What Are the Different Types of Secretaries?

Secretaries help keep offices organized and running smoothly. Read on to find out about several different types of secretaries and the duties they perform. Schools offering Administrative Assistant degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

General Career Information for Secretaries

Secretarial careers exist in settings like corporate offices, government agencies and schools, either on site or remotely in the role of virtual assistant. In these positions, you perform basic clerical duties, such as running office equipment, organizing files and filing systems, creating and maintaining correspondence, answering telephones and performing other duties delegated by your boss. The International Association of Administrative Professionals, the organization that awards the Certified Administrative Professional credential, advises secretaries that job responsibilities may also include reconciling financial accounts and statements, general human resources functions and troubleshooting office equipment (www.iaap-hq.org).

There were 2,207,220 people working as secretaries in non-legal, medical or executive positions in May 2014, and they earned an average yearly salary of $33,240, reported the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Entry-level secretaries typically have at least a high school diploma, although some pursue certificates or associate's degrees and others, like medical or legal secretaries, may obtain specialized training.

Important Facts About Secretaries

Job Outlook (2014-2024) 3%
Key Skills Integrity, organizational skills, writing skills
Work Environment Schools, hospitals, government, medical and legal offices
Similar Occupations Bookkeeping, court reporter, information clerk

Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics

Types of Secretaries

Legal Secretaries

As a legal secretary, you're in charge of the clerical and administrative functions in a lawyer's office and usually work under the supervision of a lawyer or paralegal. Your duties may include taking subpoenas, appeals and other legal documents authored by the attorney you work for and getting them ready for final presentation to the court or clients. You may also provide research assistance, such as checking facts and citations in legal documents. Knowledge of accounting functions, legal ethics and legal terms is also generally necessary, and you may earn the Accredited Legal Secretary certification through NALS, Inc. The BLS reported that there were 212,910 people employed as legal secretaries in May 2014, earning an average salary of $42,770 per year (www.bls.gov).

Medical Secretaries

Medical secretaries work in clinics, hospitals and private doctors' offices. They are responsible for duties such as setting up appointments with patients, filling out medical forms and billing insurance companies or patients for services rendered. You may also collect and organize medical records, both physical and electronic, for use by doctors and physicians. To become a medical secretary, you typically need to have a comprehensive understanding of medical terminology. In May 2014, the BLS reported that there were 516,050 people employed as medical secretaries, and they earned an average annual salary of $32,240 (www.bls.gov).

Executive Secretaries

Executive secretaries, also known as executive administrative assistants, provide advanced clerical and office support to company executives. You may be expected to organize conference calls and meetings; assess and distribute incoming correspondence, meeting minutes and related documents; perform research; write reports and oversee the work of lower-level secretaries. You may need to earn a postsecondary degree to become an executive secretary. According to the BLS, there were 713,730 people employed as executive secretaries and executive administrative assistants in May 2014. These individuals earned an average annual salary of $51,270 at that time (www.bls.gov).

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