Secretaries and administrative assistants handle the clerical and administrative duties of a business, usually in an office setting. This can involve answering phones, replying to emails, sending memos, and other related tasks. As each of these tasks are necessary in order to run a functioning business, secretaries and administrative assistants are a vital part of any office's employee structure.
California Secretary Schools
There are a number of different ways to prepare for a career as a secretary or administrative assistant. Typically a high school diploma is the minimum, but more recently it's been common for even entry-level workers to earn some type of postsecondary degree or certification. Here are a few examples of California schools that might offer business or admin programs:
- Bakersfield College: Founded in 1913, Bakersfield College is one of the nation's oldest community colleges and serves 20,000 students.
- American River College: American River College is a state-funded community college whose history dates back to 1942 when it was established to train civilians for nations service in WWII.
- Cerritos College: Focusing on delivering high quality education to a diverse student body, Cerritos College ranks second in the state for Mexican-American/Latino student transfers to California State Universities.
- Chaffey College: Set in the vibrant community of Chino, Fontana, Montclair and Rancho Cucamonga, Chaffey has been serving the community and its students since 1883.
- City College of San Francisco: Since 1935, City College of San Francisco has been offering high quality education to the Bay area communities for over 80 years.
- De Anza College: With a combination of 170 certificate and associate degree programs, De Anza College provides multicultural learning and engages students creatively.
- Grossmont College: Drawing a student body primarily from suburban locations in East San Diego County, Grossmont College offers more than 150 certificate and associate degree programs as well as career development and workforce training.
What to Expect from California Secretarial Programs
Secretarial programs will most likely cover training in mastering programs such as word processors, spreadsheets, and database software. Programs like Microsoft Word and Excel are commonly found in most offices as well as PowerPoint, so these might also be topics of training. Coursework could also involve developing a high typing speed.
Secretarial skillsets crucial to the role could include:
- Interpersonal skills
- Organizational skills
- Writing skills
More specific training tasks might cover developing knowledge of handling incoming and outgoing mail and faxes, answering telephones and taking messages, arranging meetings, preparing memos, editing documents, maintaining databases and filing systems both electronic and paper, performing basic bookkeeping, scheduling appointments, etc.
California Secretarial License
The state of California has no mandatory licensing procedures for the secretarial position. However, receiving relevant certification might demonstrate a high level of competence and even expertise in the role to employers.
For general secretaries, the International Association of Administrative Professionals offers certification called the Certified Administrative Professional or CAP specific to the area of office administration. To take the qualifying exam though, candidates must not only have a college degree (or equivalent work experience) but relevant work experience as well.
California specifically has the additional certification of the California Certified Legal Secretary (CCLS) from LSI. Certification is achieved by passing an exam focused on legal procedures, legal terminology, performance skills, reasoning and ethics, law office administration, communication, and legal computations, with previous experience of two years as well as recertification procedures.
The options for legal secretaries regarding certification are more expansive. The National Association of Legal Secretaries offers the Accredited Legal Professional or ALP certification as long as you have at least one year of office experience. The National Association of Legal Secretaries also offers Professional Legal Secretary certification, certification that is even more distinguished from the ALP.
Legal secretaries also have the opportunity to obtain the Certified Legal Secretary Specialist (CLSS) certification which is offered by Legal Secretaries International. This certification however will often require at least 5 years of legal experience in addition to passing an exam.
Resources for Secretaries in California