How to Become a Secretary | Career Education to Become a Secretary
Secretaries are known by many names, including administrative, executive and virtual assistants, and they can work in business, medical and legal environments. Because job titles vary, the training required to work in each position usually varies as well. This article outlines the steps one might take to become a secretary.
Steps to Becoming a Secretary
Step 1: Take Office Courses in High School
Oftentimes, high school graduates who have taken office courses will qualify for entry-level jobs. These courses are usually taken in vocational programs or general high school classes that teach basic office skills. However, if you didn't take office courses while in high school, fear not; these skills can be obtained from community colleges or vocational schools (for more on that, see Step 4).
Step 2: Graduate from High School or Obtain a GED
Many entry-level secretarial positions require applicants to hold a high school diploma or General Educational Development (GED) credential. Also, because job titles and duties can vary, students may need to seek additional training at a postsecondary institution. Depending upon the institution, a high school diploma or GED may be required to take collegiate-level courses.
Step 3: Determine What Secretarial Position Interests You
Secretarial job titles include administrative assistant, executive assistant, virtual assistant, executive secretary, legal secretary and medical secretary. Individuals should decide what position they want before pursuing training or applying for a job. Since many of these jobs may require training beyond what is learned in high school, students may have to attend college before finding acquiring a position.
Step 4: Pursue a Postsecondary Degree or Certificate
Many community colleges offer 1-year and 2-year programs in office administration. Students take general courses such as office management, report writing, bookkeeping, word processing, desktop publishing and business communication.
Because job titles and duties can vary, the specific type of training needed usually varies as well. Students, therefore, should make sure they take the appropriate courses or enroll in the appropriate degree or certificate program. For example, executive secretaries and assistants study such topics as business law, conferencing and travel management. Medical secretaries must know basic medical terminology; they take courses on transcription, deductibles and health insurance.
Legal secretaries learn fundamental legal terms in a training program, and once employed, they must know how the terms apply to the specific branches of law in which they work. Virtual assistants, in addition to learning basic office skills, also study topics such as website design and computer technology.
Step 5: Find a Secretary Position
Many types of offices hire secretaries, including business offices, medical facilities and law firms. Secretaries can also open their own home-based business working as virtual assistants. Temp agencies are also a great resource when it comes to finding secretarial work. Additionally, these agencies may sometimes provide formal computer and office training.
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