How to become a Secretary

Secretaries assist professionals, managers and executives by performing clerical and secretarial duties.

Personal requirements of a Secretary

  • Good command of the English language, both written and spoken
  • Sound organisational and interpersonal skills
  • Able to work under pressure and meet deadlines
  • Able to work independently
  • Aptitude for working with computers
  • Neat personal appearance
  • Able to act with tact and discretion.

Education & Training for a Secretary

To become a secretary, you usually have to complete a VET qualification. As subjects and prerequisites can vary between institutions, you should contact your chosen institution for further information. You may be able to study through distance education. You can also become a secretary through a traineeship. Entry requirements may vary, but employers generally require Year 10.

Duties & Tasks of a Secretary


  • screen telephone callers
  • make and record appointments
  • operate office equipment such as photocopiers, fax machines, switchboards and computers
  • file correspondence and other records
  • receive and process incoming and outgoing mail
  • write letters and reports on behalf of the organisation
  • store and retrieve data on computers
  • talk to clients
  • prepare agendas or programmes for meetings
  • attend and take minutes of meetings, both in the office and at other locations
  • organise business itineraries, travel arrangements, conferences, meetings and social functions
  • hire and supervise staff
  • maintain budget and account records
  • purchase office supplies.

Working conditions for a Secretary

The duties secretaries perform vary a great deal according to the size and type of organisation in which they work. Experienced secretaries may advance to positions of higher responsibility.

Employment Opportunities for a Secretary

Secretaries may work in a variety of industries. Most work in medical centres, law and accounting firms, retail and wholesale firms, factories, travel agencies, hotels, motels, hospitals, schools, large hairdressing salons and other professional offices. The extent of work duties depends on the individual’s knowledge of what is required, their willingness to accept responsibility and the structure of the work area. Experience in a variety of clerical duties may be needed for office workers to move from one position to another and into other areas of administration.

Avg. weekly wage:


Future growth:


Employment by state:

ACT 1.3%

NSW 41.7%

NT 0.9%

QLD 18.1%

SA 6.7%

TAS 1.7%

VIC 19.4%

WA 10.6%

Hours worked:



Lower unemployment

Gender split:

Male 3%

Female 97%

Education level:

Not completed Year 12: 26.6%

Highest qualification is secondary school: 23.5%

Highest qualification is a Certificate 3 or 4: 12.3%

Highest qualification is a Diploma or Advanced Diploma: 14.5%

Highest qualification is a Bachelor degree: 11.4%

Highest qualification is a Postgraduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate: 3.8%

Age brackets:

15-19 - 0.1%

20-24 - 6.1%

25-34 - 26.8%

35-44 - 22.6%

45-54 - 19.5%

55-59 - 8.2%

60-64 - 7.1%

65 and Over - 9.5%

*The data above is sourced from the Department of Employment’s Job Outlook website.

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