Certified Professional Secretary Certification and Schools

The occupational level of a certified professional secretary (CPS) offers unique opportunities for career advancement, encompassing further responsibilities within the workplace than an entry-level position. Read on to learn more, including the training and education requirements to qualify for certification. Schools offering Administrative Assistant degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

Secretaries can choose to seek certification through the International Administration for Administrative Professionals, in order to increase their career options. Certification requirements offer a limited amount of personalization, allowing you to decide the ratio of work to school experience you want to complete in order to qualify. Depending on your decisions, you may need to complete an associate's or bachelor's degree.

Certification Administered by the International Administration for Administrative Professionals
Courses Basic writing and editing, computer programs and software, principles of management, communication skills, accounting and statistics, typing and human resources
Training Work experience or a combination of experience and schooling are required for certification

What is a Certified Professional Secretary?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a certified professional secretary (CPS) is a higher-level secretary who has met the educational, training and examination requirements put forth by the International Administration for Administrative Professionals (IAAP). The CPS credential was created by IAAP in 2001, but has since been updated to reflect all administrative professionals. The designation currently goes by the title of Certified Administrative Professional (CAP), although is sometimes referred to as CPS/CAP (www.iaap-hp.org).

Your role as a CPS/CAP gives you a chance to broaden your responsibilities, as well as the chance of a salary increase. According to the BLS, as a secretary or administrative assistant, you could make anywhere between $23,650 and $62,870 a year in median wages, as of May 2017 (www.bls.gov).

What Training and Education Is Needed?

Usually, you need professional experience behind you to become a CPS/CAP. According to BLS, if you have a high school diploma and can demonstrate office skills and computer work to an employer, you can hypothetically enter an entry-level secretary job and then work for several years to become a CPS.

IAAP certification guidelines vary by experience. Your eligibility for the CPS/CAP exam depends on the relative ratio of time you put in professionally and academically. For example, if you have no college experience, you need at least four years of secretarial experience to take the IAAP certification exam. If you have an associate's degree, you will need to show three years of professional experience. If you have a bachelor's degree, you only need two years of professional experience.

What Schools Offer Certified Professional Secretary Certification?

  • Seminole State College (Sanford, FL)
  • Bryant & Stratton College (Buffalo, NY)
  • Bakersfield College (CA)
  • Merritt College (Oakland, CA)
  • Loyola University Chicago (IL)

What Programs Can Prepare me for Certification?

If you wish to enroll in an associate's or bachelor's degree program for further secretarial advancement, you may want to consider one that focuses on office administration, office skills or even office management. Such programs may teach you:

  • Basic writing and editing
  • Computer programs and software
  • Principles of management
  • Communication skills
  • Accounting and statistics
  • Keyboarding
  • Human resources

What Other Programs Are Available to Me?

If you are interested in earning a bachelor's degree, you might consider enrolling in a program that is tailored towards a specific industry. For example, if you want to work for a law firm, you may want to complete an undergraduate program such as a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in a law-related field of study. Typical bachelor's degrees like a B.A., a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) or a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) are acceptable for secretarial positions in the desired industry and for future certification opportunities (www.bls.gov).

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:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

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