Love the thought of becoming a secretary?

Last updated: February 23, 2024
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Ashley Wilson
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Content Manager at Jobcase
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Love the thought of becoming a secretary?
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Are you searching for a career change and want to find a job opportunity in an office setting?

Becoming a secretary can be a great way to get some experience with administrative duties and open doors for other job opportunities.

Let’s break down secretary job responsibilities, expected salary, and what skills and qualifications you need to become a secretary.

What is a secretary, exactly?

Secretaries play an important role in a business environment. These administrative professionals are typically in charge of maintaining and organizing documents, but also implementing and carrying out office procedures and other administrative tasks.

They provide administrative support to several other staff members.

Some companies will have one secretary who’s in charge of the entire office. But larger companies will have several secretaries.

For instance, some dentist offices have one secretary for each dentist.

Secretaries can also work for executives in a company. In either case, secretaries are a line of defense between customers and other employees.

Secretaries are similar to executive assistants. The difference is that executive assistants, in addition to performing secretarial duties, also need to anticipate the needs of their superior.

What are secretary job responsibilities?

The responsibilities you’ll have as a secretary can include but aren’t limited to:

  • Answering and redirecting phone calls to the appropriate person

  • Creating and maintaining administrative reports

  • Making travel arrangements

  • Managing the office calendar

  • Event planning

  • Booking appointments and scheduling meetings for colleagues

  • Giving out memos and other correspondence

  • Developing and maintaining an effective filing system

  • Verifying the levels of office supplies or office equipment and placing orders when necessary

In some cases, you may also have receptionist duties as a secretary. This means you’ll need to greet visitors who enter the business.

What qualities and skills make a good secretary?

Several skills contribute to making someone a good secretary. You need high attention to detail and strong organizational skills.

You’ll also need to know how to juggle several tasks and remain flexible.

Other qualities include:

  • Teamwork and interpersonal skills

  • Verbal communication skills

  • Discretion

  • Professionalism

  • Proactivity

  • Assertiveness

  • Computer skills

Some employers require a minimum typing speed to make sure their newly hired secretary can be more productive. You’ll also have an edge if you know how to use common office software like Microsoft Office and Excel.

Required qualifications to become a secretary

If you want to become a secretary, the only job requirement is a high school diploma or GED. You usually won’t need any college education to work in this field. You won’t need certifications, either.

Of course, some certifications could give you an edge against other applicants and help you land the job. For example, Microsoft provides several certifications, like the Microsoft Office Specialist: Associate (Office 365 and Office 2019).

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Because some companies will expect you to have a minimum typing speed, you can also take an online typing certificate. You can find some of these on Typing.com and Ratatype.

These aren’t official, like Microsoft certifications, but they can help you showcase what your typing speed is in a more attractive way than simply adding it to your resume.

You can also use Typing.com to take typing lessons if you want to improve your words per minute, or WPM.

Secretary salary and job outlook

Working as a secretary can be a high-paying opportunity.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median wage for secretaries is $40,990 per year, or $19.71 per hour. This can be more depending on what type of secretary job you have.

Executive secretaries and executive assistants have a median wage of $63,110 per year. And if you work in the legal field, the median wage is $48,980.

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Can secretaries work from home?

So you think you’d enjoy working as a secretary. But you’d also like the opportunity to land a work-from-home job.

There are several high-paying jobs available that let you work from home. So is a secretary job one of them?

It depends on what type of responsibilities you have when you get hired. For instance, if you have receptionist duties in addition to secretarial duties, you won’t be able to work from home.

That’s because receptionists are the first person someone sees when they enter a business. You need to be physically present to greet them.

But if the company you work for has a receptionist already, then your secretarial duties could be done from home, as long as the phone lines can be rerouted to your home.

Plus, if you decide to get a job for a 100% remote company, then you can certainly work from home like the rest of the team.

So what’s the difference between a receptionist and a secretary?

Someone with the title of receptionist won’t usually have as many clerical duties, such as managing calendars, making travel arrangements, and typing documents. The main duties of a receptionist are to answer the phone and greet visitors who walk into the office.

Some companies will hire secretaries who also need to perform receptionist duties. In other cases, a job may be called ‘receptionist’, but still have secretarial duties involved.

Beware of these opportunities. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, receptionists have a median pay of $31,110 per year. That’s almost $10,000 less than the median salary for secretaries.

So if you’re applying for a receptionist or secretary job, double-check that the duties fit the salary.

However, working as a receptionist can be a great way to gain some years of experience in an office so that you can eventually become a secretary. Plus, receptionist jobs are increasing at 4%, which is faster than secretaries.

Secretary jobs hiring right now

Decided that working as a secretary is a good career choice for you?

If you have your high school diploma or an equivalent — and if you think your typing speed is up to par — you can start applying to secretary jobs right now on Jobcase.

You can filter your job search depending on your experience level. So, if you’re entry-level, you can choose to only see job opportunities for entry-level candidates. You can also filter to find only remote opportunities.

If you’re looking for a secretary job in a specific field, like in a hospital or in an office, you can do so too.

Start your career as a secretary

If you’re talented at multitasking and have a great sense of integrity and professionalism, a career as a secretary could be a great choice for you — especially as it's often the jumping-off point for further career opportunities.

To kickstart your job search, find secretary job opportunities in your area.


Would YOU work as a secretary?

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