Medical Administrative Officer

Note: Completion of a TAFE SA course does not guarantee an employment outcome. Formal requirements other than educational qualifications (eg licensing, professional registration), may apply to some occupations.

Job Prospects
Future growth is strong
Median weekly salary is $1,073
Source 2022
'Being a medical administrative officer can be like running a small business,' says a local medical administrative officer. Like all administrative officers, medical administrative officers answer the telephone and handle correspondence. However, in this specialised role, they must also be familiar with medical terminology and have an understanding of the way the medical fraternity and the health sector operates.

There are currently around 3100 Medical Administrative Officers in South Australia. Employment is largely full-time and most work in the Health and Community Services industry. Majority of persons in this occupation are females and most are employed in the Adelaide metropolitan area.

TAFE SA courses that may be relevant for: Medical Administrative Officer

Accredited (Award)

  • On a daily basis medical administrative officers greet patients and request that first-time patients fill out a medical history form. They also schedule patient and surgery appointments and organise hospital admissions. For the latter, medical administrative officers liaise with the hospital's theatre director. Handling both public enquiries and liaising with internal clients means people working in this occupation need to have or develop good communication and interpersonal skills.

    Clerical and AdministrativeHelping and Community ServicesMedical

  • For entry into this occupation it is usually necessary to complete an administration course which includes learning medical terminology and customer service, computer and shorthand skills.

    TAFE SA offers the Certificate III in Business (Medical Administration) and Certificate III in Health Administration to help you gain employment in this occupation:

    SA Apprenticeships are available in this occupation for further information go to the Traineeship & Apprenticeship Services Website at or phone the Freecall number 1800 673 097.

  • Medical administrative officers generally find work in hospitals or in doctors' offices/surgeries. Although medical administrative officers can be found at the front of a hospital/surgery reception desk, they often work behind the scenes in an adjoining office. Their working hours are generally 9 to 5, Monday to Friday.

    Sales, marketing and advertising duties are another significant part of medical administrative officer's role.

    It is expected that the need for the skills of a medical secretary will continue.

  • Medical administrative officers make sure patients' medical charts and reports are available for doctors and keep medical record systems up to date. And, there are always patient referrals and reminder notices that need to be typed and sent out. Any administrative duties such as banking, ordering medical supplies and keeping inventories, are also handled by medical secretaries. And since their role is much like running a small business, medical secretaries are also required to maintain the financial records of a practice or surgery. To help keep these small businesses running effectively, medical administrative officers also organise staff rosters and wages. They also type the medical reports that have been dictated by doctors on to a tape and into databases.

  • Because they deal directly with patients, medical administrative officers must demonstrate excellent people skills and be well presented. Often a medical administrative officer is the first point of contact for sick, worried patients, and so a high level of understanding is important. Their work environment can be hectic - you may have noticed that a medical administrative officer's telephone never stops ringing - so being able to remain calm is essential. Trustworthiness and discretion are other key requirements of medical administrative officers, as they deal with highly confidential information. Excellent organisational skills are also a must as scheduling and juggling many appointments for patients is a key duty. They need to be prepared to sit down at the keyboard for long periods of time, which, without care, can cause eye and neck/back strain, and repetitive movement injuries. Therefore medical administrative officers must be aware of and follow Occupational Health and Safety procedures in order to take care of themselves.

  • It is necessary to have a good understanding of medical terminology if you are doing this type of work. It helps you to know what a doctor is talking about, for example, when he or she is referring to an abnormal Pap smear. A knowledge of medical terms can also assist medical administrative officers to spell these terms correctly when typing reports. They also need to have a good understanding of insurance claims and the terms and conditions specific to agencies such as Medicare and Veteran Affairs.

    As in many occupations nowadays, there is a need for medical administrative officers to have sound computing skills as most information stored in hospitals and doctors' surgeries is recorded using computer packages. You'll need to become familiar with tailor-made computing packages for medical practices. Increasingly sophisticated and more streamlined medical computer packages are making it possible for medical administrative officers to obtain information much faster. In the next year or so, medical secretaries hope to be able to send patient referrals electronically.