What Is a Certified Public Secretary?

Communication, organization, and support are the common traits for an administrative professional, such as a public secretary. Whether you have formal education or work experience, obtaining these skills are essential to working in this field. To further gain recognition, public secretaries and other types of administrative professionals can become certified. To learn more about this career field, read on. Schools offering Administrative Assistant degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Overview

A certified public secretary uses their skills and knowledge to earn special certification through a professional organization. Often known as certified professional secretaries in the U.S., these office professionals maintain organization within a business. They are employed as assistants to executives, managers, or other mid- or senior-level individuals. Administrative professionals possess a skill set that includes a working knowledge in business office software, such as spreadsheets, presentations, and documents; managing schedules; transferring phone calls; and running errands. Additionally, they may do basic accounting tasks.

Administrative professionals must have excellent communication skills, because they are frequently the first line of contact between a client and an executive. You'll often find that some administrative professionals are specialized in a particular industry, such as law or medicine, and might hold additional skills or knowledge relative to that industry. Professional credentials are available, such as a certified public secretary designation.

Important Facts About This Occupation

Similar Occupations Information Clerk, General Office Clerk, Court Reporter, Paralegal/Legal Assistant
Work Environment Office setting, full time
Key Skills Interpersonal, organizational, and writing skills
On-the-Job Training Required typically for the first couple weeks

Source: United States Bureau of Labor Statistics

Certification Designation

Secretarial professionals have the opportunity to pursue a professional designation with the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP). The IAAP offers the Certified Professional Secretary (CPS) designation. Taking the test requires a minimum number of years of work experience and education. The IAAP requires recertification every five years to maintain the credential. Recertification requires completing continuing professional training. Gaining this designation verifies your professional skill sets.

Education Requirements

Working as an administrative professional requires a minimum of a high school diploma. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov), it's becoming more commonplace for employers to require some postsecondary education, likely in the form of either a certificate or associate's degree. Administrative assistant certificate and degree programs are available. These programs introduce you to keyboarding and computer skills, common business software, basic accounting practices, office procedures, and communications.

Employment Outlook

According to the BLS, all administrative assistants and secretaries are projected to see a 12% increase in employment opportunities in 2012-2022. The largest growing field of secretaries is medical secretaries at 36%; however, legal secretaries will see a decline of three percent in employment opportunities.

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