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How Much Does Administrative Assistant (Secretarial) School Cost?

Last Updated: February 01, 2022

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Administrative assistants also known as secretaries perform clerical tasks in offices. They are employed in a wide range of industries, including most commonly education, legal, medical, and government. The minimum education requirement to become a secretary is a high school diploma or GED. Higher level and/or specialized administrative assistants often need some formal training. If you are good at completing tasks with a good attitude, happy to be a support to the group, and good with details, this may be a good career for you.

Types of Administrative Assistants #

While an administrative assistant can work in many different industries, students might want to focus on one of the following secretarial jobs:

  • Legal secretary
  • Medical secretary
  • Executive secretary

Job Duties #

The actual job duties of a secretary depend on the office environment and the how many assistants are employed. Generally speaking, however, administrative assistants are expected to perform tasks that include:

  • Entering information into databases and database management
  • Answering phones, taking messages, and transferring calls
  • Word processing and other office computing (spreadsheets, presentation software, e-mail)
  • Maintaining paperwork and other office documents
  • Customer service
  • Scheduling
  • Operating office equipment (scanners, copiers, printers)

Salary #

The median income for secretaries and administrative assistants, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), is $32,410 per year ($15.58 per hour). Legal secretaries can expect to earn more (just over $42,000 per year), while the median annual salary for medical secretaries is $31,350. Executive secretaries, with a median annual income of $47,500, are the top earners in the field.

Education #

Career prospects may be improved by seeking education at one of the following levels:

  • Certificate
  • Diploma
  • Associate's degree
  • Bachelor's degree

Professional Certification #

Voluntary certification from a professional secretarial organization can also improve job prospects. Organizations that offer certification include:

  • Certified Professional Secretary (through IAAP)
  • Certified Administrative Professional (IAAP)
  • Accredited Legal Secretary (through NALS)
  • Certified Legal Secretary Specialist (Legal Secretaries International)

Administrative Assistant/Secretary School Average Costs #

  • Earning an administrative assistant certificate or diploma may cost as little as $600 to $2,500 and as much as $10,000 to $25,000 or more. Pricier programs typically provide more robust and specific training (not only in basic office skills like keyboarding and word processing but also coursework in areas such as law, accounting, and business) and can take up to 1.5 years to complete. Less costly programs are often intensive training courses designed to provide basic secretarial skills like record keeping, dictation, and using Microsoft Office.
  • An associate's degree program costs, on average, $3,000 to $3,500 per year (or $6,000 to $7,000 for 2 years; source: The College Board).
  • Completing a bachelor's degree program might cost $35,000 to $115,000, according to the College Board.
  • Note that the figures above are for tuition and fees only. Books, room and board, and other costs associated with higher education are extra.
  • Contact individual institutions for the most accurate information on tuition and financial aid.
  • U.S. News known for its annual college rankings provides this guide to paying for college.

Find Administrative Assistant (Secretarial) School Information #

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