What classes can I take to become a unit secretary or clerical worker in a hospital?


I have been looking everywhere and can't figure it out... Please help!


60 Posts

Has 1 years experience.
I have been looking everywhere and can't figure it out... Please help!

It depends. What state are you in? They are usually called Health Unit Clerks or Coordinators (HUCS.) At some Technical colleges or 2 year colleges they have programs for it. The hospitals also might require you to get your CNA as well.

jjjoy, LPN

2,801 Posts

I can't tell you about your area; where I am, the community college extension department offer such courses sometimes. Those classes are listed completely separate from the courses for credit. Also, a hospital human resources department may be able to tell you about local training programs. Call and ask! Some places, it's all just on-the-job training that involve being in-the-right-place-at-the-right-time. So if nothing turns up consider volunteering or getting a different job somewhere that might happily land you at-the-right-place-right-time. Good luck!


95 Posts

Specializes in Labor and Delivery.

sometimes its all about having experience and if you're in nursing school its even better because you have knowledge of medical terminology and patient care skills such as bed making, bed baths and vital signs.

Specializes in Med/Surg, DSU, Ortho, Onc, Psych.

What country r u in?

I've worked in both the nursing & clerical, unit secretarial fields for 25 years. Go 2 ur local community college (called TAFES in Oz) and enquire re the following:

- medical terminology course.

- computing software courses (everything is microsoft now), though hospitals still have their own, in-house software.

- u need to learn data entry, medical typing, phone and people skills. I dont know if there's a course in ur area that covers all of that though, u need to check, or do separate courses.

- need to learn re time management as well, this will stand u in good stead.

Some universities (colleges) have degrees/diplomas or short courses for secretaries - contact them as well.

- U need to learn re medical records and how to track them (the hosp may train u in this, it's not hard to learn).

There is lots of other stuff to learn, but I dont want u to get discouraged. Also make sure it's an accredited course that the hospitals will accept, otherwise u may get ripped off and waste ur money.


111 Posts

On my old unit, each night the charge nurse would choose CNA to work as a unit secretary. At the hospital where I have nursing school clinicals, a lady is the full-time unit secretary. So, I guess it just depends.

I agree with the previous posters. A lot of the time getting a good hospital job is all about being in the right place at the right time. Volunteering is a really good idea. Previous experience as a secretary of any kind would probably be a plus, and taking a medical terminology class would probably be a huge plus.

Good luck! :)

TheCommuter, BSN, RN

226 Articles; 27,608 Posts

Specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych. Has 17 years experience.

I work at facility that is owned by a national chain of rehab hospitals. Management usually requires that the unit secretaries have graduated from a MA (medical assistant) program. Since MAs are trained in front office procedures and clerical/secretarial duties, this makes sense to me. In addition, our unit secretaries are allowed to perform blood draws and EKGs since they learned these skills while attending a MA program.


140 Posts

Specializes in PICU.

I was a nursing assistant for a couple years then transfered to a unit secretary due to no other openings when i moved. According to all of the positions i've seen (in southwestern pa and st. louis area) you don't need anything but a highschool diploma, some medical terminology which you can learn yourself, and know how to answer a phone. If you look at some positions you might be interested in they should say the minimal amount of schooling required for the position.


686 Posts

Specializes in Health Information Management.

Could you be a little more specific? Basic clerical positions involve duties that can be learned on site (filing, phone systems, facility-specific software, etc.). If you want to get into health information management-related duties (coding, working with EHR systems, working as a clinical documentation specialist, health informatics, risk management/privacy etc.), the educational requirements become more numerous and complex. If you're more interested in the HIM-related areas, the American Health Information Management Association site might be useful for you, as it can give you guidance as to the educational requirements for different types of roles. www.AHIMA.org