Secretaries provide administrative support for all types of organisations.

Average salary (a year)

£14,000 Starter


£25,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

37 to 39 a week

You could work

between 8am and 6pm

How to become a Secretary

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role
  • applying directly


You may find it useful to take a course in administration or secretarial skills. Colleges offer full-time and part-time courses, including awards, certificates and diplomas. Useful subjects include:

  • business administration
  • typing
  • audio transcription
  • computer skills
  • shorthand


A common way to become a secretary is to do a business administrator advanced apprenticeship.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), usually including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship

More information


You could start as an administration assistant and work towards this role.

Employers may be more interested in your computer, telephone and office skills than your formal qualifications, although you may be expected to have some GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) including English.

Volunteering and experience

Volunteering, for example with a charity, could help you to get some relevant experience. It's a good way of developing IT and office skills that are valued by employers.

Direct application

You could apply directly if you've got relevant skills and experience from working in an office.

You could also do a temping job to get into this kind of role. Temporary jobs can help you to build up your experience and could lead to permanent employment.

More information

Further information

You can find out more about becoming a secretary from The Institute of Administrative Management.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • administration skills
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to work well with others
  • the ability to work on your own
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • customer service skills
  • You will be expected to use a computer confidently as part of this job.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

Your day-to-day tasks could include:

  • being the first point of contact for visitors, phone calls and emails
  • arranging meetings and taking minutes
  • diary management and making travel arrangements
  • producing letters, reports, spreadsheets and invoices
  • updating records on IT systems
  • photocopying, printing and filing
  • handling confidential information

Working environment

You could work in an office.

Career path and progression

With experience, you could become a personal assistant or office manager.

You could also move into human resources work, or train as a legal or medical secretary.

Training opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Apprentice Admin Support Clerk

  • Wage : £13,091.40 Annually
  • Location: TN2 4QJ

School Office Apprentice

  • Wage : £177.00 Weekly
  • Location: Bedford MK40 4HN

Courses In England

Edexcel L1 BTEC Cert in Business Administration (Administration & IT) - Adult

  • Provider: Bridgwater and Taunton College
  • Start date: 09 September 2019
  • Location: Bridgwater

Level 2 Business Professional (Administration)

  • Provider: Eastleigh College
  • Start date: 09 September 2019
  • Location: Eastleigh

Get help using this service

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