Secretaries and administrative assistants take care of the various clerical and administrative duties required in running a business, usually in an office setting. Tasks might involve answering phones, replying to emails, sending memos, and other related tasks. In order for a business to run efficiently, each of these tasks must be performed with the utmost speed and accuracy. Administrative assistants usually receive on-the-job training, but it may do well to consider attending a secretary school or program in Illinois.
Most administrative assistants can enter this career at the entry-level with a high school diploma. However, some may consider an associate degree program to better prepare for the job, or increase opportunities to move up later on. Here are a few examples of Illinois schools that may offer business associate degrees, or programs for administrative work.
Secretarial programs will generally involve training in utilizing programs such as word processors, spreadsheets, and database software. Programs such as Microsoft Word and Excel are common in most offices as well as PowerPoint. Training may also include development of a reasonable typing speed.
General skillsets important in a high quality secretary include:
More specific training tasks may include acquiring a knowledge of answering telephones and taking messages, scheduling appointments, arranging meetings, preparing memos, editing documents, handling incoming and outgoing mail and faxes, maintaining databases and filing systems both electronic and paper, performing basic bookkeeping, etc.
The state of Illinois does not require licensing in order to become a secretary. However, earning certification may demonstrate proficiency in the role to employers.
For general secretaries, the International Association of Administrative Professionals offers certification in the field of office administration called the Certified Administrative Professional or CAP. In order to take the qualifying exam, candidates must have a college degree (or equivalent work experience) as well as relevant work experience.
Legal secretaries have a few different certification options. The Accredited Legal Professional or ALP certification is offered by the National Association of Legal Secretaries as long as you have at least 1 year of office experience. The association also offers Professional Legal Secretary certification which is viewed as an even more distinguished certification.
Legal secretaries also have the option of obtaining the Certified Legal Secretary Specialist (CLSS) certification, offered by Legal Secretaries International, though this certification often requires at least 5 years of legal experience in addition to passing an exam.
Source: Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2016-17, National Center for Education Statistics, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/
The map below shows job statistics for the career type by metro area, for Illinois. A table below the map shows job popularity and salaries across the state.
Listed below are metro areas ranked by the popularity of jobs for Secretaries relative to the population of the city. Salary data was obtained from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
2017 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2016-26 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov; O*NET® 23.1 Database, O*NET OnLine, National Center for O*NET Development, Employment & Training Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, onetonline.org
Annual Median Salary