Secretaries and Administrative Assistants: Salary, Job Description, How To Become One, and Quiz

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Job description

Secretaries and Administrative Assistants perform routine clerical and administrative functions such as drafting correspondence, scheduling appointments, organizing and maintaining paper and electronic files, or providing information to callers.

  • Answer telephones and give information to callers, take messages, or transfer calls to appropriate individuals.
  • Greet visitors or callers and handle their inquiries or direct them to the appropriate persons according to their needs.
  • Create, maintain, and enter information into databases.
  • Use computers for various applications, such as database management or word processing.
Read more about what does a Secretary and Administrative Assistant really do at work and what is it like being and working as one.

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Average salary
$38030 per year

Average hourly wage
$18 per hour

Secretaries with little to no experience tend to make between $23060 and $28930 while the more experienced ones can earn over $46230 per year.

Top 5 paying states Hourly Annual
DC $24 $50,140
MA $23 $46,940
CT $22 $46,470
CA $21 $43,670
WA $21 $43,260

One of the easiest ways to increase your salary as a Secretary and Administrative Assistant is to move to a higher paying state like DC. Right now, the highest paying states for Secretaries are DC, MA, CT, CA and WA.

However, a higher pay at DC doesn’t guarantee that you will make more because the living expenses at DC might be twice as high than where you are currently at now.

Three other factors that can increase your salary as a Secretary and Administrative Assistant is the degree you hold, the industry you work in, and lastly the company you work for.


Recommended degree level
No degree required

We asked other Secretaries what degree they had when they got the job and most of them said they had a High School Diploma followed by an Associate’s Degree.

Other than that, we also asked them what did they major in and here are the most popular majors that came up.

Administrative Assistant and Secretarial Science, General
Executive Assistant/Executive Secretary
Read more about how to become a Secretary and Administrative Assistant and the degree, training and education you need.

Pros and Cons

Here are some of the pros and cons of being a Secretary and Administrative Assistant.

Suitable for people who likes to follow routines
Suitable for people who wants to work in a supportive work environment
This career is perfect for people who love to work indoors.
It is not too difficult to get into this career. Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for this career.
Normal working hours (40 hours per week)
Not suitable for people who likes to solve problems mentally
One of the lowest paying jobs

What is the job like

Job satisfaction

Is this job meaningful

70% of Secretaries said they were satisfied with their job and 57% said they feel like their job is making other people’s lives better.

Is this right for me

Best personality for this career
The Organizers and The Entrepreneurs

You can read more about these career personality types here.

People who are suitable for this job tends to like following set procedures and routines. They like working with data and details more than with ideas..

They also like starting up and carrying out projects. They like leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.

Learn more about Secretaries

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Related career information

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Admin Assistant, Admin Secretary, Administrative Aide, Administrative and Program Specialist, Administrative Assistant, Administrative Associate, Administrative Clerk, Administrative Coordinator, Administrative Liaison, Administrative Resources Associate

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