Certified Professional Secretary Career and Certification

A Certified Professional Secretary is an administrative professional who has earned a professional credential from the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP); however, this designation is being phased out. Learn about the certification options for administrative professionals and find out the employment outlook and average salary for secretaries and administrative assistants. Schools offering Administrative Assistant degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

Certified Professional Secretaries are now Certified Administrative Professionals. To become certified, you will need experience in the field or a combination of experience and education, and to pass an exam. This sector of the economy is set to decrease over the 2016-2016 decade according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Certification Certified Administrative Professional
Career Outlook Expected to decrease 5% from 2016-2026*
Median Salary (2017) $57,410 per year (for executive secretaries and administrative assistants)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Changes are Happening with the Certified Professional Secretary Designation?

As of November 2011, the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP), the organization that grants professional certification for the field, is in the process of eliminating the Certified Professional Secretary (CPS) rating (www.iaap-hq.org). This means that the CPS designation will no longer be recognized, as the IAAP has transitioned to a new base rating for the industry, the Certified Administrative Professional (CAP). All previously certified CPSs will have their ratings changed to the CAP designation.

How Do I Become a CAP?

You must have administrative work experience and pass an examination in order to become a CAP. The IAAP specifies that all work experience must be from the past ten years. The minimum amount of experience required depends on your level of education; to be eligible to take the CAP examination, you must have completed:

  • Four years of administrative experience if you do not have a college degree
  • Three years of experience if you have an associate's degree
  • Two years of experience if you have a bachelor's degree

What Can I Expect from a Career in this Field?

Secretaries and administrative professionals are typically responsible for clerical and organizational tasks, which can include:

  • Answering phones
  • Operating office equipment
  • Maintaining an employer's schedule
  • Organizing events
  • Conducting research

According to the BLS, employment of executive secretaries and executive administrative assistants was expected to decrease by 17% from 2016-2026 as the result of other professionals taking over secretaries' job duties (www.bls.gov). According to the same source, executive administrative assistants and secretaries earned a median annual salary of $57,410 in 2017.

How Will My Career Benefit from the CAP Designation?

The CAP designation signifies to employers that you are a top-level administrative professional who is experienced and competent in the field. Becoming certified will likely help you obtain higher-level positions, like an office manager or an executive secretary. Additionally, improving your professional qualifications will help to increase your salary. You also have the potential to receive college credit for your CAP rating.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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