Executive secretaries may be required to have professional certification. Most employers prefer applicants with an associate's or bachelor's degree. Executive secretaries perform administrative and clerical tasks and may oversee office staff.
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Education requirements for executive secretaries vary, though an increasing number of professionals possess college degrees. Completion of some college courses or a bachelor's degree is preferred by employers. Some executive secretaries also earn professional certifications. Short-term on-the-job training is typical for this profession, since executive secretaries provide administrative assistance to corporate executives in a variety of industries.
|Required Education||College courses; associate's or bachelor's preferred|
|Other Requirements||Training and professional certification required by some employers|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||3% for secretaries and administrative assistants|
|Median Salary (2015)*||$53,370 annually for executive secretaries and executive administrative assistants|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Executive secretaries obtain training through both experience and education. Skills learned through on-the-job training include bookkeeping, operating office technology and the use of data information systems. Students looking to enhance their job skills through education may consider an administrative assistant associate's degree program. Courses in these programs cover topics in records organization, corporate communications and human resource management. Executive secretaries must also be competent in transcription and keyboarding.
Individuals seeking executive secretary jobs with top-level executives often have business degrees in finance, accounting and marketing. However, a degree related to a specific industry can also assist executive secretaries in obtaining a position. Executive secretaries employed in law firms and attorney's offices might require specialized training in the proper handling of legal documents.
Various levels of professional certification are available to individuals interested in pursuing executive secretary careers. The Certified Professional Secretary (CPS) and the Certified Administrative Professional (CAP) credentials are common certifications administered by the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP), which guarantee a minimum skill and education level among holders. Depending on an individual's educational background, a few years of professional experience might be required before qualifying for a CPS or CAP certification. Students who receive passing scores on the CPS and CAP tests may earn college credit at some institutions.
Becoming a CPS requires candidates to pass a three-part examination covering management, office technology and office administration. The CAP is a more advanced qualification, requiring an additional section of testing on organizational management. Every five years, individuals with the CPS or the CAP credential must recertify by paying a processing fee and completing a minimum number of continuing education courses in approved fields, such as technology, business law and management. Recertification may also include classes in workplace violence, personal finance and team skills.
The job growth for executive secretaries is expected to be slower than average when compared to all occupations from 2014-2024. Applicants who have completed an associate's degree and have experience performing administrative tasks, are organized, and have strong written and verbal communication skills are ideal candidates for a career as an executive secretary.