California Occupational Guides

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Summary Guide for

Secretaries and Administrative Assistants, Except Legal, Medical, and Executive in California

May also be called: Administrative Secretaries; Office Assistants; Clerk Typists; Office Managers; Administrative Technicians; Administrative Associates; Administrative Support Assistants; Department Secretaries; and Personal Secretaries.

What Would I Do?

Secretaries help managers and workers make sure an office runs smoothly. They draft correspondence, schedule appointments, provide information to callers, and create and maintain paper or electronic files. They may keep their supervisor's schedule, arrange and prepare for meetings, establish work procedures and schedules, and handle bookkeeping, equipment, and supplies.

Secretaries usually work 40 hours a week in an office environment on computers using various software applications.

Will This Job Fit Me?

This occupation will appeal to those who like following set procedures and routines with a clear line of authority. An ability to work well with people and be flexible is very helpful in this occupation.

What Wages and Benefits Can I Expect?

The median wage in 2016 for Secretaries, Except Legal, Medical, and Executive in California is $39,235 annually, or $18.86 hourly. The median is the point at which half of the workers earn more and half earn less.

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Annual Wages for 2016Low
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Source: EDD/LMID Occupational Employment Statistics Survey, 2016 Wages do not reflect self-employment.
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Benefits for Secretaries often include vacation, sick leave, health and life insurance, profit sharing, and a pension plan. Some may get reimbursement for continuing education courses.

What is the Job Outlook?

Increased office automation and organizational restructuring will continue to make Secretaries more productive in coming years. Use of automated equipment is changing the distribution of work in many offices. However, many secretarial duties are of a personal, interactive nature. Because technology cannot substitute for personal skills, Secretaries will continue to play a key role in most organizations. Numerous job openings will result from the need to replace workers who leave this very large occupation each year. Opportunities should be best for applicants with extensive knowledge of software applications.

How Do I Qualify?

High school graduates who have basic office skills may qualify for entry-level secretarial positions. Nevertheless, knowledge of word processing and e-mail software is now a requirement for many new hires. Training may be obtained through high school vocational education programs, business and vocational technical schools, temporary placement agencies, and community colleges.

Finding a Job

Direct application to employers remains one of the most effective job search methods. Secretaries are employed in organizations of every type from service-providing industries to manufacturing and construction. Students can register with their school placement center for job leads. Professional associations and personnel departments of government agencies advertise job opportunities on the Internet as well. Those interested in working on a temporary basis may seek assignments through a temporary agency specializing in office administrative positions. 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).

Learn More About Secretaries, Except Legal, Medical, and Executive