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Unit Clerk

Unit clerks perform a variety of reception, clerical and administrative tasks at nursing stations on the units or wards of hospitals, continuing care centres, physician's offices and other medical facilities.

  • Avg. Salary $46,210.00
  • Avg. Wage $27.09
  • Minimum Education High school diploma
  • Outlook above avg
  • Employed 5,100
  • In Demand High
Also Known As

Administrative Support Personnel, Hospital Unit/Ward Clerk, Office Personnel, Ward Clerk

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) 
Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

Average Wage
  • Certification Not Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift up to 10 kg
Interest Codes
The Unit Clerk is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Medical Secretaries

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


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


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

Updated Dec 14, 2016

Unit clerks are responsible for maintaining an orderly nursing station and assisting nursing staff by:

  • assembling standard forms for patient charts
  • routinely checking patient discharge documents for omissions and signatures, and distributing admission and discharge forms and charts to the appropriate departments
  • transcribing physicians' instructions by recording information on requisition forms, consent forms, chart forms and computerized systems
  • transcribing medication, laboratory, diagnostic imaging, dietary and treatment orders
  • co-ordinating and scheduling patient tests and treatments with internal departments and external centres, arranging for patient transportation and contacting patients to advise them of admission, discharge and appointment dates
  • greeting, screening and directing visitors, and distributing flowers, mail and packages
  • answering the telephone, relaying messages and transferring calls
  • preparing and submitting health care billings for procedures, treatments and services on behalf of physicians
  • performing other administrative and clerical functions such as word processing and formatting, preparing staff time sheets, updating patient census and room lists, filing documents and cards, and requisitioning office and patient care supplies.
Working Conditions
Updated Dec 14, 2016

Unit clerks generally work day and evening shifts in hospitals and other health care facilities but may be required to work rotating shifts that include weekends and nights on some wards. They may work four, eight, 10 or 12 hour shifts. Hours are being extended with changes in health care delivery and staff utilization patterns.

Ongoing exposure to the emotional stress that illness or injury causes patients and their families can be stressful for unit clerks. They work in very busy environments, continually interacting with other people.

Unit clerks are routinely required to lift items weighing up to 10 kilograms.

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

Unit clerks need the following characteristics:

  • good organizational and time management skills
  • excellent oral and written communication skills in English including fluency in medical terminology
  • good at multi-tasking
  • the ability to work efficiently despite frequent interruptions
  • the ability to pay close attention to detail and maintain a high level of accuracy
  • emotional maturity and the ability to handle stress
  • the ability to maintain patient confidentiality
  • good interpersonal skills especially the ability to effectively manage difficult behaviours sometimes exhibited by people in distress
  • the ability to work with minimal supervision as well as in a team environment.

They should enjoy working with people, operating computer and related equipment, and compiling information.

Educational Requirements
Updated Dec 14, 2016

Employers generally prefer to hire graduates of recognized unit clerk training programs that include a course in medical terminology and a practicum (work experience) component. Applicants who have equivalent qualifications may be considered.

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

Academy of Learning - Calgary South

Academy of Learning - Edmonton South

Academy of Learning - Edmonton West

Academy of Learning - Medicine Hat

Alberta Business & Health Institute

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

Cambrooks College - Downtown Campus

Canadian Health & Business College

Grande Prairie Regional College

Lethbridge College

MCG Career College - Calgary

MCG Career College - Red Deer

Medical Reception College 1 Ltd. - Calgary

Medical Reception College 1 Ltd. - Edmonton

Mount Royal University

NorQuest College

Selkirk College

Southern Alberta Institute of Technology

Sundance College - Edmonton

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

Certification Requirements
Updated Dec 14, 2016

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

Employment & Advancement
Updated Dec 14, 2016

Unit clerks are employed in:

  • hospitals
  • continuing care facilities
  • rehabilitation institutions
  • physician's offices
  • diagnostic medical imaging offices
  • medical clinics
  • dental offices.

Full time job openings for unit clerks are sometimes filled by other hospital employees such as part-time unit clerks or licensed practical nurses.

Applicants for employment are required to undergo a police security clearance.

In large organizations, experienced unit clerks may advance to clerical co-ordinator positions or move into other clerical and administrative support occupations.

Unit clerks 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 unit clerks form only a part of this larger occupational group, only some of these newly created positions will be for unit clerks.

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

Depending on the work site, unit clerks may be represented by the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE), Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), or the Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA). For information about current collective agreements in the public and not-for-profit sectors visit their websites.

Medical administrative assistants

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
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $16.37 $24.99 $23.23 $24.99
Overall $18.75 $29.11 $27.09 $28.96
Top $21.00 $34.86 $31.74 $34.39

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
Public Administration
Health Care & Social Assistance

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years


Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties


Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months


Vacancy Rate

Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Clerical and Administrative Support
  • Health Care and Medical Sciences
Other Sources of Information
Updated Dec 14, 2016

Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE) website:

Canadian Union of Public Employee (CUPE) website:

Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA) website:

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

Updated Jan 01, 2012. 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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