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Clerical Secretary Profile


This Section of the site details information that you might find useful if you are looking to secure employment or require further details regarding working as a Clerical Secretary. This page details the following Information:-

  • Finding Suitable Work as a Clerical Secretary
  • Working Duties Expected
  • Hours and Environment
  • Working Skills Required
  • Training Requirements
  • Salary Expectations
  • Trade Information
  • Other useful Clerical Secretary Work Information

Finding Suitable Work

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Working Duties Expected

Secretaries provide administrative support to one or more people in an organisation. Their duties and responsibilities could vary greatly according to the employer, but may include:

  • using word processors, spreadsheets and databases
  • answering the telephone and dealing with enquiries
  • making appointments and keeping diaries
  • preparing and distributing papers and documents for meetings and taking minutes, possibly using shorthand
  • dealing with incoming and outgoing post
  • drafting letters and other documents
  • word processing or typing letters and other documents, possibly using audio transcription
  • maintaining a filing system.

Well-qualified secretaries, including graduates, may also do work like compiling accounts, controlling budgets and presenting reports and statistics.

Hours and Environment

Secretaries usually work normal office hours Monday to Friday, usually at a desk in an office. They could be asked to work extra or flexible hours at busy times.

Part-time work, job sharing and temporary work are available.

Skills and Interests

To be a secretary you should:

  • be efficient, well-organised and good at time management
  • have an excellent command of grammar, spelling and punctuation
  • have good communication skills, both verbal and written
  • be able to work accurately and pay attention to detail
  • have an understanding of business
  • good keyboard skills and confidence with a range of word processing and computer packages
  • be able to deal with confidential information
  • to be able to work unsupervised on your own initiative
  • stay calm and tactful under pressure.


There are no minimum entry requirements, but most employers and colleges look for GCSEs (A-C)/S grades (1-3), particularly in English and maths.

An alternative is to enter after a relevant school or college qualification such as:

Foundation, Intermediate GNVQs or vocational A levels/GSVQs Levels I, II or III in Business Administration
NVQs/SVQs levels 1 to 3

Pitman, OCR (RSA) Examinations Board or London Chamber of Commerce and Industry Examinations Board (LCCIEB) qualifications.

Most colleges of further education offer a range of secretarial courses, both full-time and part-time. Some private colleges offer shorter and more intensive courses.

If you continue your education after GCSE/S level and gain more qualifications, you stand a better chance of a more interesting job, more responsibility and promotion. You could find knowledge of a foreign language useful. Some entrants are graduates.

There is no upper age limit for entry. Maturity is an important quality in a secretary, so older candidates are often welcomed. Many colleges relax their entry requirements for mature students.

Some colleges offer refresher courses, aimed at secretaries returning to work after a career break.


Some employers run company training schemes where you would learn on-the-job, perhaps with day release for a relevant college course.

LCCIEB offers the Diplomas in Administration (Level 1), Secretarial Administration (Level 2), Business Administration (Level 3), the Private Secretary''s Diploma and the Executive Secretary''s Diploma. They also offer separate certificates in audio transcription, shorthand and text production.

OCR offers Level 1, 2 and 3 Certificates in Administration, and the Higher Level Diploma in Administrative and Secretarial Procedures. (The Level 3 Certificate in Administration replaces the former Diploma in Administrative and Secretarial Procedures from January 2004). OCR also offers separate certificates in audio transcription, business presentation, copy typing, keyboard skills, shorthand, typewriting and word processing.

Pitmans and City & Guilds jointly offer Secretarial and Administration Diplomas at First, Intermediate and Advanced Levels. They also offer separate certificates in audio transcription, bookkeeping and accounts, office procedures, shorthand, text production and typewriting.

NVQ/SVQ Levels 1-4 in Administration are widely available. Levels 3 and 4 are suitable for secretaries with some supervisory or management duties.

BTEC higher national awards in Business/SQA higher national awards in Administrative and Office Management are also available.

Graduate Apprenticeships in Business Administration may be available - contact the Council for Administration for more information.

Foundation and Advanced Modern Apprenticeships (MAPPs) may be available for people aged 16-24.
For details see: MAPPs (England); Skillseekers MAPPs (Scotland); National Traineeships MAPPs (Wales); and MAPPs (Northern Ireland).


Secretaries are found in all types and sizes of organisations, both in the private and public sectors.

Opportunities may exist to become personal assistant to a senior manager or an office manager. Further specialist training is available to become a farm, medical or legal secretary.

With further qualifications, experienced and well-qualified secretaries could become college lecturers, teaching secretarial skills to students. For more information, see the profile for Lecturer: Further Education.

Annual Income

This section is intended as a guide only.The starting salary for a secretary is from around £8,000.
With more experience you could earn between £11,000 and £13,500.
A senior secretary can earn around £13,500 to £16,000.

Further information

The Council for Administration *
18-20 Bromell’s Road
Clapham Common
Tel: 020 7627 9876

Institute of Qualified Private Secretaries
1st Floor
6 Bridge Avenue
Tel: 01628 625007

London Chamber of Commerce and Industry Examinations Board
Athena House
112 Station Road
DA15 7BJ
Tel: 020 8302 0261

Pitman Qualifications
1 Giltspur Street
Tel: 020 7294 3500

Westwood Way
Tel: 024 7647 0033

National Training Organisations (NTOs) ceased to be recognised by the government on 31 March 2002. However, some are continuing to operate in their respective fields. Please contact individual NTOs with queries regarding their current status.

The Secretary of State for Education and Skills is licensing new Sector Skills Councils - charged with boosting skills and productivity in business sectors. For information about Sector Skills Councils, their roles and responsibilities, please visit the Sector Skills Development Agency website:

Other Useful Clerical Secretary Work Information

We have a section available at this site on Clerical Secretary job interview tips that you may find of interest should you wish to brush up your skills in this area and we also have number of career articles that may also be of use to you from within our guides and documents section.

Locations where we feature Jobs include:-
Aberdeen, Berkshire, Aberdeen, Bath, Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Cambridgeshire, Cardiff, Central London, Cheltenham, Cornwall, Coventry, Derby, Devon, Docklands, Dorset, Dundee, Durham, East Midlands, East Sussex, Edinburgh, Essex, Glasgow, Gloucester, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Kent, Lancashire, Leeds, Leicester, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Middlesbrough, Midlands and in various parts of the West Midlands

Details of other Clerical Secretary Jobs can also be found in other UK wide areas including:-
Milton Keynes, Newcastle, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Norfolk, North London, North Midlands, Northampton, Northamptonshire, Northern Ireland, Northumberland, Norwich, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, Oxford, Oxfordshire, Plymouth, Salisbury, Scotland, Sheffield, Shropshire, Somerset, South East, South London, South Midlands, Southampton, Staffordshire Surrey, Swansea, Swindon, Telford, Wales, Warwickshire, West End, West London, West Midlands, Worcestershire, York and throughout Yorkshire.

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