Executive Secretary Career Information and Job Description

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become an executive secretary. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs, job duties and experience requirements to find out if this is the career for you.

Essential Information

An executive secretary performs many high-level clerical and administrative tasks, including managing information technology, creating presentations or proposals and taking responsibility for confidential company documents. There are jobs for executive secretaries in almost any type of organization or business. Several years of administrative support experience is a must, and most executive secretaries hold bachelor's degrees related to the industry in which they work.

Required EducationBachelor's degree in related industry is common
Other Requirements Administrative support experience
Projected Job Outlook (2012-2022)*1% decline for executive secretaries and executive administrative assistants
Median Salary (2013)* $49,290 for executive secretaries and executive administrative assistants

Source: * U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Executive Secretary Career Information

Executive secretary positions are very rarely entry-level positions, because an executive secretary interacts with top executives and their counterparts. Therefore, most employers require that applicants demonstrate several years of experience as administrative support staff. A college education is usually preferred, especially in an industry-related discipline. Excellent communication, organizational, interpersonal and administrative skills are also needed.

Executive secretaries are generally full-time employees. They often work in such places as legal offices, medical offices, corporate offices, small businesses, schools, hospitals and government offices.

Career Statistics

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (, the secretarial job market is expected to grow at an average rate over the next few years. However, employment for executive secretaries and administrative assistants is expected to decline by about 1% from 2012 to 2022, due to employers replacing these jobs with lower-level personnel. The BLS also reported that the median salary for executive secretaries, as of May 2013, was $49,290. The highest-paid executive secretaries earned nearly $75,000.

Job Description

Executive secretaries are not just a pleasant voice answering the phone, making coffee or typing memos. The main responsibility of an executive secretary is to provide administrative support to high-level officials in an organization. Executive secretaries are responsible for handling highly confidential documents, protecting an organization's confidential information, communication and information management, managing office supplies, making travel arrangements, scheduling meetings and events and negotiating with vendors.

The executive secretary should have great familiarity with office software and machines. She or he may even train new lower-level secretaries. In some professions, like law and medicine, the executive secretary is expected to be familiar with the technical vocabulary of the industry.

Changing Job Duties

The evolution of technology makes individuals more productive, and tough economic factors force companies to downsize. As a result, executive secretaries today don't just do traditional staff support work. They also take on increasingly more responsibilities, which individuals in higher management positions previously were responsible. These tasks may include project research and management, PowerPoint presentations and report generation.

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