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Career and Education Opportunities for Secretaries in Boston, Massachusetts

For those living in the Boston, Massachusetts area, there are many career and education opportunities for secretaries. There are currently 41,820 jobs for secretaries in Massachusetts and this is projected to shrink by 5% to about 39,800 jobs by 2016. 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. 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.

A person working as a secretary can expect to earn about $17 per hour or $36,300 annually on average in Massachusetts and about $13 hourly or $29,050 per year on average in the U.S. as a whole. Secretaries earn less than people working in the category of Secretarial generally in Massachusetts and less than people in the Secretarial category nationally.

There are nine schools within twenty-five miles of Boston where you can study to be a secretary, among 151 schools of higher education total in the Boston area. Secretaries usually hold a high school diploma or GED, so you can expect to spend only a short time training to become 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 Boston 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.
  • 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

Millennium Training Institute - Woburn, MA

Millennium Training Institute, 600 West Cummings Park, Suite 2550, Woburn, MA 01801. Millennium Training Institute is a small school located in Woburn, Massachusetts. It is a private for-profit school with primarily less-than 2-year programs. It has 107 students and an admission rate of 83%. Millennium Training Institute has a less than one year program in Administrative Assistant and Secretarial Science which graduated twenty-nine students in 2008.

Gibbs College-Boston - Boston, MA

Gibbs College-Boston, 126 Newbury Street, Boston, MA 02116. Gibbs College-Boston is a small college located in Boston, Massachusetts. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs and has 264 students. Gibbs College-Boston has a less than one year program in Administrative Assistant and Secretarial Science which graduated twenty-one students in 2008.

Massasoit Community College - Brockton, MA

Massasoit Community College, One Massasoit Boulevard, Brockton, MA 02302-3996. Massasoit Community College is a medium sized college located in Brockton, Massachusetts. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 7,394 students. Massasoit 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.

Fisher College - Boston, MA

Fisher College, 118 Beacon St, Boston, MA 02116. Fisher College is a small college located in Boston, Massachusetts. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,262 students and an admission rate of 62%. Fisher College has 2 areas of study related to Secretary. They are:

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

Roxbury Community College - Roxbury Crossing, MA

Roxbury Community College, 1234 Columbus Ave, Roxbury Crossing, MA 02120-3400. Roxbury Community College is a small college located in Roxbury Crossing, Massachusetts. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 2,561 students. Roxbury Community College has 2 areas of study related to Secretary. They are:

  • Administrative Assistant and Secretarial Science, less than one year which graduated 5 students in 2008.
  • Executive Assistant/Executive Secretary, associate's degree.

North Shore Community College - Danvers, MA

North Shore Community College, 1 Ferncroft Rd, Danvers, MA 01923-0840. North Shore Community College is a medium sized college located in Danvers, Massachusetts. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 7,223 students. North Shore Community College has an associate's degree program in Executive Assistant/Executive Secretary which graduated five students in 2008.

Bunker Hill Community College - Boston, MA

Bunker Hill Community College, 250 New Rutherford Ave, Boston, MA 02129-2925. Bunker Hill Community College is a medium sized college located in Boston, Massachusetts. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 9,500 students. Bunker Hill Community College has an associate's degree program in Executive Assistant/Executive Secretary which graduated three students in 2008.

Salter College-West Boylston - West Boylston, MA

Salter College-West Boylston, 184 West Boylston Suite # 1, West Boylston, MA 01583. Salter College-West Boylston is a small college located in West Boylston, Massachusetts. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs and has 852 students. Salter College-West Boylston has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Executive Assistant/Executive Secretary which graduated twenty-five and six students respectively in 2008.

Sullivan and Cogliano Training Center - Brockton, MA

Sullivan and Cogliano Training Center, 365 Westgate Drive, Brockton, MA 02301-1822. Sullivan and Cogliano Training Center is a small school located in Brockton, Massachusetts. It is a private for-profit school with primarily less-than 2-year programs and has 547 students. Sullivan and Cogliano Training Center has a less than one year program in Executive Assistant/Executive Secretary which graduated six students in 2008.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Boston, Massachusetts

Boston, Massachusetts
Boston, Massachusetts photo by Ahonc

Boston is situated in Suffolk County, Massachusetts. It has a population of over 609,023, which has grown by 3.4% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Boston, 136, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in Boston are valued at $216,200 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, twenty-three new homes were constructed in Boston, down from forty-eight the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Boston are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, educational services, and accommodation and food services. The average travel time to work is about 29 minutes. More than 35.6% of Boston residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 15.3%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Boston is 8.2%, which is less than Massachusetts's average of 8.4%.

The percentage of Boston residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 60.0%, is more than the national average but less than the state average. Brighton Congregational Church, Leslie Lindsay Chapel and Universalist Meeting House are some of the churches located in Boston. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Muslim Estimate and the Episcopal Church.

Boston is home to the Metropolitan Water Works Pumping Stations and the Mystic Pier 1 as well as Schoolboy Stadium and Liberty Square. Shopping centers in the area include Legion Shopping Center, Longwood Galleria Shopping Center and Neponset Circle Shopping Center. Visitors to Boston can choose from Federalist Restaurant, Eco-Logical Solutions and Omni Parker Hotel for temporary stays in the area.