How Do I Become a School Secretary?

Research what it takes to become a school secretary. Learn about job duties, education requirements and job outlook to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Administrative Assistant degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a School Secretary?

School secretaries work in the main offices of elementary schools, middle schools and high schools. They provide support services for students, parents, teachers and administrators to keep the school running smoothly. For instance, they are often responsible for keeping track of student records and course schedules, and they may distribute information about sports events and school bus routes. School secretaries also respond to inquiries about school operations, either over the phone, in-person or via email.

Look over the table below to get an overview of this career and see if it is a good fit for you.

Degree Required High school diploma or equivalent
Key Responsibilities Answer calls, sign in visitors, schedule appointments and data entry
Job Growth (2012-2022) 3% (for all secretaries and administrative assistants, except legal, medical and executive)*
Median Salary (2015) $33,910 (for all secretaries and administrative assistants, except legal, medical and executive)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Are the Job Duties of a School Secretary?

School secretaries are often the first point of contact when parents or other visitors come to a school's main office. As a secretary, you will sign in visitors, answer their questions and direct them to where they need to go. You'll answer phones, schedule appointments and order supplies for teachers and administrators. Entering data into computers, creating reports with computer software programs, filing school records and helping students register are additional job duties you may perform. School secretaries usually report to a principal in an elementary or secondary institution and work for a dean or other administrator at a college or vocational school.

What Education and Training Do I Need?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, most employers are seeking applicants with a high-school diploma and some general office skills such as typing, computer proficiency and the ability to communicate effectively (www.bls.gov). If you are lacking in these skills, you may choose to attend classes at a vocational or business school or a community college. Many schools offer a secretary or office assistant certificate. These certificate programs usually take 2-3 semesters to complete and sometimes offer courses online. Class instruction focuses on the use of various computer applications, interpersonal communications, business writing skills and basic management practices.

The International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP) offers the Certified Administrative Professional (CAP) certification to professionals who want more opportunities for career growth (www.iaap-hq.org). If you do not have a degree, you must have at least four years of related work experience to qualify for the certification. You must also pass an exam that includes such topics as record management, document preparation, communication and organization methods.

Additional Skills and Knowledge

You will use office technology, including multi-line phone systems, copiers, scanners, computers and fax machines, on a daily basis. Knowledge regarding proper use will be gained from work experience and formal training. As a school secretary, you must also be able to maintain confidentiality and effectively utilize time management and organizational skills.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Secretarial jobs are available in non-school settings. For instance, medical secretaries work in healthcare facilities. In addition to basic office skills training, these secretaries may also need to take courses in medical terminology and/or medical coding before they can get a job. Similarly, legal secretaries often need to gain familiarity with legal jargon and procedures. It is also possible to find an office job at a commercial business, corporate headquarters or nonprofit organization.

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