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Career and Education Opportunities for Secretaries in Chicago, Illinois

Secretaries can find many career and educational opportunities in the Chicago, Illinois area. About 77,130 people are currently employed as secretaries in Illinois. By 2016, this is expected to grow 3% to 79,090 people employed. This is not quite as good as 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.

Secretaries earn approximately $14 hourly or $29,600 per year on average in Illinois. Nationally they average about $13 per hour or $29,050 per year. Incomes for secretaries are not quite as good as in the overall category of Secretarial in Illinois, and not quite as good as the overall Secretarial category nationally.

There are twenty-two schools within twenty-five miles of Chicago where you can study to be a secretary, among 180 schools of higher education total in the Chicago area. Given that the most common education level for secretaries is a high school diploma or GED, 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 Chicago 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.
  • Insurance Claims Processor. Obtain information from insured or designated persons for purpose of settling claim with insurance carrier.
  • Legal Secretary. Perform secretarial duties utilizing legal terminology, procedures, and documents. Prepare legal papers and correspondence, such as summonses, complaints, and subpoenas. May also assist with legal research.
  • 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.
  • Municipal Clerk. Draft agendas and bylaws for town or city council; record minutes of council meetings; answer official correspondence; keep fiscal records and accounts; and prepare reports on civic needs.
  • Office Clerk. Perform duties too varied and diverse to be classified in any specific office clerical occupation, requiring limited knowledge of office management systems and procedures. Clerical duties may be assigned in accordance with the office procedures of individual establishments and may include a combination of answering telephones, bookkeeping, typing or word processing, stenography, office machine operation, and filing.
  • Office Machine Operator. Operate one or more of a variety of office machines, such as photocopying, photographic, and duplicating machines, or other office machines.
  • Production Proofreader. Read transcript or proof type setup to detect and mark for correction any grammatical, typographical, or compositional errors.
  • Receptionist. Answer inquiries and obtain information for general public, customers, and other interested parties. Provide information regarding activities conducted at establishment; location of departments, offices, and employees within organization.
  • Typist. Type letters, reports, or other material from rough draft, corrected copy, or voice recording. May perform other clerical duties as assigned.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Secretary Training

Northwestern College-Southwestern Campus - Bridgeview, IL

Northwestern College-Southwestern Campus, 7725 South Harlem Avenue, Bridgeview, IL 60455. Northwestern College-Southwestern Campus is a small college located in Bridgeview, Illinois. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs. It has 995 students and an admission rate of 90%. Northwestern College-Southwestern Campus has a less than one year and an associate's degree program in Administrative Assistant and Secretarial Science which graduated zero and four students respectively in 2008.

Saint Augustine College - Chicago, IL

Saint Augustine College, 1333-45 W Argyle, Chicago, IL 60640-3593. Saint Augustine College is a small college located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 1,275 students. Saint Augustine College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Administrative Assistant and Secretarial Science which graduated one and zero students respectively in 2008.

Triton College - River Grove, IL

Triton College, 2000 5th Ave, River Grove, IL 60171-1995. Triton College is a large college located in River Grove, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 15,547 students. Triton College has a less than one year program in Administrative Assistant and Secretarial Science which graduated seven students in 2008.

Nothwestern College - Chicago, IL

Nothwestern College, 4829 North Lipps Avenue, Chicago, IL 60630. Nothwestern College is a small college located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs. It has 847 students and an admission rate of 83%. Nothwestern College has an associate's degree program in Administrative Assistant and Secretarial Science which graduated one student in 2008.

Prairie State College - Chicago Heights, IL

Prairie State College, 202 South Halsted Street, Chicago Heights, IL 60411-8226. Prairie State College is a medium sized college located in Chicago Heights, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 5,368 students. Prairie State College has a less than one year program in Administrative Assistant and Secretarial Science which graduated five students in 2008.

College of Lake County - Grayslake, IL

College of Lake County, 19351 W Washington St., Grayslake, IL 60030-1198. College of Lake County is a large college located in Grayslake, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 16,359 students. College of Lake County has less than one year, one to two year, and associate's degree programs in Administrative Assistant and Secretarial Science which graduated forty-nine, twenty-one, and fourteen students respectively in 2008.

Ivy Tech Community College-Northwest - Gary, IN

Ivy Tech Community College-Northwest, 1440 E 35th Ave, Gary, IN 46409-1499. Ivy Tech Community College-Northwest is a medium sized college located in Gary, Indiana. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 5,701 students. Ivy Tech Community College-Northwest has an associate's degree program in Executive Assistant/Executive Secretary which graduated twenty-six students in 2008.

Moraine Valley Community College - Palos Hills, IL

Moraine Valley Community College, 9000 W. College Parkway, Palos Hills, IL 60465-0937. Moraine Valley Community College is a large college located in Palos Hills, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 17,477 students. Moraine Valley Community College has 2 areas of study related to Secretary. They are:

  • Administrative Assistant and Secretarial Science, less than one year and associate's degree which graduated twelve and four students respectively in 2008.
  • Executive Assistant/Executive Secretary, one to two year which graduated 3 students in 2008.

McHenry County College - Crystal Lake, IL

McHenry County College, 8900 US Hwy 14, Crystal Lake, IL 60012-2761. McHenry County College is a medium sized college located in Crystal Lake, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 5,374 students. McHenry County College has a less than one year and an associate's degree program in Administrative Assistant and Secretarial Science which graduated five and three students respectively in 2008.

Harper College - Palatine, IL

Harper College, 1200 W Algonquin Rd, Palatine, IL 60067-7398. Harper College is a large college located in Palatine, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 15,250 students. Harper College has an associate's degree program in Executive Assistant/Executive Secretary which graduated one student in 2008.

Morton College - Cicero, IL

Morton College, 3801 S Central Ave, Cicero, IL 60804-4398. Morton College is a small college located in Cicero, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 4,959 students. Morton College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Administrative Assistant and Secretarial Science which graduated five and six students respectively in 2008.

Fox College Inc - Oak Lawn, IL

Fox College Inc, 4201 W 93rd St, Oak Lawn, IL 60453. Fox College Inc is a small college located in Oak Lawn, Illinois. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs. It has 344 students and an admission rate of 69%. Fox College Inc has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Administrative Assistant and Secretarial Science which graduated nine and thirty students respectively in 2008.

Oakton Community College - Des Plaines, IL

Oakton Community College, 1600 E Golf Rd., Des Plaines, IL 60016-1268. Oakton Community College is a large college located in Des Plaines, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 10,552 students. Oakton Community College has 2 areas of study related to Secretary. They are:

  • Administrative Assistant and Secretarial Science, associate's degree which graduated 3 students in 2008.
  • Executive Assistant/Executive Secretary, less than one year which graduated 2 students in 2008.

National Latino Education Institute - Chicago, IL

National Latino Education Institute, 2011 W Pershing Rd, Chicago, IL 60609-2205. National Latino Education Institute is a small school located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily less-than 2-year programs. It has 116 students and an admission rate of 92%. National Latino Education Institute has a less than one year program in Administrative Assistant and Secretarial Science which graduated eleven students in 2008.

Zarem Golde ORT Technical Institute - Skokie, IL

Zarem Golde ORT Technical Institute, 5440 Fargo Avenue, Skokie, IL 60077. Zarem Golde ORT Technical Institute is a small school located in Skokie, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs. It has 289 students and an admission rate of 94%. Zarem Golde ORT Technical Institute has a less than one year program in Executive Assistant/Executive Secretary.

College of DuPage - Glen Ellyn, IL

College of DuPage, 425 Fawell Blvd., Glen Ellyn, IL 60137-6599. College of DuPage is a large college located in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 25,668 students. College of DuPage has less than one year, one to two year, and associate's degree programs in Administrative Assistant and Secretarial Science which graduated fifty, four, and seven students respectively in 2008.

CET-Chicago - Chicago, IL

CET-Chicago, 3333 W. Arthington Ste 510, Chicago, IL 60624. CET-Chicago is a small school located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily less-than 2-year programs and has 371 students. CET-Chicago has a one to two year program in Administrative Assistant and Secretarial Science.

College of Court Reporting Inc - Hobart, IN

College of Court Reporting Inc, 111 W 10th St Ste 111, Hobart, IN 46342. College of Court Reporting Inc is a small college located in Hobart, Indiana. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs and has 263 students. College of Court Reporting Inc has a one to two year program in Administrative Assistant and Secretarial Science.

Robert Morris College - Chicago, IL

Robert Morris College, 401 S State Street, Chicago, IL 60605. Robert Morris College is a small college located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 4,555 students and an admission rate of 79%. Robert Morris College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Administrative Assistant and Secretarial Science.

East-West University - Chicago, IL

East-West University, 816 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60605. East-West University is a small university located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 1,234 students. East-West University has an associate's degree program in Administrative Assistant and Secretarial Science.

South Suburban College - South Holland, IL

South Suburban College, 15800 South State Street, South Holland, IL 60473-1200. South Suburban College is a medium sized college located in South Holland, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 7,105 students. South Suburban College has 2 areas of study related to Secretary. They are:

  • Administrative Assistant and Secretarial Science, less than one year which graduated 1 student in 2008.
  • Executive Assistant/Executive Secretary, less than one year and associate's degree which graduated two and one students respectively in 2008.

Joliet Junior College - Joliet, IL

Joliet Junior College, 1215 Houbolt Rd, Joliet, IL 60431-8938. Joliet Junior College is a large college located in Joliet, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 14,088 students. Joliet Junior College has an associate's degree program in Administrative Assistant and Secretarial Science which graduated four students in 2008.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Chicago, Illinois

Chicago, Illinois
Chicago, Illinois photo by Dschwen

Chicago is situated in Cook County, Illinois. It has a population of over 2,853,114, which has shrunk by 1.5% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Chicago, 114, is well above the national average. New single-family homes in Chicago are valued at $200,500 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, three hundred eighty-one new homes were built in Chicago, down from eight hundred seventy the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Chicago are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 35 minutes. More than 25.5% of Chicago residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 10.0%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Chicago is 11.6%, which is greater than Illinois's average of 10.5%.

The percentage of Chicago residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 57.6%, is more than both the national and state average. Southlawn United Methodist Church, Southern Missionary Baptist Church and Lakeside Evangelical Church are all churches located in Chicago. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Muslim Estimate and the Lutheran Church.

Chicago is home to the Five Crossings and the Wrigley Field as well as Monticello Park and Wilson Playground. Shopping centers in the area include Lincoln Village Shopping Center, Market Place at Six Corners Shopping Center and Kimbark Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Chicago can choose from Extended Stay America, Embassy Suites Lakefront and Cottage Inn for temporary stays in the area.