Administrative assistant

In the NHS, administrative assistants work in hospitals, health centres and board headquarters. They can work with clinical staff and business teams to arrange meetings, create documents and maintain records.

Starting your career

Subject choices

You need a good standard of education to become an administrative assistant. There are no specific entry requirements, but useful subjects for the role include:

  • English
  • Maths
  • Administration and IT
  • Business Management

Work placements and volunteering

If you’re at school or thinking of changing your career, doing a work placement could help you when applying to college, university, or for a job in healthcare. You’ll learn new skills, improve your knowledge and discover what it’s like to work in the health service.

Find out how to apply for a work placement in the NHS. There may also be opportunities to volunteer.


Foundation Apprenticeships

A Foundation Apprenticeship will give you the skills, knowledge, and experience to start your career journey. You could take a relevant Foundation Apprenticeship in Business Skills.

Modern Apprenticeships

With a Modern Apprenticeship, you will gain an industry-recognised qualification. Relevant Modern Apprenticeships for this role include:

The role

Communication, time management, and organisation are key to this role. You could work in a clinical setting or in an office, within an HR or finance team. You’ll work closely with your team to provide a high level of administrative support.

What you’ll do

Your main tasks include:

  • creating documents
  • phone calls
  • emails
  • keeping records
  • data entry
  • auditing data
  • booking appointments
  • handling post
  • ordering stationery

Top skills

You’ll need these skills:

  • accuracy
  • communication
  • listening
  • time management
  • problem-solving
  • teamwork

Who you’ll work with

You’ll work with:

  • healthcare staff
  • health records staff
  • personal assistants
  • facilities management staff
  • receptionists

Working environment

You could work in:

  • hospitals
  • health centres
  • offices
  • Health Board headquarters

Did you know?

There are just over 25,000 administrative services staff in NHSScotland. They make up around 6.5% of the workforce. 

Learning and development

You will be encouraged to develop your career in the NHS. This includes training on:

  • your department and its procedures
  • health and safety
  • occupational health
  • fire safety
  • counter-fraud
  • moving and handling

You may also have the chance to study for additional qualifications in business and administration.

Other relevant courses include:

You might like to view NHSScotland’s Education Pathways for Business and Administration.

Gaining these new qualifications will help your career prosper. You’ll be able to apply to more senior roles, and progress to jobs such as office manager or team leader.

Professional bodies

Administrative assistants can join the Association of Medical Secretaries, Practice Managers, Administrators, and Receptionists (AMSPAR).