Office secretary training programs are available; however, employers do not usually require applicants to have such training. Vocational training may prove helpful, and certificate programs usually last a few months, which offers a clerical foundation for aspiring office secretaries. Technical skills, which are in demand, can also be learned or improved through specific secretarial training courses or just through individual classes at community colleges. Additional technical training and support might be available online.
High school diploma or GED, experience in secretarial work or customer service, good communication skills, and basic knowledge of different word processing and presentation tools are common prerequisites. One to five years of experience is also desirable and foreign language skills are commonly preferred or required.
Training in Office Secretarial Work
Office secretaries are required to be knowledgeable in Microsoft Word and Excel and may need to know how to use PowerPoint. On-the-job training usually lasts only a few weeks, though more specialized fields could require months of training for the most in-depth nature of the technology and terminology the secretaries must be familiar with. Additionally, office secretaries are often required to have a typing speed of 40 words per minute. Bilingual applicants are often preferred, if not required, in certain regions.
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), jobs for secretaries and administrative assistants are expected to grow 3% from 2014 to 2024, but will vary by occupational specialty. The BLS also reports that the median annual salary for these types of employees is $33,910 in May 2015.
Office secretaries interested in distinguishing themselves can earn voluntary credentials offered by the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP). In order to qualify for either the Certified Professional Secretary or the Certified Administrative Professional designation, applicants must pass a three- or four-part exam and meet minimum training requirements.
The IAAP also offers industry conferences, which last 2-4 days. Office professionals can listen to guest speakers and participate in networking events. Certified office professionals who attend these programs earn continuing education credits to maintain their IAAP credential.
While no formal education is required, training programs can help prepare those interested in becoming office secretaries by honing the necessary technical skills. Voluntary credentials are available from the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP) for those organized individuals who want to stand out.