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Career and Education Opportunities for Secretaries in Columbia, Maryland

Secretary career and educational opportunities abound in Columbia, Maryland. Currently, 38,370 people work as secretaries in Maryland. This is expected to grow by 3% to 39,360 people by 2016. This is not quite as good as the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for secretaries are expected to grow by about 4.6%. Secretaries generally perform routine clerical and administrative functions such as drafting correspondence, scheduling appointments, organizing and maintaining paper and electronic files, or providing information to callers.

The income of a secretary is about $16 hourly or $34,330 annually on average in Maryland. In the U.S. as a whole, their income is about $13 hourly or $29,050 yearly on average. Earnings for secretaries are not quite as good as earnings in the general category of Secretarial in Maryland and not quite as good as general Secretarial category earnings nationally.

The Columbia area is home to 109 schools of higher education, including seven within twenty-five miles of Columbia where you can get a degree as a secretary. Secretaries usually hold a high school diploma or GED, so you can expect to spend only a short time studying 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 Columbia 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.
  • 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.
  • Production Proofreader. Read transcript or proof type setup to detect and mark for correction any grammatical, typographical, or compositional errors.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Secretary Training

The Community College of Baltimore County - Baltimore, MD

The Community College of Baltimore County, 7201 Rossville Blvd., Baltimore, MD 21237. The Community College of Baltimore County is a large college located in Baltimore, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 20,673 students. The Community College of Baltimore County has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Administrative Assistant and Secretarial Science which graduated two and three students respectively in 2008.

TESST College of Technology-Towson - Towson, MD

TESST College of Technology-Towson, 803 Glen Eagles Ct, Towson, MD 21286-2201. TESST College of Technology-Towson is a small college located in Towson, Maryland. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs and has 419 students. TESST College of Technology-Towson has a less than one year program in Administrative Assistant and Secretarial Science.

University of the District of Columbia - Washington, DC

University of the District of Columbia, 4200 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008. University of the District of Columbia is a medium sized university located in Washington, District of Columbia. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 5,339 students. University of the District of Columbia has an associate's degree and a bachelor's degree program in Administrative Assistant and Secretarial Science which graduated four and two students respectively in 2008.

Baltimore City Community College - Baltimore, MD

Baltimore City Community College, 2901 Liberty Hts Ave, Baltimore, MD 21215-7893. Baltimore City Community College is a medium sized college located in Baltimore, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 6,884 students. Baltimore City Community College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Administrative Assistant and Secretarial Science which graduated four and nine students respectively in 2008.

Prince George's Community College - Largo, MD

Prince George's Community College, 301 Largo Rd, Largo, MD 20774-2199. Prince George's Community College is a large college located in Largo, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 12,005 students. Prince George's Community College has a one to two year program in Administrative Assistant and Secretarial Science.

Carroll Community College - Westminster, MD

Carroll Community College, 1601 Washington Rd, Westminster, MD 21157. Carroll Community College is a small college located in Westminster, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 3,453 students. Carroll Community College has a one to two year program in Administrative Assistant and Secretarial Science which graduated one student in 2008.

Howard Community College - Columbia, MD

Howard Community College, 10901 Little Patuxent Pkwy, Columbia, MD 21044-3197. Howard Community College is a medium sized college located in Columbia, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 7,905 students. Howard Community College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Administrative Assistant and Secretarial Science which graduated zero and two students respectively in 2008.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Columbia, Maryland

Columbia, Maryland
Columbia, Maryland photo by Jeff Kubina

Columbia is located in Howard County, Maryland. It has a population of over 96,421. The cost of living index in Columbia, 100, is near the national average.

The three most popular industries for women in Columbia are educational services, health care, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, public administration, and educational services. The average travel time to work is about 30 minutes. More than 59.0% of Columbia residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 28.7%, is higher than the state average.

The percentage of Columbia residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 49.3%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. Abiding Savior Lutheran Church, Atholton Seventh Day Adventist Church and Long Reach Interfaith Center are all churches located in Columbia. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the United Methodist Church and the Southern Baptist Convention.

Columbia is home to the Symphony Woods Office Center and the Rivers Corporate Park as well as Middle Patuxent Environmental Area and Clarksville Environmental Area. Shopping centers in the area include Governor Century Plaza Shopping Center, Atholton Shopping Center and Owen Brown Village Shopping Center. Visitors to Columbia can choose from PFMG, Courtyard by Marriott and Hilton Inn Columbia for temporary stays in the area.