All You Need To Know About A Secretary Career
You think about becoming a secretary but are still not entirely sure whether this would be the right career for you or not yet?
Great! Stick with me since I will show you everything you need to know about working as a secretary in the following chapters.
Not only will you learn how much you can make as a secretary, but we will also talk about work-life balance, job satisfaction, prospects, future outlook, educational requirements, duties and much more.
You will also find an FAQ section at the end of this article where I answer the most common questions about being a secretary for you.
After reading this article, you will have a much better idea of whether you still want to become a secretary or rather want to go for a job in a different field instead.
Table of Contents
What does a Secretary do?
Secretaries answer the phone, call back clients, schedule appointments and do everything to make the lives of their boss easier so that their boss can focus on demanding tasks and can get things done without being disturbed by many minor issues that may be quite distracting in the long run.
Responsibilities & Duties of a Secretary
- Answering phone calls
- Directing phone calls
- Scheduling appointments
- Printing presentations
- Mailing letters to clients
- Doing some minor paperwork
- Making sure that the office looks nice
- Ordering office supplies
- Coordinating with other departments
- Scheduling video calls and conferences
- Welcoming business clients
What a Typical Day of a Secretary looks like?
Secretaries usually get to work between 8 and 10 a.m.
The first thing they do when they get to the office is to check their emails and answering the most important ones.
After doing some organizational work and talking to their boss, secretaries answer the phone, schedule appointments and do many minor things so that their boss is not disturbed and distracted by those things but can use his or her full power for doing things that provide more value to the company.
Apart from doing office work, secretaries also welcome many clients in person and make sure that clients get everything they need to feel welcome and comfortable.
After working in this administrative style for many hours, secretaries usually finish their workday between 4 and 6 p.m.
Secretary Salary 2023
Secretary salary brackets 2023
|Salary (per year)
|Salary (per hour)
|Top 10 %
|Top 25 %
|$42,000 – $46,000
|$20.92 – $22.93
|Bottom 25 %
|$27,000 – $31,000
|$13.48 – $15.41
|Bottom 10 %
|$19,000 – $22,000
|$9.44 – $10.89
|$19,000 – $58,000
|$9.44 – $28.95
Secretary salary 2023 by expert level
|Level of Experience
|Salary (per year)
|Salary (per hour)
|$19,000 – $27,000
|$9.44 – $13.45
|$25,000 – $33,000
|$12.47 – $16.39
|$31,000 – $38,000
|$15.43 – $18.88
|$36,000 – $42,000
|$17.96 – $20.92
|$40,000 – $49,000
|$19.92 – $24.47
|$47,000 – $58,000
|$23.48 – $28.95
Secretary salary by state 2023 (average)
|Salary (per year)
|Salary (per hour)
|District of Columbia
Job Security of Secretaries
Secretaries have pretty poor job security since barriers to entry to work in this field are pretty low and almost everyone can do this job.
Consequently, many secretaries have to worry about losing their jobs on a regular basis and always have a strange feeling when they show you at work since they fear getting bad news in this regard.
Future Outlook of Secretaries
Since many tasks secretaries do right now will be replaced by intelligent technologies and machines in the near future, the future outlook for secretaries is pretty poor and many jobs will be lost in this industry due to automation processes.
Working Hours of Secretaries
Most secretaries get to work between 8 and 10 a.m. and finish their workday between 4 and 6 p.m.
Thus, secretaries have more than enough leisure to meet up with their favorite people after work or to spend on their favorite hobbies while investment bankers and many other people who work in demanding office jobs often have to work long hours every day and don’t have the opportunity to spend lots of time with their loved ones.
Job Satisfaction of Secretaries
Most secretaries are not fully happy with their jobs.
Even though they have lots of leisure and also don’t have to work in a stressful manner, secretaries still have to deal with lots of insecurity related to their jobs and also don’t make good money at all.
Promotion Opportunities of Secretaries
Promotion opportunities for secretaries are almost non-existent since you will just do the same things over and over again and will not get any additional responsibilities for many years or even decades.
Career Levels of Secretaries
- Secretary intern
- Junior secretary
- Senior secretary
- Secretary managing other secretaries
Fields and Types of Secretaries
- Secretaries in the public sector
- Secretaries in the corporate world
- Secretaries in the production sector
- Secretaries in the financial sector
- Secretaries in the research field
- Secretary also doing technical tasks
- Secretary focused on preparing client meetings
- Secretary specialized in answering phone calls
- Part-time secretary
- Full-time secretary
Educational Requirements for Secretaries
Educational requirements for working as a secretary are pretty low.
You don’t need to get a fancy degree and finishing high school will be enough to start your career as a secretary.
Thus, you don’t need to spend lots of time and money on education as many other people have to do to get their dream jobs.
How to become a Secretary
- Inform yourself about the advantages and disadvantages of being a secretary
- Apply for an internship as a secretary
- Make a good impression during your secretary internship
- Stay in touch with your boss and your colleagues
- Get your high school diploma with decent grades
- Appy for secretary jobs in your region
- Master the job interview
- Choose your favorite job offer
- Sign your labor contract
Character Traits you need as a Secretary
- You should be client-focused
- You should be a good listener
- Empathy for your boss
- Empathy for clients who have a bad day
- Patience helps you get things done in the long run
- Persistence helps you stay motivated as a secretary
- Ability to deal with snarky comments in a healthy manner
- Ability to deal with critical feedback
- You should be friendly and outgoing
Hard Skills for Secretaries
- Good knowledge of how to manage an office
- You should know how to work with a computer in an efficient manner
- Knowledge of office software programs
- Negotiation skills are a plus
- You should be good at getting into the heads of people
- Expertise in doing phone calls in a friendly manner
- Math skills help you do minor calculations
- Bookkeeping skills help as well
- Knowledge of rules and regulations related to secretary tasks
Soft Skills for Secretaries
- Good time management skills are crucial for getting things done in time
- Good communications skills help you lead phone calls in the right direction
- Empathy for people who have a bad day
- Attention to detail helps you stand out from the crowd
- You need to develop an inner connection with your boss
- Organization skills help as well
- You should be flexible in case something unexpected happens in the office
- Teamworking skills may help as well
- Discretion is crucial to stay in the game in the long run
Exit Options for Secretaries
Secretaries have pretty poor exit options.
While they can also often work as information clerks, call center agents or virtual assistants, they often have a hard time finding a job in a different field due to a lack of hard skills.
Secretary – Similar Careers
- Virtual assistant
- Information clerk
- Office clerk
- Call center agent
- HR manager
- Office administrator
Secretary Career FAQs
Is working as a secretary physically demanding?
Being a secretary is not physically demanding.
Even though you might have to carry some folders from A to B, you will still not have to lift heavy stuff all day long as construction workers, roofers and other craftsmen often have to do during their workday.
Is working as a secretary mentally demanding?
Working as a secretary is not heavily mentally or emotionally demanding.
Is it dangerous to work as a secretary?
Being a secretary is not dangerous at all since you will work in a pretty safe office environment and your risk of suffering from serious accidents at work will be pretty low compared to people like welders or garbage collectors who often have to work with heavy machines or police officers who have to risk their lives on a regular basis.
How long do secretaries stay in their jobs?
Secretaries often stay in their jobs for quite a long time since they are pretty specialized and often lack the skills needed to work in different fields.
Consequently, even though many secretaries are not really happy with their jobs, they still continue to work in their positions due to a lack of alternatives.
Is it easy for secretaries to find a new job?
Since many tasks secretaries currently do will be done by intelligent machines in the near future, many secretaries will lose their jobs sooner or later and it may be pretty hard for you to find a new job in this field just a few years from now.
Is it hard to switch from being a secretary to another field of work?
Since secretaries are pretty specialized and often don’t learn many skills needed in the job market right now, they often get trapped in the secretary industry unless they get lots of additional education so that they are able to find a job in a different field.
Do secretaries have a high social status?
Secretaries have a pretty low social standing and are often belittled by the general public.
Some people may even make fun of you and you should therefore have a strong mindset so that you can deal with snarky comments of others in an emotionally healthy manner.
Can you help out your family and friends as a secretary?
Since you will not learn many important hard skills as a secretary, it will also be hard for you to provide value to your loved ones.
For instance, while carpenters or plumbers can fix and install many things around the home and financial analysts can advise their family and friends on how to invest money in a proper manner, you as a secretary will not learn to do any of those things.
Can secretaries work remotely?
Secretaries are often not able to work remotely since they often have to welcome clients in person and also have to make sure that the office looks tidy and welcoming.
Thus, secretaries often have to spend lots of time and money commuting to work and back while many other people like compliance officers can often work from home and don’t have to worry about those things.
Is it easy to find a partner as a secretary?
Since secretaries make pretty poor money and also have to deal with lots of insecurity related to their jobs, they are not considered good providers and will have a much harder time in the dating market when it comes to finding someone for a long-term relationship compared to dentists or judges who are able to make much more and also have much safer jobs.
Do secretaries have to work on weekends?
Secretaries don’t have to work on weekends and can rather spend those days on weekend trips with their loved ones or on their favorite hobbies.
Do secretaries have to work on holidays?
Secretaries also don’t have to work on national holidays.
Instead, they can use those days to relax while many other people like waiters or train drivers often have to work during those days.
Do secretaries have to work at nighttime?
Secretaries barely have to work in the late evening or at nighttime.
Instead, they often work in a classical 9 to 5 job and come home from work relatively early.
Do you have to travel as a secretary?
There is no need to travel for secretaries apart from commuting to your office and back.
Thus, you will be able to spend your leisure with your family at home while consultants and many other people will be away for business trips quite often.
Are secretary pensions good?
Due to their low salaries, secretaries also receive pretty poor pensions since they are not able to save and invest enough money during their active careers.
Consequently, many secretaries get into serious financial trouble once they retire since they are no longer able to pay their bills.
Are secretary salaries going up?
Secretary salaries have not been going up significantly over the past years and this trend will likely continue in the near future since many tasks will be done by machines just a few years from now and the demand for secretary work will decrease, which may also translate into decreasing or stagnating wages.
Can you have a positive impact on society as a secretary?
Since you will mainly focus on making your boss happy, you will not have a big positive social impact as a secretary compared to teachers or other people who can really shape the thought process of many people on a daily basis and therefore make the world a better place in the long run.
How long does it take to become a secretary?
Since you don’t have to get a degree for working as a secretary, you can start your secretary career right after finishing high school and can start making money at a rather young age.
Is it difficult to become a secretary?
Due to the low educational requirements to be able to work in this field, it is not difficult to become a secretary.
Instead, almost everyone can work in this field.
Do you need to be smart to work as a secretary?
You don’t need to be smart to succeed as a secretary.
However, you should still have high emotional intelligence and should be client-focused so that you can support your boss in the best possible manner.
Do secretaries have a good work-life balance?
Secretaries have decent work-life balance since they don’t have to work on weekends and holidays and also come home from work relatively early which gives them the opportunity to spend lots of time with their loved ones.
Do secretaries have to work many extra hours?
Secretaries don’t have to work many extra hours.
Instead, they have a pretty rigid schedule and once their shift is over, secretaries often just leave their workplace and get back to work the next morning.
How to maximize your chances of becoming a secretary?
The more experience you get as a secretary at a rather young age, the more value you can bring to the table and the easier it will be for you to find a job as a secretary.
Thus, you may want to do some secretary work at a friend’s business to get some experience in this field before officially applying for jobs as a secretary.
Can secretaries work part-time?
Secretaries are able to work part-time as well as full-time.
However, most secretaries make a pretty poor hourly wage and therefore have to work full-time so that they are able to pay their bills.
Do secretaries work indoors or outdoors?
Secretaries work indoors and don’t have to worry about adverse weather conditions outdoors as gardeners and many other people often have to do on a regular basis.
What does the workplace of a secretary look like?
Secretaries work in a classical office environment and you will work with a computer all day long.
You will also schedule many appointments and answer calls and it is therefore crucial that you are friendly and outgoing so that clients and your boss are happy with your work in the long run.
Do you have to look good for working as a secretary?
While you don’t necessarily have to look good, your looks may still help you succeed as a secretary in the long run since most bosses want to employ attractive secretaries even though they might not admit it.
Is a secretary career beneficial for your private life?
Since secretaries make pretty poor money and always have to worry about losing their jobs, being a secretary can be pretty detrimental for your private life since you will have a hard time planning your future and your partner may also start cheating on you sooner or later to find a better deal.
Do you need a college degree for becoming a secretary?
You don’t need a degree for working as a secretary.
Instead, finishing high school will be enough most of the time and while many of your friends will spend many years and lots of money on college education, you can become a secretary at almost no cost.
Do you need to be certified to work as a secretary?
You don’t need to get any fancy certificates as a secretary.
What’s much more important than looking good on paper is that you are client-focused and also know how to communicate with people in a way so that they trust you in the long run.
How much does it cost to become a secretary?
Since you don’t have to get fancy education, you also don’t have to spend lots of money on tuition or other expenses related to college for becoming a secretary.
Instead, you can even start making money at a rather young age.
Is being a secretary a good career?
Working as a secretary is not considered a good career by the majority of the general public since secretaries are not able to make good money and are also replaceable pretty easily.
Is it easy to start your own business as a secretary?
It is pretty hard to start your own business as a secretary since you will often lack many business skills needed to operate a company in a successful manner and you will also often lack the money to make important investments upfront.
Can secretaries teach themselves?
Secretaries are able to teach themselves most things they need to succeed in their jobs.
For instance, you can learn how to work with a computer on your own and how to make phone calls in a proper manner without having to pay for fancy education in this regard.
Do secretaries make good money?
Secretaries make pretty poor money and many of them are barely able to make a living from what they are doing and are not able to afford any luxury.
Is it ever too late to become a secretary?
Since you don’t need to get fancy education and also don’t have to work in a heavy physical manner, you can become a secretary at almost any age as long as you are friendly and client-oriented and know what’s needed in the corporate world.
Do secretaries have to quit their careers early?
Since secretaries don’t have to work in a heavy physical manner, their risk of suffering from serious health problems related to their jobs will be rather low and most secretaries are therefore able to work until they reach official retirement age and don’t have to quit their careers early.
What is the hardest thing about working as a secretary?
The hardest part about being a secretary is that you always have to make clients happy and many clients will also be in a pretty bad mood and may turn you into a scapegoat for their problems.
Can you provide for your family by working as a secretary?
Due to the poor money you will make as a secretary, it will almost be impossible for your to provide for your family.
Consequently, your partner may have to work as well and may not be able to stay at home to care for the kids.
Will secretaries suffer from old-age poverty?
Due to the pretty poor pensions secretaries usually get, they are at serious risk of old-age poverty and may no longer be able to pay their bills once they get older and retire.
Can secretaries retire early?
Secretaries are usually not able to retire early since they don’t make enough during their active careers and therefore have to work until official retirement age and sometimes even longer.
Do secretaries get a fixed or variable salary?
Secretaries get a fixed salary most of the time and therefore don’t have to worry about income swings as car dealers who often work commission-based have to do on a regular basis.
Can you get rich as a secretary?
It is impossible to get wealthy or even rich as a secretary since you will just not make enough money from what you are doing.
Thus, if you want to make good money, you should become a risk manager or work in other positions in the financial or medical industry.
Do secretaries need a second job?
Many secretaries are not even able to make a basic living from what they are doing and need to work a second job to be able to pay their bills.
Do you get continuous training as a secretary?
You don’t get continuous training as a secretary and it will be on you to hone your craft and to get really good at what you are doing so that you can provide enough value to your boss to keep your job in the long run.
Do you get sick pay as a secretary?
Secretaries often don’t get paid in case they don’t get to work.
Thus, in case you get sick, you might no longer receive an income and should therefore have an emergency fund that you can use during times you get sick so that you are still able to pay your bills.
Do secretaries have a high level of responsibility?
Secretaries don’t have a high level of responsibility since they will mainly do minor tasks and will not have a significant impact on the success or failure of projects, even though proper communication is still important to provide the best possible services.
Can secretaries work abroad?
Secretaries are able to work all over the world.
However, you also need excellent knowledge of the local language and working conditions and salaries are also often quite different from what you are used to at home.
Is it stressful to work as a secretary?
Working as a secretary is not stressful most of the time.
Even though you might have to deal with difficult clients, you will have a rather relaxed workday and will not have to deal with serious time pressure as many other people have to do on a regular basis.
Is it boring to work as a secretary?
Being a secretary can become boring if you are not passionate about doing administrative stuff.
In such a case, you may get really unmotivated with what you are doing in the long run.
Is being a secretary hard?
Working as a secretary is not that hard from a mental as well as from a physical perspective since you don’t have to stress your brain that much and you will also don’t have to lift heavy stuff compared to many craftsmen out there.
Are secretaries at risk of burnout?
Since secretaries often have a rather relaxed time at work, they are also not at great risk of suffering from burnout or other mental problems related to their jobs.
Is there a dress code for secretaries?
Since secretaries work in classical office environments, they often dress pretty conservatively and are not able to wear what they feel most comfortable with.
What kind of secretaries are paid the most?
The more responsibilities you get as a secretary, the more money you are able to make from your job.
However, you will still not make pretty good money as a secretary and will often barely be able to pay your bills.
What percentage of secretaries are women?
While around 84% of all secretaries are women, only 16% are men.
Thus, the secretary industry is greatly dominated by women and this will likely also be the case in the future since women are naturally more attracted to this job than men.
Do I need a mentor to succeed as a secretary?
You don’t need a mentor to succeed as a secretary.
What’s much more important is that you have great people skills and that you also know how to handle emotional discussions in a proper manner.
Do secretaries have a high life expectancy?
Secretaries have pretty decent life expectancy since they work in a pretty safe environment and are not at great risk of suffering from accidents at work.
Do secretaries suffer from sleeping problems?
Most secretaries don’t suffer from sleeping problems related to their jobs since they come home from work pretty early and are able to maintain a steady sleeping pattern.
What states are best for working as a secretary?
Since secretaries make pretty poor money across states, you should choose a region where living costs are as low as possible so that you can make enough money as a secretary to pay your bills and don’t need to work a second job.
Who do secretaries work with?
Secretaries work with many different people and have to answer the calls of many clients.
Thus, it is crucial that you are friendly and trustworthy so that clients are happy to communicate with you.
Is working as a secretary cool?
Being a secretary is not considered cool by the majority of the general public and many people will belittle or even make fun of your career choice.
Can you start a side hustle as a secretary?
Since secretaries don’t learn many valuable skills at work, they also have a hard time starting a side hustle unless they get lots of additional education.
Do you have to be creative as a secretary?
You don’t need to be creative as a secretary since you will do the same things over and over again and will develop a certain routine pretty soon.
Do secretaries suffer from being overweight?
Secretaries often don’t suffer from being overweight since they want to stay attractive to improve their chances in the job market and therefore work out a lot to stay fit.
How employable are secretaries?
Since many duties secretaries currently do will be done by intelligent machines just a few years from now, the demand for secretaries will drop significantly and secretaries will no longer be that employable anymore.
Are secretaries happy with their jobs?
Most secretaries are not really happy with their jobs since they have to work in a low-wage environment and are barely able to make a living from what they are doing.
Is working as a secretary exciting?
Working as a secretary is not exciting since you will just do the same things over and over again and will also develop a certain routine pretty quickly.
Can you have a positive impact on our environment as a secretary?
Since secretaries mainly care about making clients and their boss happy, they don’t have the power to make the world a better place from an environmental standpoint.
What are the pros and cons of working as a secretary?
If you still want to become a secretary, you should also have a look at additional pros and cons of a secretary career.
Interviews and own research.
About the author
My name is Andreas and my mission is to educate people about the different career paths that are possible in our current state of the world. In my opinion, people often make the mistake to choose their profession solely based on how much money they can earn from it instead of doing what makes them really happy.
This is quite sad and I just want to give people a more objective picture of how a fulfilling career could look like. I did the same when I started working in consulting after finishing my Master’s degree in Economics. However, I’ve quit pretty soon after that since I haven’t found true meaning in my job.
Now I can do what I really love to do and I want to enable as many other people as well to go this exciting path towards happiness instead of money.
I conducted various interviews with employees to give you a good impression of what working in different fields will look like and that you can make the best possible decision regarding your future career choice.
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