Inside Secretary Careers

Things you need to know, but nobody tells you

Biggest Surprises

"Lots To Know...
I am surprised that medical secretaries need to know so much information. There is a lot to customer service and filling out paper work. You also need to be on your best behavior and always watch what your doing." (Secretary; 2012)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in Michigan, female
School: Studied Medical at Montcalm Community in Michigan; completed Associate degree in 2012

"What I Did With My Degree...
I thought I could do something with a psychology degree after graduating. Luckily, I was able to find a secretarial job working as a secretary while still in college. I like my job because I can be very sociable but I don't like it because it does not pay nearly as much as I need." (Secretary; 2012)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in California, male
School: Studied Psychology at UCR in California; completed Bachelor degree in 2012

"More Customer Service Than Expected...
I was extremely surprised at how much interaction is required of me. I thought it was going to be mostly data-entry for my job, but I interact with the citizens of my county way more than I thought I'd have to- meaning I need to be considerate and understanding of their problems very often." (Government Typist; 2012)

Career: 3 years of experience, currently based in New York, male
School: Studied Management Information Systems at Adelphi University in New York; completed Bachelor degree in 2010

"I was surprised to find that being a good secretary means you will have to do a lot more work that is not even in your scope of practice. You will run errands, tell callers your boss is not in when they are really standing in your face. You may even have to take the fall for a mistake that you know is not your fault just to keep your job. Your people skills also has to be on point." (Secretary; 2012)

Career: 10 years of experience, currently based in North Carolina, female
School: Studied Health Administration at University Of Phoenix in North Carolina; completed Associate degree in 2010

Best & Worst Things About This Career

Medical Office Receptionist: "I am a people person and love the contact that I have with so many different people during the day. Each call that I answer is different and sometimes very interesting. But those same calls can become overwhelming and too many calls can make the day very stressful. The worst part of my job is trying to locate a physician to handle a hospital consult. It seems they disappear whenever you need them." (2010)

Administrative Clerical Assistant: "I love being busy all of the time with many varied functions. As a people person, I enjoy most of the constant interaction with the staff, students and parents. I hate that the other secretary has very few normal functions and spends most of her time socializing! Plus she works an extra hour a day. There are great inequities in the job." (2010)

Career Background


  Job Tasks
  Work Environment
  How to Prepare for the Job
  Job Outlook

Career Video

Career Tips

"Consider A Course In Med Terminology...
I don't think anyone starts out looking for a position as a medical office receptionist; it's no one's life ambition but it's the kind of thing that happens. As I have trained many for the position with no experience I have always thought that if they only had some education in medical terminology or phone etiquette it would be so helpful." (Medical Office Receptionist; 2010)

"Hard To Get Position...
It's a job that most of us just fall into. The atmosphere is very nice and many mothers ask how to get into the school department. You have to keep checking the job openings and sometimes start at something else. I was a school assistant, doing lunch supervision, recess monitoring and just grunt work for the teachers for nine years!" (Administrative Clerical Assistant; 2010)