California Occupational Guides

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Detailed Guide for

Executive Secretaries and Executive Administrative Assistants in San Diego County

May also be called: Executive Assistants; Administrative Secretaries; Office Managers; Administrative Coordinators; Administrative Associates; Executive Administrative Assistants; Administrative Aides; and Administrative Services Assistants.

What Would I Do?

The role of the office professional has greatly evolved as the reliance on technology continues to expand in offices. Automation and organizational restructuring have led Executive Secretaries and Administrative Assistants to assume responsibilities once reserved for managers and professional workers. Executive Secretaries and Administrative Assistants now provide training and orientation for new staff, conduct research on the Internet, and operate and troubleshoot new office technologies. Still, their core duties remain much the same: to perform and coordinate an office’s administrative activities.

Executive Secretaries and Administrative Assistants serve as information and communication managers for an office. They store, retrieve, and integrate information into reports or correspondence for staff members and customers. They plan and schedule meetings and appointments; organize and maintain paper and electronic files; manage projects; conduct research; and disseminate information by using the telephone, mail services, Web sites, and e-mail. They may also handle travel and guest arrangements.

Important Tasks and Related Skills

Each task below is matched to a sample skill required to carry out the task.

View the skill definitions
TaskSkill Used in this Task
Manage and maintain executives' schedules.Time Management
Prepare invoices, reports, memos, letters, financial statements and other documents, using word processing, spreadsheet, database, or presentation software.Written Expression
Read and analyze incoming memos, submissions, and reports to determine their significance and plan their distribution.Reading Comprehension
Open, sort, and distribute incoming correspondence, including faxes and email.Information Ordering
File and retrieve corporate documents, records, and reports.Coordination
Greet visitors and determine whether they should be given access to specific individuals.Problem Sensitivity
Prepare responses to correspondence containing routine inquiries.English Language
Make travel arrangements for executives.Oral Comprehension
Perform general office duties such as ordering supplies, maintaining records management systems, and performing basic bookkeeping work.Clerical
Prepare agendas and make arrangements for committee, board, and other meetings.Active Listening
Source: U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Information Network (O*NET)

Working Conditions

Executive Secretaries and Administrative Assistants work in schools, hospitals, corporate settings, government agencies, or legal and medical offices. Their work area is generally located in a comfortable office setting with controlled temperature and modern office equipment. The majority of Executive Secretaries and Administrative Assistants work a standard 40-hour week.

Since Assistants spend a lot of time keyboarding, particularly at a computer monitor, they must make sure their monitor is at a correct eye level and the desk chair at an appropriate height and tilt. This will help prevent eye or neck strain and repetitive motion ailments such as carpal tunnel syndrome.

The task of managing the schedule and work of a top executive can be stressful for some, given the confidential nature of the work and short deadlines that often occur.

In general, Executive Secretaries and Administrative Assistants are not represented by unions in California.

Will This Job Fit Me?

This job would appeal to someone who is organized, has good interpersonal skills, and who can adapt quickly to change. People who can work independently, think quickly, and be discreet with their employer’s information might like this type of work.

This occupation satisfies those with conventional interests. Conventional occupations involve following set procedures and routines, and working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow. This type of work will also be attractive to those who like starting up and carrying out projects.

What Wages and Benefits Can I Expect?

Salaries vary, reflecting differences in skill, experience, size of organization, and status of the executive they serve. Certification in this field usually is rewarded by a higher salary. The highest wages tend to be in private corporations.


The median wage in 2016 for Executive Secretaries in California is $61,084 annually, or $29.37 hourly. The median wage for Executive Secretaries in San Diego County is $59,037 annually, or $28.38 hourly. The median is the point at which half of the workers earn more and half earn less.

Change to Hourly Wages
Annual Wages for 2016Low
(25th percentile)
(50th percentile)
(75th percentile)
San Diego County$47,627$59,037$71,819
Source: EDD/LMID Occupational Employment Statistics Survey, 2016 Wages do not reflect self-employment.
View Wages for All Areas


Most full-time workers in this occupation receive a benefits package that includes medical and dental insurance, sick leave, holiday leave, and vacation pay. Some firms offer retirement plans.

What is the Job Outlook?

Growing industries, such as administrative and support services; health care and social assistance; educational services; and professional, scientific, and technical services, will continue to generate most new job opportunities. Opportunities should be best for applicants with extensive knowledge of software applications. In addition, high growth is expected among occupations in California that typically require the services of Assistants. These include chief executives, general and operations managers, and financial managers.

Projections of Employment

In California, the number of Executive Secretaries is expected to grow slower than average growth rate for all occupations. Jobs for Executive Secretaries are expected to increase by 1.9 percent, or 1,800 jobs between 2014 and 2024.

In San Diego County, the number of Executive Secretaries is expected to grow slower than average growth rate for all occupations. Jobs for Executive Secretaries are expected to increase by 8.5 percent, or 740 jobs between 2012 and 2022.

Estimated Employment and Projected Growth
Executive Secretaries
Geographic Area
(Estimated Year-Projected Year)
Additional Openings
Due to Net
San Diego County
Source: EDD/LMID Projections of Employment by Occupation
View Projected Growth for All Areas

Annual Job Openings

In California, an average of 170 new job openings per year is expected for Executive Secretaries, plus an additional 990 job openings due to net replacement needs, resulting in a total of 1,160 job openings.

In San Diego County, an average of 73 new job openings per year is expected for Executive Secretaries, plus an additional 105 job openings due to net replacement needs, resulting in a total of 178 job openings.

Estimated Average Annual Job Openings
Executive Secretaries
Geographic Area
(Estimated Year-
Projected Year)
Jobs From GrowthJobs Due to
Net Replacements
Total Annual
Job Openings
San Diego County
Source: EDD/LMID Projections of Employment by Occupation
View Data for All Areas

How Do I Qualify?

Education, Training, and Other Requirements

Executive Secretaries and Administrative Assistants acquire skills in various ways. Training ranges from high school vocational education programs that teach office skills and keyboarding to one- and two-year programs in office administration offered by business schools, adult education programs, and community colleges. Many temporary placement agencies also provide formal training in computer and office skills. However, skills can be acquired through on-the-job instruction or training provided by vendors.

As Administrative Assistants gain experience, they can earn designations such as Certified Administrative Professional (CAP) by meeting certain experience or educational requirements and passing an examination.

Bachelor’s degrees and professional certifications are becoming increasingly important as business continues to become more global. Over half of employed Administrative Assistants in the U.S. have either a bachelors degree or some college background.

Given the confidential nature of the information Administrative Assistants work with, some executives require background checks on their employees.

Early Career Planning

High school students should take English courses that stress grammar, vocabulary, spelling, as well as keyboarding and computer classes that teach spreadsheet or word processing software programs. Participation in other activities such as drama, service clubs, or sports can also teach team building, goal setting, and project management.

Continuing Education

As office automation continues to evolve, retraining and continuing education will remain integral parts of secretarial jobs. Administrative Assistants may have to attend classes or participate in on-line education to learn how to operate new office technologies, such as information storage systems, scanners, the Internet, or updated software packages.

Where Can I Find Training?

There are two ways to search for training information:

Contact the schools you are interested in to learn about the classes available, tuition and fees, and any prerequisite course work.

Where Would I Work?

Executive Secretaries and Administrative Assistants work in all industries. Wherever executives are found, so are Executive Secretaries. The largest industries employing Executive Secretaries are as follows:

Industry TitlePercent of Total Employment for Occupation in California
Colleges and Universities 8.1%
Local Government 7.1%
Management of Companies and Enterprises 5.8%
Management & Technical Consulting Svc 4.7%
Other Financial Investment Activities 3.4%
Source: EDD/LMID Staffing Patterns

Finding a Job

 Online job opening systems include JobCentral at and CalJOBSSM at

To find your nearest One-Stop Career Center, go to Service Locator. View the helpful job search tips for more resources. (requires Adobe Reader).

Yellow Page Headings

You can focus your local job search by checking employers listed online or in your local telephone directory. Below are some suggested headings where you might find employers of Executive Secretaries.

  • Hospitals
  • Schools
  • Government
  • Insurance
  • Computers
  • Grocery Stores

Find Possible Employers

To locate a list of employers in your area, go to "Find Employers" on the Labor Market Information Web site:

  • Select one of the top industries that employ the occupation. This will give you a list of employers in that industry in your area.
  • Click on "View Filter Selections" to limit your list to specific cities or employer size.
  • Click on an employer for the street address, telephone number, size of business, Web site, etc.
  • Contact the employer for possible employment.

Where Could This Job Lead?

Qualified Administrative Assistants who broaden their knowledge of a company’s operations and enhance their skills may be promoted to Senior or Executive Secretary, clerical supervisor, or office manager. Some promote to other professions such as management analyst.

Related Occupations

Below is a list of occupations related to Executive Secretaries with links to more information.

Legal SecretariesGuide
Library TechniciansProfile
Management AnalystsGuide
Procurement ClerksProfile
Secretaries and Administrative Assistants, Except Legal, Medical, and ExecutiveGuide

Other Sources

These links are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement by EDD.

For the Career Professional

The following codes are provided to assist counselors, job placement workers, or other career professionals.

SOC - Standard Occupational Classification43-6011
O*NET - Occupational Information Network
   Executive Secretaries and Executive Administrative Assistants43-6011.00
   Interest Codes (RIASEC)CES
CIP - Classification of Instructional Programs
   Medical Administrative/Executive Assistant & Medical Secreta510716
   Administrative Assistant and Secretarial Science, General 520401
TOP - Taxonomy of Programs (California Community Colleges)
   Office Technology/Office Computer Applications051400
   Medical Office Technology051420