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Secretary Job Description, Career as a Secretary, Salary, Employment - Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job

secretaries office offices administrative

Education and Training: Varies—see profile

Salary: Varies—see profile

Employment Outlook: Fair

Definition and Nature of the Work

Secretaries perform several office tasks within one job. They do word processing and data entry. They may take shorthand. Secretaries also file papers, answer telephones, schedule appointments, and handle mail for their employers. Secretaries are employed by business, professional, government, and nonprofit organizations.

The exact nature of the work varies widely from job to job. Secretaries in small firms may spend most of their time dealing with the mail and answering the phone. In a very small organization, one secretary may be responsible for all office functions.

In the past, every middle manager in a large corporation would have a secretary working for him or her. Office automation has eliminated many secretarial jobs. Managers now use e-mail to send and receive correspondences, and they get their phone messages through voice mail. There is less paper to file because so much information is stored on computers.

In most modern, automated offices, one secretary provides services for several managers. Those who work for only one or two managers are usually given additional responsibilities. They may be given tasks that formerly were done by administrators. The tasks vary with the type of office and the special skills of the secretary. A secretary to a human resources director might administer and score tests or check applicants' references. A secretary to an advertising manager might check copy for printing errors and layout. In some offices experienced secretaries are given the same responsibilities as administrative assistants.

Large organizations may have five or more levels of secretaries. Those at the top level are usually called executive secretaries. Those at the middle level may be called senior secretaries or administrative secretaries, but the titles vary from one organization to another. Secretary is sometimes an entry-level title. Inexperienced secretaries may start out by working in a group. Middle- or senior-level secretaries often teach newcomers how to use the company's computer equipment and programs. If the equipment changes, they may help to retrain other office workers.

In any office, experienced secretaries may be given a great deal of responsibility. They may order supplies, schedule meetings, handle petty cash, and make travel arrangements. Some secretaries perform supervisory duties or act as office managers.

Many secretaries specialize in one type of office work. For instance, legal secretaries are familiar with the terms and procedures used by lawyers. Medical secretaries work in doctors' offices, hospitals, and other places where a knowledge of medical terms is essential. Bilingual secretaries work for the government and for other organizations that maintain contact and exchange letters with offices abroad.

A secretary's duties can range from answering phones to supervising personnel and managing office operations. (Photograph by Kelly A. Quin. Thomson Gale. Reproduced by permission.)

Education and Training Requirements

Secretaries generally must have a high school education. Many employers prefer to hire graduates of administrative support schools. Business executives may prefer applicants with a liberal arts degree and secretarial training. Typing or word processing skills of at least sixty-five words per minute are often required for jobs in big cities. Shorthand skills are no longer needed for many secretarial jobs. A basic knowledge of computers is increasingly required. Employers usually provide training for their particular equipment and programs. Communication skills are also valuable on the job.

Getting the Job

A high school or business school placement office may help a graduating student to find a secretarial job. Interested individuals can contact companies directly or check the classified ads in their local newspapers. They can also check for jobs on the Internet. If candidates are interested in a government job, they should arrange to take the necessary civil service exam. State and private employment agencies may find suitable openings for prospective secretaries.

Another approach is to register with an agency supplying temporary secretaries to local companies. A person could gain experience that might lead to a permanent job.

Advancement Possibilities and Employment Outlook

A secretary in a small firm may advance to office manager or transfer to a more responsible job in a larger organization. In large firms good secretaries may be given more administrative responsibility. They may become administrative assistants. Some take college courses in administration and progress to entry-level management positions. Secretaries who work in government may train to qualify for higher civil service jobs.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2.6 million secretaries were employed in the United States in 2004. The number of secretaries employed was expected to increase more slowly than the average for all occupations through the year 2014. Employment opportunities for legal and medical secretaries were expected to be much better than those for general secretaries. Many general secretary jobs will be lost as offices continue to update their technology and more and more secretarial duties become automated.

Working Conditions

Secretaries work in many types of offices. An executive secretary may work in a roomy office in a large office building. Entry-level secretaries may work in a large room as part of a group. Medical secretaries may work in busy doctors' offices. Most secretaries meet and work with a variety of people. All secretaries are subject to pressures at least some of the time. Most secretaries work thirty-five to forty hours per week. Some offices permit secretaries to work flexible schedules.

Where to Go for More Information

International Association of Administrative Professionals
10502 NW Ambassador Dr.
PO Box 20404
Kansas City, MO 64195
(816) 891-6600
http://www.iaap-hq.org

Office and Professional Employees International Union
265 W. 14th St., 6th Fl.
New York, NY 10011
(800) 346-7348
http://www.opeiu.org

Earnings and Benefits

Secretaries' salaries vary a great deal. Skills, experience, and the type and location of the job affect earnings. In their November 2004 Occupational Employment Statistics survey, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the median yearly salary for general secretaries was $27,520. Medical secretaries made $28,250, and legal secretaries brought in $38,870. Full-time employees usually receive paid holidays and vacations, health and life insurance, and fringe benefits.

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about 7 years ago

This is a good help for me, because this is my first job in the Middle East to work as a Personal secretary of the General Manager.. and please can you send me some advice,and for the interview skills and tip how to deal on it..i want to learn more on this. thanks

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over 6 years ago

Thanks for the informaiton, but need to know how to write a minute at a meeting. The full procedure.

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almost 9 years ago

To become a successful secretary, being trustworthy and loyal are key factors. Keeping confidential information at bay and avoiding office gossip about your boss is crucial. If you follow these simple rules, an entry level position will guarantee you a respectful career where climbing the ladder is the key to being a candidate for a successful and rewarding future in the business enviroment. Willing to learn on a daily level and following the above, rewards will come.

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about 6 years ago

thanks for the information it very interesting but iam working

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over 5 years ago

Thank you guys, this was a helpful guide keep it up and provide more information concerning this jobs.

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about 9 years ago

this is a good help for me,because this is my first time job to work as a secretary of the General Manager.. and please can you send me some advice and tip how to deal on it..i want to learn more on this.

thanks

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about 6 years ago

i want a girl to trip my pipi!!!!!!!1

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over 6 years ago

Thanks for giving such kind of infomation about secretary job to all of related to this field. I am working in Pvt. Ltd Company as a personal sercretary and now i want to make my carrier as secretary so plz could you help me to send some useful advice to became a best sercretary.





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about 9 years ago

this has been a good help for me.....if you can please send me more info.... i think i want to be a seretary. im planning to getting all i need to be one..

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over 6 years ago

THIS DID NOT HELP AT ALL PEEPS!!!!!!!!!!!!!! NA JUST KIDDING IT DID BUT WHERE IS THE EMPLOYMENT IDIOTS LOL:)

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about 3 years ago

May I Apply?

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over 6 years ago

THIS DID NOT HELP AT ALL PEEPS!!!!!!!!!!!!!! NA JUST KIDDING IT DID BUT WHERE IS THE EMPLOYMENT IDIOTS LOL:)

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about 7 years ago

Thanks for giving such kind of infomation about secretary job. I am working in Pvt. Ltd company as a office sercretary and now i want to make my carrier as secretary so plz can u send me some useful advice to became a best sercretary.

With Regards

Thanks

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almost 9 years ago

This has really helped me out with what I want to do in life.I am glad that they would have something like this provided for people who are looking to be in the secretary business like myself.I hope that this website and information just keeps getting provided and I can always view this page to keep updated on all the important facts and all the intersting information.To me this is a very good and useful website to keep around.

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over 3 years ago

my name magdy
iwant jop

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over 3 years ago

work hard to become a secretary

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about 4 years ago

well thank you very much for all. I would like to know the possible training that the new secretary will require within the first twelve months on the job if she is not productive?
also, if it is possible please develop a one-day induction and orientation programme that an employer can use to effectively orientate the new secretary?

thank you in advance for the useful answers that you will provide me with.

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about 4 years ago

a secretary requires effective spoken nd written communicational skills

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over 4 years ago

thanks for your information which is useful for us .and we wish more

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over 4 years ago

thanks for your information which is useful for us

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over 4 years ago

I want to know about shorthand
And also my carrier.

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almost 5 years ago

Thank you for the information,it has helped me as our organization is growing and we need such information in place.

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about 5 years ago

Thank you so much, for now I am second year student taking a secretarial course and I know this will help in future.

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over 5 years ago

Be blessed for the information, I am currently working in a firm as a secretary I would kindly request for more information regarding secretaries because i want to be a professional one.



Thanks and regards.

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over 5 years ago

Thank you guys, this was a helpful guide keep it up and provide more information concerning this jobs.

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over 5 years ago

Thank you guys, this was a helpful guide keep it up and provide more information concerning this jobs.

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almost 6 years ago

Thisz' $ucks!:p

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almost 6 years ago

Secretary Job Description, Career as a Secretary, Salary, Employment - Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job

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about 6 years ago

thank for giving such kind of information about secretary job
this is a good help for me.

thanks

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over 6 years ago

Thanks a lot for your information,i am a high school leaver and haven't had any training on secretary course but i'm working as a secretary in a small firm.i am having a serious problem with my work and i can't take a training course due to ma salary given to me.i am so worried,what can i do.
Best regards.

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over 6 years ago

Thanks a lot for your information,i am a high school leaver and haven't had any training on secretary course but i'm working as a secretary in a small firm.i am having a serious problem with my work and i can't take a training course due to ma salary given to me.i am so worried,what can i do.
Best regards.

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almost 7 years ago

here i just completed my secretary course of 2 years along with training could you please help me to find a job because of its my first step to move towards my career
with best wishes

thanks

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over 8 years ago

this is a good help for me,because this is my first time job to work as a secretary of the General Manager.. and please can you send me some advice,and for the interview skills and tip how to deal on it..i want to learn more on this. thanks