business & Technology
Grant MacEwan University
MaKami College Inc. - Edmonton
Makami College Inc. - Calgary
MCG Career College - Calgary
MCG Career College - Cold Lake
MCG Career College - Red Deer
Medical Reception College 1 Ltd. - Calgary
Medical Reception College 1 Ltd. - Edmonton
Mount Royal University
NorQuest College
Peerless Training Institute
QCom College of Technology (QCT)
Reeves College - Calgary City Centre
Reeves College - Calgary North
Reeves College - Lethbridge
Reeves College - Lloydminster
Reeves College Edmonton South
Southern Alberta Institute of Technology
The Royal Alberta College

To expand or narrow your search for programs related to this occupation, visit Post-Secondary Programs.

Completing a program does not guarantee entrance into an occupation. Before enrolling in an education program, prospective students should look into various sources for education options and employment possibilities. For example, contact associations and employers in this field.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2019
  • Certification Not Regulated

There is currently no provincial legislation regulating this occupation in Alberta.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Medical office assistants work in:

  • Doctors’ offices
  • Hospitals
  • Medical clinics and other health-care settings
  • Public and private insurance companies
  • Health software companies

In large organizations and with experience, they 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 (pdf) 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.

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

In Alberta, the 1243: Medical administrative assistants occupational group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 3.4% from 2019 to 2023. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 150 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

Note
NOC groups often include several related occupations. Although there is labour market data for the larger NOC group, this occupation makes up only a part of that group. It means data for this occupation may be different than the data shown. For example, only some of the new positions to be created will be for this occupation. It also applies to other data for the NOC group such as number of people employed.

Source: 2019-2023 Alberta Regional Occupational Demand Outlook

Related Alberta Job Postings
Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Salaries vary according to duties and experience. For information about current collective agreements in the public and not-for-profit sectors, see the Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA) website.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Medical administrative assistants

2016 NOC: 1243
Average Wage
$27.25
Per Hour
Average Salary
$49,772.00
Per Year
Average Hours
35.1
Per Week
Average Months on Payroll
12
Survey Methodology Survey Analysis

Source
2021 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey

NOC 1243 Wage Profile

Unless otherwise noted, the data shown here is for all industries and all regions in Alberta.

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.

To see the full survey data for this NOC group, visit the wage profile.

Other wage sources
To make an informed wage and salary decision, research other wage sources [pdf] to supplement this data.

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.


Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top

Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $17.55 $25.24 $23.04 $25.24
Overall $20.31 $29.87 $27.25 $29.37
Top $23.07 $34.94 $31.83 $34.86

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.

Pay brackets for hourly wages

  • Starting pay: average pay offered for entry-level positions
  • Overall pay: average pay across all employees in this occupation
  • Top pay: average pay offered to top-paid employees

Industry Information

Public Administration
ALL INDUSTRIES
Health Care & Social Assistance

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years
42%
42%)
Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties
11%
11%
Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months
0%
0%
Vacancy Rate
N/A
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Clerical and Administrative Support

Updated Mar 31, 2019. 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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