Business Secretary College and School Program Overviews

Apr 24, 2020

Essential Information

A secretary coordinates administrative aspects of a business and compiles, stores and integrates data into daily operations. Business secretary college and school programs can prepare graduates to take on secretarial responsibilities in business, governmental or industrial arenas. Voluntary certifications such as the Certified Administrative Professional (CAP) and the Certified Professional Secretary (CPS) are available to qualified candidates.

Before beginning a program, students must have a high school diploma or GED; basic knowledge of communications and computers and completion of placement test and developmental courses may be necessary.

Business Secretary Associate's Degree Programs

Students in a business secretary program get a solid foundation in all aspects of business including accounting, marketing and management. Courses usually provide hands-on experience and incorporate live simulations of administrative tasks. In addition to business management knowledge, students might gain technological skills such as database and spreadsheet maintenance. Common classroom activities include transcription, proofreading and spreadsheets. Students also take general education courses and technical training in computers. Courses may include:

  • Accounting
  • Computer concepts
  • Economics
  • Transcription
  • Managerial accounting
  • Business writing

Popular Career Options

Becoming a secretary is not the only career option available for those holding secretarial degrees or certificates. Other options include office assistant, data entry specialist or word processor. Secretaries with experience can become office managers or team leaders in fields like transcription, editing and data entry.

Job Outlook and Salary Information

According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data, secretaries and administrative assistants, except legal, medical, and executive, earned an average salary of $39,180 in May 2019. These professionals could expect to see a 7% decline in job opportunities between 2018 and 2028, according to the BLS.


IAAP (International Association of Administrative Professionals) offers two certifications: Certified Professional Secretary and Certified Administrative Professional. Both certifications require passing an exam which evaluates knowledge of management, administration, office systems and office technology. Many community colleges offer courses to prepare candidates for the certification exam. Students may take courses in management, office administration and office technology and systems.

Through classroom work and hands-on opportunities, students in associate's degree secretarial programs gain the skill set needed to proficiently work in administrative roles. With additional training, job opportunities for more advanced roles may become available to individuals.

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