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.
Illinois Secretary Schools
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.
- Black Hawk College: Located in Moline, Black Hawk College offers a wide range of special purpose and community service programs as well as more than 140 career, certificate and transfer programs.
- Carl Sandburg College: In addition to its specialty in continuing ed/adult learning, Carl Sandburg College offers exceptional associate degree level education for students of all ages.
- Danville Area Community College: Serving the community for over 65 years, Danville Area Community College offers education to earn a wide range of career degrees and certificates.
- Heartland Community College: Heartland Community College has a variety of degree programs and areas of study with a focus on small class sizes and personal attention.
- Parkland College: Located in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, Parkland has provided both educational opportunity as well as community enrichment since 1967.
- Southwestern Illinois College: With classes hosted at five different Illinois campuses, Southwestern Illinois College provides an accessible way to earn both certificates and degrees from over 150 different programs.
- Wabash Valley College: Part of a group of four total community colleges to create the Illinois Eastern Community Colleges, Wabash Valley College offers a smooth transition to senior institutions of the area and a variety of degrees.
- Lincoln Land Community College: Recognized as an affordable top quality institution, Lincoln Land Community College is located in Springfield, the capital city of Illinois.
What to Expect from Illinois Secretarial Programs
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:
- Interpersonal skills
- Organizational skills
- Writing skills
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.
Illinois Secretarial License
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.
Resources for Secretaries in Illinois