Certified Professional Secretary Requirements and Career Info

Secretaries are administrative professionals responsible for tasks like filing data, writing reports and ordering office supplies. Those seeking a formal credential in the field may pursue a Certified Administrative Professional (CAP) title, which replaced the Certified Professional Secretary (CPS) designation as of November 2011.

View 12 Popular Schools »

Certified Professional Secretary/Certified Administrative Professional Overview

The International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP) began offering the designation of Certified Professional Secretary in the 1950s. Qualified candidates could earn the designation by completing a 2-day, 6-part exam. In 2001, the IAAP began to offer the 4-part Certified Administrative Professional title in addition to the CPS. Both exams tested such areas as organization, records management, human resources and communication skills. Those wishing to upgrade from CPS to CAP only needed to complete the fourth part of the CAP exam.

However, May 2011 was the final month in which the CPS exam was available. After November 2011, all those who hold the CPS title were automatically upgraded to CAPs - without needing to complete any additional testing. Those who already held the CAP designation became CAP-OMs (with an organizational management specialty). The IAAP reports that further subspecialties will become available in the future (www.iaap-hq.org). The CAP exam will also transition and consolidate to become a half-day, 1-part exam covering eight areas - to streamline the overall certification process for secretaries.

Career and Certification Requirements

Certification is not necessary to work as a professional secretary or administrative assistant; however, the IAAP notes that employers tend to recognize credentialed candidates as those willing to go above and beyond in their field. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), entry-level secretaries can find employment with a high school diploma or its equivalent (www.bls.gov). The same source also notes that employers of executive secretaries are increasingly seeking candidates with a college degree. The most important qualifications across the board are often familiarity with relevant computer software, typing ability and office aptitude.

To sit for the CAP exam, a combination of education and experience is necessary. Those with no formal education need at least four years of experience in the field. Those with an associate's degree need only three years of experience, while those with a bachelor's degree need only two years of experience. Specific majors are not delineated by the IAAP, but all potential candidates must send in an application and have their work experience verified.

Career Info for a Secretary or Administrative Professional

Secretaries coordinate and facilitate an office's administrative and clerical needs. This includes organizing, filing and retrieving documents, as well as collecting and distributing relevant information to the team members. They schedule meetings and appointments, make travel reservations and take care of guest or client arrangements. To complete these tasks, they use a variety of office equipment, such as computers, fax machines, telephone systems, scanners and photocopiers.

A secretary should demonstrate interpersonal skills while exhibiting professional behavior and attire. They typically need to be proficient in typing, spelling, grammar and punctuation, and they should have strong computer and communication skills. They should also be extremely organized and capable of taking initiative.

Job Outlook and Salary Information

The BLS projected that employment opportunities for secretaries and administrative assistants in general would rise 12% between 2010 and 2020. The BLS also reported that the median annual salary of secretaries and administrative assistants - except legal, medical, and executive secretaries - was $32,410 as of May 2012. At the time, executive-level secretaries and administrative assistants earned a median yearly wage of $47,500.

Show me popular schools

Related to Certified Professional Secretaries

  • Related
  • Recently Updated
  • Popular
Professional Secretary: Occupational Outlook & Job Profile

Secretaries are administrative personnel who help keep offices running smoothly, organize meetings and perform clerical duties....

Professional Secretary Degree and Certificate Program Information

Learn about Associate in Applied Science in Secretarial Science degree programs. Read on to find out about curriculum,...

Online Certified Professional Secretary Courses and Certification Info

Online Certified Professional Secretary training courses can be found as part of associate's degree programs at community or...

Professional Secretary: Online Diploma

Research online professional secretary (also called administrative assistant) diploma programs. Read about the learning...

Associate of Legal Administration: Secretary Degree Overview

Popular Schools

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    • Eligibility and relevancy of sample programs below will vary by article and program
    School locations:
    • Online Learning
    • Arizona (3 campuses)
    • California (16)
    • Colorado (3)
    • Florida (6)
    • Georgia (5)
    • Illinois (7)
    • Indiana (2)
    • Maryland (1)
    • Michigan (1)
    • Minnesota (1)
    • Missouri (2)
    • North Carolina (2)
    • New Jersey (3)
    • Nevada (1)
    • New York (2)
    • Ohio (4)
    • Oklahoma (1)
    • Oregon (1)
    • Pennsylvania (4)
    • Tennessee (2)
    • Texas (7)
    • Utah (1)
    • Virginia (3)
    • Washington (3)
    • Wisconsin (1)

    Online and Classroom-Based Programs

    What is your classroom preference?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    What is your highest level of education?

  • School locations:
    • Online Learning
    • Alabama (3 campuses)
    • Arkansas (1)
    • Arizona (3)
    • California (14)
    • Colorado (1)
    • Florida (2)
    • Georgia (3)
    • Iowa (1)
    • Illinois (2)
    • Indiana (4)
    • Kansas (1)
    • Kentucky (2)
    • Louisiana (2)
    • Maryland (1)
    • Michigan (6)
    • Minnesota (2)
    • Missouri (4)
    • Mississippi (1)
    • North Carolina (2)
    • Nebraska (1)
    • Nevada (2)
    • Ohio (9)
    • Oklahoma (1)
    • Oregon (2)
    • Tennessee (5)
    • Texas (8)
    • Utah (1)
    • Virginia (5)
    • Washington (3)
    • Wisconsin (3)
    • West Virginia (1)

    Online and Classroom-Based Programs

    • Bachelor
        • Bachelor in Business Administration
    • Associate
        • Associate in Business Management

    What year did you graduate from high school?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    • Currently not accepting applications from Texas residents
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    Online Programs

    Which subject are you interested in?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    Online Programs

    • Bachelor
        • BBA

    What is your highest level of education?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    School locations:
    • Online Learning
    • Florida (1 campus)

    Online and Classroom-Based Programs

    What is your highest level of education?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be 18 years of age or older
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    Distance Learning Programs

    What is your highest level of education?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must complete an application online and submit transcripts for their highest degree earned.
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    Online Programs

    What is your highest level of education?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Undergraduate applicants must be a high school graduate or have completed GED; Graduate program applicants must have a master's degree or higher
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    Online Programs

    • Master
        • MBA
    • Bachelor
        • BBA

    What is your highest level of education completed?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    Online Programs

    • Bachelor
        • Bachelor - International Business Administration
    • Associate

    What is your highest level of education?

Popular Schools

Avg. Wages For Related Jobs

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Copyright