Clerical Secretary: Job Description, Duties and Requirements

Clerical secretaries require a little amount of formal education. Learn about the education, job duties and necessary skills to see if this is the right career for you.

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A career as a secretary requires a high school diploma. Some employers prefer applicants who've completed training at a vocational school or community college. Clerical secretaries need strong written and verbal communication skills, good computer skills and to be familiar with office equipment.

Essential Information

Clerical secretaries are responsible for office communication and equipment in private businesses, non-profit organizations and government agencies. Among their many duties, secretaries draft correspondence, schedule events, coordinate projects and do Internet research. The minimum educational requirement for these professionals is a high school diploma, but many candidates choose to pursue office training at a community college.

Required Education High school diploma minimum; completion of office training through a community college or vocational school may enhance career prospects
Other Requirements Strong customer service, verbal and writing skills necessary; knowledge of computers and office equipment and machines
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 3% for secretaries and administrative assistants
Median Salary (2015)* $36,500 for secretaries and administrative assistants

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Clerical Secretary Job Description

Clerical secretaries perform many administrative tasks in an office setting. Their job includes planning meetings, updating databases and managing information flow to staff and clients. Secretaries store, retrieve and disperse electronic and paper information, including memos, e-mails and other documents. A secretary's duties may include drafting correspondence, reports and other documents.

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Duties of a Clerical Secretary

Clerical secretaries are responsible for the effective flow of information and communication in an organization. They answer telephones, take messages for staff members and handle client requests. They use computers for many aspects of the job, including correspondence, desktop publishing and Internet research.

Clerical secretaries use spreadsheets and databases to efficiently store and present data. They monitor stockroom supplies and replace items as necessary. Clerical secretaries are sometimes responsible for training new office staff, planning company events and making travel arrangements for senior staff.

Operating fax machines, copiers, scanners and videoconferencing equipment is part of a clerical secretary's job. In addition, secretaries bargain with vendors and monitor office equipment use and maintenance.

In some organizations clerical secretaries work together in a secretarial pool, dividing duties by expertise. Greater technical efficiency allows clerical secretaries to provide clerical service to multiple staff members.

Clerical Secretary Requirements

A high school diploma is generally the minimum education requirement for entry-level clerical secretaries. A basic knowledge of office management is required. Many candidates take additional office training at community colleges or technical schools. These programs can take from 1-2 years.

Skills required for clerical secretaries include oral and written communication skills. Good spelling, punctuation and grammar are essential. Required computer skills include word processing, spreadsheet functions and database up-keep. Additionally, many employers require knowledge of desktop publishing and project management. Clerical secretaries must also be able to operate office equipment including fax machines, printers and communication devices.

Clerical secretaries must have good customer service skills to communicate with clients and vendors. Secretaries must show good judgment, adaptability and discretion with staff, clients and co-workers.

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of secretaries and administrative assistants is predicted to increase 3% from 2014-2024. The median annual salary for these workers, including clerical secretaries, was $36,500 in May 2015, per BLS figures.

Although it is possible to begin a career as a secretary with a high school diploma, the 3% growth rate for jobs in this field from 2014-2024 is slower than average when compared to all occupations, and applicants who have postsecondary training may find that they have better job prospects. Vocational schools and community colleges offer programs from 1-2 years in length that prepare students to perform the work of a clerical secretary. Good communication skills are needed, along with organizational skills and knowledge of office technology.

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