Business secretaries perform a multitude of clerical and administrative duties. While a high school diploma or GED is normally acceptable for an entry-level position, a bachelor's degree may be required for some positions. Learn more about the educational requirements and job outlook for this occupational field.
Business secretaries work in many environments, from small offices with a few employees to large corporate offices with hundreds of employees. They perform essential tasks for the efficient functioning of businesses. Education requirements vary from a high school diploma or GED to a bachelor's degree, depending on the type of skills necessary for the position. Computer skills and proficiency in spelling and grammar are also needed.
|Required Education||High school diploma or GED for entry-level work; bachelor's degree for some positions|
|Other Requirements||Computer skills|
|Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)*||7% decline for all secretaries and administrative assistants|
|Median Salary (2018)*||$36,630 annually for secretaries and administrative assistants, except legal, medical and executive|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Business Secretary Career Overview
Business secretaries provide a wide array of clerical, support and managerial services to business executives and upper-level managers. Due to the impact of advances in information technology on businesses, most secretaries are expected to have working knowledge of many business computer applications.
Computer technologies have altered the workplace for many business secretaries, changing their tasks from stenography, typing and answering telephones to more managerial responsibilities. In many offices, secretaries are responsible for creating presentations, managing websites and coordinating meetings or conferences. Some secretaries are responsible for human relations management and staff supervision. As business secretaries gain workplace experience and advance their education, they may be promoted into sales, managerial and executive positions.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) forecast a 7% decline in employment for all secretaries and administrative assistants between 2018-2028.
Minimal Education Requirements
Business secretaries need to have at least a high school diploma or a GED. They also should have accurate spelling and grammar skills plus a basic knowledge in computer applications. These basic secretarial skills can be learned in some high school vocational educational programs.
Young adults without high school diplomas may qualify for programs such as Job Corps, where they can earn a GED and develop business secretarial skills in a free residential program. Some school districts and job training programs also offer no or low-cost GED and vocational programs that include business secretarial skills. To qualify for higher-paying positions, additional education is needed.
Standard Education Requirements
Many employers expect business secretaries to have some formal training. Business secretarial programs at vocational schools and community colleges are varied in length, from a few weeks for a course up to two years for an associate's degree.
Basic secretarial training programs less than one year in length typically include coursework such as word processing, spreadsheets, scheduling, databases, English, spelling and writing. Some of these programs prepare students to take the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP) Certified Professional Secretary examination. The IAAP is a non-profit organization for professionals such as business secretaries.
Programs of greater length have curricula that may include coursework such as payroll accounting, business law, sales, advertising, human relations, communications, computer science, business management, project management and desktop publishing. Associate's degree programs include additional coursework in English, mathematics, sciences and social sciences. Graduates of these types of programs are prepared to assume greater professional and managerial responsibilities.
Advanced Education Requirements
Some businesses require secretaries to have bachelor's degrees. Degrees in human relations, business and management are applicable for this career path. Typically curricula may include coursework such as organizational design, team processes, leadership, computer applications and management. Some programs offer internship opportunities for senior students.
Business secretaries fill a vital role in the workplace. They perform a variety of clerical and administrative duties. Entry-level positions are available with a high school diploma or GED, with some positions requiring a bachelor's degree.