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Become An Office Secretary

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Working As An Office Secretary

  • Interacting With Computers
  • Getting Information
  • Performing Administrative Activities
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Mostly Sitting

  • Repetitive

  • $30,000

    Average Salary

What Does An Office Secretary Do

Secretaries and administrative assistants perform routine clerical and administrative duties. They organize files, prepare documents, schedule appointments, and support other staff.

Duties

Secretaries and administrative assistants typically do the following:

  • Answer telephones and take messages or transfer calls
  • Schedule appointments and update event calendars
  • Arrange staff meetings
  • Handle incoming and outgoing mail and faxes
  • Prepare memos, invoices, or other reports
  • Edit documents
  • Maintain databases and filing systems, whether electronic or paper
  • Perform basic bookkeeping

Secretaries and administrative assistants perform a variety of clerical and administrative duties that are necessary to run an organization efficiently. They use computer software to create spreadsheets; manage databases; and prepare presentations, reports, and documents. They also may negotiate with vendors, buy supplies, and manage stockrooms or corporate libraries. Secretaries and administrative assistants also use videoconferencing, fax, and other office equipment. Specific job duties vary by experience, job title, and specialty.

Executive secretaries and executive administrative assistants provide high-level administrative support for an office and for top executives of an organization. They often handle more complex responsibilities, such as reviewing incoming documents, conducting research, and preparing reports. Some also supervise clerical staff.

Legal secretaries perform work requiring knowledge of legal terminology and procedures. They prepare legal documents, such as summonses, complaints, motions, and subpoenas under the supervision of an attorney or a paralegal. They also review legal journals and help with legal research—for example, by verifying quotes and citations in legal briefs.

Medical secretaries transcribe dictation and prepare reports or articles for physicians or medical scientists. They also take simple medical histories of patients, arrange for patients to be hospitalized, or process insurance payments. Medical secretaries need to be familiar with medical terminology and codes, medical records, and hospital or laboratory procedures.

Secretaries and administrative assistants, except legal, medical, and executive is the largest subcategory of secretaries and administrative assistants. They handle an office’s administrative activities in almost every sector of the economy, including schools, government, and private corporations. For example, secretaries in schools are often responsible for handling most of the communications among parents, students, the community, teachers, and school administrators. They schedule appointments, receive visitors, and keep track of students’ records.

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How To Become An Office Secretary

High school graduates who have experience using computer software applications, such as word processing and spreadsheets, usually qualify for entry-level positions. Although most secretaries learn their job in several weeks, many legal and medical secretaries require additional training to learn industry-specific terminology. Executive secretaries usually need several years of related work experience.

Education

High school graduates can take courses in word processing and office procedures at technical schools or community colleges. Some temporary placement agencies also provide training in word processing, spreadsheet, and database software.

Some medical and legal secretaries learn industry-specific terminology and practices by attending courses offered at community colleges or technical schools. For executive secretary positions, employers increasingly prefer to hire those who have taken some college courses or have a bachelor’s degree.

Training

Secretaries and administrative assistants typically learn their skills through short-term on-the-job training, usually lasting a few weeks. During this time they learn about administrative procedures, including how to prepare documents. Medical and legal secretaries’ training may last several months as they learn industry-specific terminology and practices.

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

Executive secretaries can gain experience by working in administrative positions that have less challenging responsibilities. Many secretaries and administrative assistants advance to higher level administrative positions.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Although not required, certification can demonstrate competency to employers.

The International Association of Administrative Professionals offers the Certified Administrative Professional (CAP) certification. Candidates must have a minimum of 2 to 4 years of administrative work experience, depending on their level of education, and pass an examination.

Legal secretaries have several certification options. For example, those with 1 year of general office experience, or who have completed an approved training course, can acquire the Accredited Legal Professional (ALP) certification through a testing process administered by NALS (previously known as National Association of Legal Secretaries). NALS also offers the Professional Legal Secretary (PLS) certification, considered to be an advanced certification for legal support professionals.

The Certified Legal Secretary Specialist (CLSS) certification is conferred by Legal Secretaries International in areas such as intellectual property, criminal law, civil litigation, probate, and business law. Candidates typically need to have 5 years of legal experience and pass an examination to become certified.

Advancement

Secretaries and administrative assistants generally advance to other administrative positions with more responsibilities, such as office supervisor, office manager, or executive secretary.

With additional training, many legal secretaries become paralegals or legal assistants.

Important Qualities

Integrity. Many secretaries and administrative assistants are trusted to handle sensitive information. For example, medical secretaries collect patient data that is required, by law, to be kept confidential in order to protect patient privacy.

Interpersonal skills. Secretaries and administrative assistants interact with clients, customers, or staff. They should communicate effectively and be courteous when interacting with others to create a positive work environment and client experience.

Organizational skills. Secretaries and administrative assistants keep files, folders, and schedules in proper order so an office can run efficiently.

Writing skills. Secretaries and administrative assistants write memos and emails when communicating with managers, employees, and customers. Therefore, they must have good grammar, ensure accuracy, and maintain a professional tone.

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Office Secretary Career Paths

Office Secretary
Certified Nursing Assistant Team Leader Assistant Manager
Office Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Certified Nursing Assistant Team Leader Office Manager
Business Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Certified Nursing Assistant Team Leader Owner
Co-Owner
6 Yearsyrs
Executive Assistant Office Manager
Accounting Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Executive Assistant Office Manager Property Manager
Communications Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Executive Assistant Account Executive Assistant Manager
Assistant General Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Teacher Consultant Senior Accountant
Finance Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Teacher Consultant Operations Manager
Site Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Teacher Specialist Account Executive
Relationship Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Medical Assistant Billing Specialist Accountant
Accountant And Office Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Medical Assistant Coordinator Project Coordinator
Senior Administrative Assistant
7 Yearsyrs
Medical Assistant Office Administrator Executive Administrative Assistant
Senior Executive Assistant
8 Yearsyrs
Substitute Teacher Consultant Operations Manager
Practice Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Substitute Teacher Coordinator Administrator
Business Office Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Substitute Teacher Specialist Administrator
Administrative Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Office Administrator Executive Administrative Assistant Executive Assistant/Office Manager
Executive Assistant To Chief Executive Officer
6 Yearsyrs
Office Administrator Accounts Receivable Specialist Accounts Receivable Supervisor
Accounts Receivable Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Assistant Human Resources Assistant Human Resources Generalist
Office Manager Of Human Resources
6 Yearsyrs
Assistant Administrator Administrative Manager
Administrative Director
8 Yearsyrs
Assistant Legal Assistant Executive Secretary
Principal Secretary
7 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
School Secretary 4.1 years
Clerical Secretary 3.4 years
Service Secretary 3.4 years
Secretary 3.0 years
Office Secretary 3.0 years
Junior Secretary 2.4 years
Office Clerk 2.3 years
Office Assistant 2.2 years
Office Worker 2.0 years
Top Careers Before Office Secretary
Cashier 11.1%
Secretary 9.6%
Internship 4.8%
Volunteer 3.4%
Manager 2.7%
Waitress 2.6%
Server 2.6%
Clerk 2.4%
Assistant 2.1%
Top Careers After Office Secretary
Cashier 9.7%
Secretary 6.6%
Internship 4.8%
Server 3.2%
Volunteer 2.7%
Teacher 2.5%
Manager 2.4%
Assistant 2.0%

Do you work as an Office Secretary?

Average Yearly Salary
$30,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$16,000
Min 10%
$30,000
Median 50%
$30,000
Median 50%
$30,000
Median 50%
$30,000
Median 50%
$30,000
Median 50%
$30,000
Median 50%
$30,000
Median 50%
$54,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
State of Maryland
Highest Paying City
New York, NY
Highest Paying State
Delaware
Avg Experience Level
2.8 years
How much does an Office Secretary make at top companies?
The national average salary for an Office Secretary in the United States is $30,045 per year or $14 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $16,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $54,000.

Real Office Secretary Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Law Office Secretary Shrestha Law Firm, PLLC New York, NY Jun 15, 2015 $67,800
Office Secretary Master Construction, Inc. Glenview, IL May 02, 2016 $41,226
Office Secretary Mir Electric Inc. River Grove, IL Mar 21, 2016 $41,226
Office Secretary Kulas Maintenance Inc. Northbrook, IL Dec 07, 2016 $30,430
Office Secretary Star Promotion Inc. Houston, TX Jun 02, 2011 $29,578
Secretary In Trucking Office Eurotrans Express, Inc. Chicago, IL Mar 31, 2008 $19,656
Secretary In Trucking Office Eurotrans Express, Inc. Elk Grove Village, IL Mar 26, 2009 $19,656

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Top Skills for An Office Secretary

  1. Office Supplies
  2. Phone Calls
  3. Legal Documents
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Ordered office supplies and maintained inventory; utilized on-line ordering system to enter supply requisitions, and distributed supplies upon receipt.
  • Greet customers, answer phone calls, confirm customers order, assisting them in choosing the best items that they need.
  • Examined legal documents to ensure compliance with Mississippi insurance regulations.
  • Provided strong customer serviced to both internal and external customers.
  • Executed daily operations of billing, log book auditing, accounts payable, accounts receivable, payroll, and filing.

Office Secretary Demographics

Gender

Female

74.0%

Male

14.2%

Unknown

11.8%
Ethnicity

White

60.2%

Hispanic or Latino

16.1%

Black or African American

13.0%

Asian

6.7%

Unknown

4.0%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

51.0%

French

12.8%

Russian

4.7%

Portuguese

3.9%

Chinese

3.9%

Italian

3.4%

German

3.4%

Arabic

3.4%

Mandarin

2.6%

Japanese

2.3%

Cantonese

1.6%

Hindi

1.3%

Urdu

1.3%

Tagalog

0.8%

Amharic

0.8%

Polish

0.8%

Igbo

0.5%

Turkish

0.5%

Korean

0.5%

Ukrainian

0.5%
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Office Secretary Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

19.6%

Strayer University

8.2%

University of Maryland - University College

7.6%

George Washington University

5.0%

Ashford University

4.5%

The Academy

4.5%

Kaplan University

4.5%

Brigham Young University

4.5%

Anne Arundel Community College

4.2%

George Mason University

3.9%

Baltimore City Community College

3.9%

The Community College of Baltimore County

3.7%

Morgan State University

3.5%

Pennsylvania State University

3.5%

Michigan State University

3.4%

Liberty University

3.2%

Georgetown University

3.2%

Houston Community College

3.0%

University of Maryland - College Park

3.0%

American University

3.0%
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Majors

Business

27.3%

Health Care Administration

7.0%

Nursing

6.4%

Accounting

6.0%

Psychology

5.7%

Criminal Justice

5.4%

Medical Assisting Services

5.3%

Education

3.8%

General Studies

3.7%

Management

3.2%

Liberal Arts

3.2%

Communication

3.1%

English

3.1%

Political Science

3.1%

Secretarial And Administrative Science

2.6%

Elementary Education

2.4%

Legal Support Services

2.3%

Computer Science

2.3%

Law

2.2%

Biology

1.9%
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Degrees

Bachelors

32.5%

Other

31.2%

Associate

14.6%

Masters

10.2%

Certificate

6.7%

Diploma

2.1%

Doctorate

2.0%

License

0.6%
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