What Is the Average Salary of a Secretary?

Secretaries, also known as administrative assistants, are responsible for carrying out a company's clerical tasks, such as answering phone calls, scheduling appointments and cataloging office records. Salary can vary depending on field and experience. Keep reading to learn more about the average salaries of different types of secretaries. Schools offering Administrative Assistant degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Secretary Salary Overview

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), secretaries and administrative assistants earned a mean annual salary of $34,500 as of May 2014 (www.bls.gov). The middle 50% of secretaries earned between $26,180 and $41,710 annually, while the highest-paid ten percent received $50,320 per year.

These estimates exclude the salaries of legal, medical and executive secretaries, which can differ considerably from the wages of general secretaries. If you choose to become one of these specialized types of secretaries, you'll perform more advanced work that requires a detailed grasp of particular procedures and terminologies related to law, medicine or business.

Important Facts About This Occupation

Required Education High school diploma or GED; executive secretaries may be required to have college credit or a bachelor's degree
On-the-Job Training Ranges from several weeks to several months
Professional Certification Voluntary certification offered by the International Association of Administrative Professionals; legal secretaries have a few options offered by NALS and the Legal Secretaries International
Key Skills Organizational, interpersonal, and writing skills; integrity
Work Environment Office setting
Similar Occupations Court reporter, information clerk, medical transcriptionist, receptionist

Legal Secretaries

Legal secretaries organize legal reports, articles and research under the guidance of a lawyer or paralegal. As a legal secretary, you'll train new lawyers in proper documentation and filing methods. According to the BLS, legal secretaries earned a mean yearly salary of $45,670 as of May 2014. The middle half of legal secretaries earned between $32,970 and $56,770, whereas the top ten percent made $70,950 per year.

The BLS stated that the vast majority of legal secretaries were employed in the legal services industry and made a mean salary of $45,920 per year as of May 2014. Legal secretaries working in the District of Columbia earned the highest salaries of any state, with an annual mean wage of $71,660.

Medical Secretaries

Medical secretaries post medical billings, organize patient records, send out for medical instruments and set up physicians' meetings. The mean annual income of a medical secretary was $33,530 as of May 2014, according to the BLS. The middle 50% earned between $26,580 and $38,600, whereas the top ten percent earned $47,300 per year.

The majority of medical secretaries worked at physicians' offices, hospitals and dentists' offices. The highest-paying employers of medical secretaries were junior colleges, which offered professionals a mean annual income of $40,980 as of May 2014. Medical secretaries working in Washington earned more than those employed in any other state, with a mean yearly salary of $40,700. New Jersey was a close second, paying an average of $39,850 per year.

Executive Secretaries

An executive secretary position involves assisting executives or high-ranking officials within organizations or companies. Secretaries usually focus on managerial tasks, such as preparing executives for meetings and interpreting client reports. Executive secretaries and executive administrative assistants earned a mean annual income of $53,590 as of May 2014, while the middle half of these professionals made between $40,650 and $64,480 per year. The top ten percent of earners in this field made $77,150 or more annually.

Executive secretaries are also employed at colleges, schools, local and state governments, and other enterprises. As of 2014, beer, wine, and liquor stores was the highest paying industry for executive secretaries, with an average annual wage of $72,830. Executive secretaries working in New York earned more than those employed in any other state, with a mean annual wage of $66,910 in 2014.

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