Professional Secretary Job Duties, Salary Info and Career Options

Professional secretaries ensure that office operations run smoothly and efficiently. On a typical day, a professional secretary may schedule meetings, organize files and manage databases. Professional secretaries can work in many environments, including school and corporate offices.

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Job Duties of Professional Secretaries

Professional secretaries, also known as administrative assistants or executive assistants, assist executives, administrators and other office workers. They have both information management and clerical duties. Specific job tasks include maintaining databases, composing correspondence and organizing meetings and conference calls.

Professional secretaries may work in a specific industry. For example, medical secretaries perform medical transcription, manage patient files, compose correspondence and assist in writing medical reports. Legal secretaries prepare subpoenas, motions, appeals and other legal documents. Legal secretaries are often supervised by lawyers and paralegals.

Salary Information

Most positions for professional secretaries are hourly rather than salaried. However, full-time professional secretaries usually receive benefits and leave. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, professional secretaries made anywhere from less than $27,030 to more than $62,070 annually in 2008. According to, legal secretaries earned between $30,011 and $60,766 in 2010. Medical secretaries earned between $15,000 and $42,989 annually. Professional secretaries who are certified, earn between $34,817 and $54,104 annually. Certification is offered through the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP), the International Virtual Assistants Association (IVAA) and other organizations.

Career Options

Professional secretaries often find employment in corporate offices, schools, hospitals, government agencies, legal offices and home offices. Professional secretaries who offer freelance secretarial services from a home office are called virtual assistants.

Professional secretaries with advanced training or certification can become office managers, senior executive assistants or senior administrative assistants. With additional training, medical secretaries can become medical practice managers. Legal secretaries often go on to become paralegals.

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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics