Secretaries provide a crucial service to an office. They are in charge of the management of important day-to-day tasks. Without a secretary, many offices and other places of business would not function properly or smoothly. Here, we will look at the secretary job description. But first, let’s talk about what a secretary is, by definition.

Secretary Definition

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A secretary is a person who manages the work of the office, whether this is clerical or administrative in nature. Secretaries help in keeping tasks in the office moving smoothly, with minimal delays or disruptions. The secretary is the face and voice of the office or business, as the secretary is often the person who is first seen (at the front desk) or heard (on the telephone).

Secretary Need

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There is a need for secretaries. Secretaries perform important tasks that assist managers or bosses in performing their job efficiently. Because assisting is such a big part of a secretary’s job, a secretary may also be referred to as an office assistant or an administrative assistant

Growth of the Field

Approximately 4 million secretaries, also called administrative assistants, were employed in 2016. The field of medical secretary is expected to have the most growth over the 10 years from 2016 to 2026 at 22% growth. This is considered a greater than average growth. As health care needs increase for the population, this growth is not entirely unexpected. Other secretarial fields are expected to see a small decrease. One reason for this decrease is that many in the office environment, including managers, are now expected to do more work on their own rather than relying on the assistance of a secretary.

A secretary may be required to continue to keep skills sharp by developing professionally. This may be achieved by attending workshops or through reading professional publications. Professional development can be an important aspect of this career choice.


According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the median pay of a secretary is $38,880 per year or $18.69 per hour. Executive secretaries made the most out of all types of secretaries listed, while medical secretaries make the least. Those secretaries who worked in the legal, government, and scientific fields also were listed toward the higher end of the earnings. Those who worked in social assistance, non-profit, and educational fields also earned on the lower end of the scale.

Secretary Job Description

We have discussed the definition of and need for secretaries. Now let’s discuss the secretary job description. This section includes prerequisites or requirements for the job and the duties or tasks preformed.


Many secretaries must meet certain prerequisites before being hired. These requirements are listed in the job announcement for the position. Here is a list of some common requirements for secretaries.


A secretary needs to have a high school diploma. Some jobs require higher education or experience than high school, especially at the corporate or executive level. A secretary needs proficiency in computers, specifically word processing software. 


Writing, reviewing, and distributing correspondence is an important aspect of the secretary job description. Good communication skills are a must. Secretaries deal with people over the telephone and in person. They must understand instructions given and perform tasks efficiently and quickly when asked. Many organizations require a minimum word per minute typing requirement.


Organization skills are another requirement. A secretary may be required to manage supplies, paperwork, and schedules. All of these require a great deal of organization and attention to detail. 


The ability to multi-task is also key. Secretaries may work in an environment filled with interruptions and multiple requests. A secretary must be able to manage these tasks effectively. They must be able to manage their time effectively to perform the most urgent tasks first and other tasks as time allows.


Professionalism is another requirement. A secretary must use discretion when dealing with both business and personal dealings. If secretaries are privy to business dealings or salary information, it is of the utmost importance that they keep this information confidential. Secretaries are a part of a team. They assist with working toward a common goal. Interpersonal skills are essential for the secretary.


The duties of a secretary vary according to the requirements of the employer. For example, a secretary in a medical office would be tasked with different duties than that of a secretary working in a school environment. Some of the duties listed in a secretary job description may include the following.


A secretary may be the first person a visitor sees when entering the work environment, whether it is an office or another type of business. Secretaries may direct visitors to the proper location. They may also assist new employees with directions. Secretaries may also answer the telephones of a business. They may screen and direct calls. They may record phone messages.


A secretary is also responsible for keeping the office running smoothly. Often this requires that a secretary manages files. Secretaries may be required to pull files upon a meeting with a client or appointment with a patient. They are also responsible for placing these files back after the meeting or appointment has concluded.

Some secretaries are responsible for office supplies. They may track, order, and arrange these supplies in the office. They may be required to track office supply expenditures to stay within a budget. They may be the first person an office member goes to with their supply requests.


A secretary is responsible for a lot of documentation that occurs within a business. A secretary creates documents, including correspondence that goes out to clients. If there are reports to be prepared, this may also fall under the responsibilities of a secretary. Secretaries may also be responsible for documents that are internal to the organization.

A secretary may also be responsible for the distribution of mail and faxes to the correct recipient. A secretary may be responsible for sending mail, e-mails, and faxes. A secretary may also be responsible for reviewing documents or other correspondence written by others prior to distribution. Secretaries may be required to document what has occurred during a meeting.


A secretary may be required to track client information. This may include supplier information. They may also be required to maintain information about the employees of the company. A secretary may be required to compose and send electronic communications. This may be via e-mail, fax, or even social media. A secretary may be required to back up databases. This could a daily, weekly, or monthly procedure. They may also be called on to assist when a document is lost. They may be required to try to retrieve a document or recreate a document if the document is not retrievable.


A secretary is an expert manager of an office or workplace. Secretaries may manage the calendar of a manager or a calendar of resources (such as assigning rooms for meetings). They may be responsible for scheduling appointments. They may also be required to arrange for travel. They may be required to coordinate conference attendance and hosting. They may be required to manage the maintenance of office equipment. They may be required to track and record expenditures. They may be required to perform errands.

A secretary can also be required to take on a leadership role. If there are multiple secretaries on a team, a secretary may be required to manage junior members. This role may be associated with a change in job title such as senior or lead secretary. A secretary may be required to document the procedures of the office. This documentation can be used for audit purposes or to assist in the training of new employees.


Secretaries fill a much-needed role in the working world today. They help keep the workplace running smoothly. Some of the tasks they are required to perform may be behind the scenes, such as managing supplies or logging payments, while other tasks are in the forefront of the workplace. They may serve as a greeter both in person and on the telephone. They may serve as the first impression of the company by directing a client into a meeting area or welcoming a new employee to the building.

One of the most important skills secretaries can have is that of using the written word effectively. Secretaries are often responsible for correspondence with clients, customers, and others in the workplace. Writing, grammar, and punctuation skills are vital in this role. In addition, being skilled in typing quickly is required. Computers are an essential part of the toolkit of the secretary. A secretary must be able to manage documents electronically.

A secretary can have varied and diverse requirements depending upon the industry of employment. Secretaries can have a high school education with skills learned on the job. Secretaries can also have a college education with study specific to the field of employment. A secretary may be asked to greet, organize, document, and manage. No matter what their role, secretaries fill an important requirement.

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