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Career and Education Opportunities for Secretaries in Birmingham, Alabama

There is a wide variety of career and education opportunities for secretaries in the Birmingham, Alabama area. There are currently 40,940 working secretaries in Alabama; this should grow 6% to 43,330 working secretaries in the state by 2016. This is better than the national trend for secretaries, which sees this job pool growing by about 4.6% over the next eight years. In general, secretaries perform routine clerical and administrative functions such as drafting correspondence, scheduling appointments, organizing and maintaining paper and electronic files, or providing information to callers.

A person working as a secretary can expect to earn about $13 per hour or $27,450 annually on average in Alabama and about $13 hourly or $29,050 yearly on average in the U.S. as a whole. Compared with people working in the overall category of Secretarial, people working as secretaries in Alabama earn less. They earn less than people working in the overall category of Secretarial nationally.

There are four schools within twenty-five miles of Birmingham where you can study to be a secretary, among fifteen schools of higher education total in the Birmingham area. Secretaries usually hold a high school diploma or GED, so it will take only a short time to learn to be a secretary if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Secretary

Secretary video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

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

Secretaries operate office equipment such as fax machines and phone systems, and use computers for spreadsheet and other applications. They also make copies of correspondence and other printed material. Equally important, secretaries have to answer telephones and give data to callers or transfer calls to appropriate individuals. They are often called upon to greet visitors and callers, handle their inquiries, and direct them to the appropriate persons in line with their needs. They are expected to learn to operate new office technologies as they are developed and implemented. Finally, secretaries schedule and confirm appointments for clients or supervisors.

Every day, secretaries are expected to be able to listen to and understand others in meetings. They need to articulate ideas and problems. It is also important that they read and understand documents and reports.

It is important for secretaries to conduct searches to discover needed data, using such sources as the Internet. They are often called upon to order and dispense supplies. They also open and distribute incoming mail and other material and answer routine letters. They are sometimes expected to locate and attach appropriate files to incoming correspondence requiring replies. Somewhat less frequently, secretaries are also expected to operate office equipment such as fax machines and phone systems, and use computers for spreadsheet and other applications.

Secretaries sometimes are asked to establish work procedures and schedules and keep track of the daily work of clerical staff. They also have to be able to collect and disburse funds from cash accounts, and keep archives of collections and disbursements and prepare and maintain paper and electronic filing systems for archives and other material. And finally, they sometimes have to greet visitors and callers, handle their inquiries, and direct them to the appropriate persons in line with their needs.

Like many other jobs, secretaries must be reliable and be thorough and dependable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Birmingham include:

  • Administrative Assistant. Provide high-level administrative support by conducting research, preparing statistical reports, handling information requests, and performing clerical functions such as preparing correspondence, receiving visitors, arranging conference calls, and scheduling meetings. May also train and supervise lower-level clerical staff.
  • Bank Teller. Receive and pay out money. Keep records of money and negotiable instruments involved in a financial institution's various transactions.
  • Bookkeeper. Compute, classify, and record numerical data to keep financial records complete. Perform any combination of routine calculating, posting, and verifying duties to obtain primary financial data for use in maintaining accounting records. May also check the accuracy of figures, calculations, and postings pertaining to business transactions recorded by other workers.
  • Clerk. Compile data, compute fees and charges, and prepare invoices for billing purposes. Duties include computing costs and calculating rates for goods, services, and shipment of goods; posting data; and keeping other relevant records. May involve use of computer or typewriter, calculator, and adding and bookkeeping machines.
  • Loan Inspector. Interview loan applicants to elicit information; investigate applicants' backgrounds and verify references; prepare loan request papers; and forward findings, reports, and documents to appraisal department. Review loan papers to ensure completeness, and complete transactions between loan establishment, borrowers, and sellers upon approval of loan.
  • Medical Secretary. Perform secretarial duties utilizing specific knowledge of medical terminology and hospital, clinic, or laboratory procedures. Duties include scheduling appointments, billing patients, and compiling and recording medical charts, reports, and correspondence.
  • Production Proofreader. Read transcript or proof type setup to detect and mark for correction any grammatical, typographical, or compositional errors.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Secretary Training

Jefferson State Community College - Birmingham, AL

Jefferson State Community College, 2601 Carson Rd, Birmingham, AL 35215-3098. Jefferson State Community College is a medium sized college located in Birmingham, Alabama. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 8,718 students. Jefferson State Community College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Administrative Assistant and Secretarial Science which graduated twenty-nine and forty students respectively in 2008.

Virginia College-Birmingham - Birmingham, AL

Virginia College-Birmingham, 65 Bagby Dr., Birmingham, AL 35209-3703. Virginia College-Birmingham is a medium sized college located in Birmingham, Alabama. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 6,090 students and an admission rate of 64%. Virginia College-Birmingham has a less than one year and an associate's degree program in Administrative Assistant and Secretarial Science which graduated eight and twenty-nine students respectively in 2008.

Bevill State Community College - Sumiton, AL

Bevill State Community College, 101 State St, Sumiton, AL 35148. Bevill State Community College is a small college located in Sumiton, Alabama. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 3,860 students. Bevill State Community College has less than one year, one to two year, and associate's degree programs in Administrative Assistant and Secretarial Science which graduated one, two, and forty-six students respectively in 2008.

Lawson State Community College-Birmingham Campus - Birmingham, AL

Lawson State Community College-Birmingham Campus, 3060 Wilson Rd SW, Birmingham, AL 35221-1717. Lawson State Community College-Birmingham Campus is a small college located in Birmingham, Alabama. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 3,507 students. Lawson State Community College-Birmingham Campus has less than one year, one to two year, and associate's degree programs in Administrative Assistant and Secretarial Science which graduated eight, zero, and nine students respectively in 2008.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Birmingham, Alabama

Birmingham, Alabama
Birmingham, Alabama photo by Eric_in_SF

Birmingham is located in Jefferson County, Alabama. It has a population of over 228,798, which has shrunk by 5.8% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Birmingham, 81, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Birmingham cost $187,300 on average, which is well above the state average. In 2008, one hundred thirty-two new homes were built in Birmingham, down from two hundred thirty-two the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Birmingham are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and health care. The average travel time to work is about 24 minutes. More than 18.5% of Birmingham residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 6.6%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Birmingham is 12.5%, which is greater than Alabama's average of 10.7%.

The percentage of Birmingham residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 60.1%, is more than both the national and state average. Williams Chapel Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, Westminister Presbyterian Church and West End Methodist Church are all churches located in Birmingham. The most common religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the United Methodist Church and the Catholic Church.

Birmingham is home to the Mineral Park Municipal Golf Course and the Cooper Green Golf Course as well as Avondale Mills Park and Smithfield Historic District. Shopping malls in the area include Acipco Shopping Center, Altadena Square Shopping Center and Parkway East Huffman Shopping Center. Visitors to Birmingham can choose from Marriott Hotel Birmingham, Rime Garden Extended Stay Suites and Studioplus for temporary stays in the area.