Are you passionate about working with children and want to make a difference in their lives?
Becoming a school secretary may be the perfect career for you.
School secretaries play an important role in the day-to-day operations of a school.
If you’re responsible and organized and have the right skills, a career as a school secretary could be perfect for you.
Table Of Contents
- What is a School Secretary?
- Work Opportunities in the School Secretary Industry
- What It’s Like to be a School Secretary
- How Much Do School Secretaries Make?
- Overview of the School Secretary Industry
- Requirements, Skills and Education Required for School Secretaries
- School Secretary Education & Schooling
- Become a School Secretary
- Wrapping Up
What is a School Secretary?
The school secretary handles providing administrative and clerical support to the school office.
Duties include answering telephones, greeting visitors, managing student records, and handling correspondence.
The school secretary is often the first point of contact for parents and students and must be able to effectively communicate with them.
School Secretary Job Description & Responsibilities
School secretaries perform administrative tasks in schools.
School secretaries perform important administrative tasks which help in the day-to-day running of a school, enabling teachers and teaching assistants to perform their jobs efficiently.
They ensure that the school environment runs as smoothly as possible and allow teachers to focus their energies purely on providing children with an education, rather than worrying about keeping records and other vital yet time-consuming tasks.
A school secretary provides a warm and welcoming face to members of the general public as well as providing comfort and reassurance to pupils throughout the school day.
School secretaries work in all kinds of schools, including small, rural primary schools and large comprehensive schools located in city centres.
The tasks performed will differ depending upon the environment but, regardless of the type of school employing the secretary, their role is vital to the overall performance of the institution.
The majority of school secretaries are women and the job appeals in particular to women with school-age children, since they are not required to work during the school holidays.
The typical tasks undertaken by school secretaries include:
- Drafting and typing up official letters
- Writing and distributing school bulletins
- Compiling reports accurately and efficiently
- Printing and photocopying documents of all kinds
- Creating pupil grade reports
- Filing pupil reports and other documents
- Answering the phone
- Opening the post
- Dealing with outgoing post
- Dealing with queries and complaints
- Taking messages for teachers
- Greeting parents and other individuals who arrive at the school
- Ensuring that visitors sign the appropriate visitors’ book
- Providing visitors with appropriate directions and helping them move around the school
- Updating records which relate to both pupils and staff members
- Assessing the performance of different aspects of the school
- Writing reports on the findings of these assessments
- Taking accurate minutes at meetings and subsequently typing them up
- Updating school prospectuses
- Ordering new supplies of items including stationery
- Administering First Aid to children
- Looking after children in the sick room
- Paying bills and keeping financial records updated
- Paying cash into the appropriate accounts
- Dealing with funds for school meals and school trips
- Dealing with funds for bus passes and making sure the appropriate child is given the correct pass
- Organising the running of school clubs and school trips
- Liaising with teachers, parents, and other professionals including social workers
- Recording and storing lost property
Work Opportunities in the School Secretary Industry
If you’re interested in becoming a school secretary, there are many different opportunities available to you.
Let’s explore these options a bit further.
Top School Secretary Jobs and Careers
Some of the top school secretary jobs and careers include:
- Office administrator
- School office manager
- Senior school administrator
Where Can a School Secretary Work?
School secretaries can work in various settings, including:
- Elementary schools
- Middle schools
- High schools
- Private schools
- Charter schools
- Magnets schools
- Online schools
What It’s Like to be a School Secretary
It’s important to know what the job of a school secretary entails before you decide to become one.
The following information will give you a good idea of what the job is like and whether or not it’s right for you.
Interview: What’s It Really Like?
Jenny held the position of school secretary for eighteen years before retiring.
After leaving school Jenny attended Art College and worked as a graphic designer for a total of six years.
She decided to give up this position in order to become a full-time mum but after several years she made the decision to work for a playgroup.
Jenny worked for the playgroup for about five years before deciding to become a school secretary in a small local primary school.
During a typical day at work, Jenny performed numerous administrative tasks.
These tasks included overseeing school admissions, writing letters to parents and governors, photocopying documents of all kinds, and maintaining the accuracy of the school database.
She was also responsible for the collection and banking of pupils’ dinner money.
One of the most important tasks performed by Jenny was the organisation of school clubs and school trips.
Throughout the school day, she also cared for sick or injured children.
Perhaps most importantly, Jenny was always the first contact for parents and suppliers who had problems or general queries.
Jenny’s favourite aspect of her job was the unique ‘buzz’ of the school day.
She revelled in the atmosphere of the school and loved working with children.
Jenny also appreciated the contact and support that she had with teaching colleagues and also liked speaking with parents.
However, on the downside, Jenny found dealing with the ever-increasing amount of record-keeping frustrating and boring.
Jenny had some useful words of wisdom for individuals hoping to become school secretaries.
She believes that individuals should think about their choice of school very carefully.
For example any discord between staff or governors can impact negatively upon the day-to-day workings of the job.
Furthermore, when dealing with children in distress, whether it is emotional or physical distress, it is important to be able to multi-task efficiently.
It is also important to be able to remain calm and professional in stressful circumstances.
The ability to keep confidential and sensitive information private is also necessary for anyone considering this role.
Jenny believes that you should not even consider applying for a role as a school secretary if you are not comfortable with the thought of being among children at all times.
Although Jenny is now retired, she did at one time consider applying for a related position such as a medical or dental receptionist.
Is Being a School Secretary Hard?
Working as a school secretary can be challenging at times, but it is also very rewarding.
You will be the first point of contact for many people, and you will need to be able to handle a variety of tasks.
Is a School Secretary’s Job Stressful?
Working as a school secretary can be very stressful.
There are many things that you have to do in order to keep the school running smoothly.
If something goes wrong, it can be very stressful.
Common School Secretary Work Day
School secretaries generally work a standard eight-hour day.
But some may have to work early morning or evening hours to attend meetings or perform other duties.
Let’s explore the daily routine of school secretaries further to give you a better idea of what they do.
School Secretary Tasks & Duties
School secretaries typically arrive at their desks before the start of the school day to prepare for the day ahead.
They may have a variety of tasks to complete before the first bell rings.
These may include preparing attendance reports, answering phone calls, and sorting mail.
Once the school day begins, school secretaries are usually the first point of contact for students, parents, and visitors.
They may be responsible for greeting guests, answering questions, and directing school traffic.
Secretaries may also be responsible for managing student records, discipline, and coordinating events.
At the end of the school day, secretaries may have a few final tasks to complete before they can leave for the day.
These may include preparing for the next day, completing paperwork, and locking up the school.
School Secretary Work Hours & Schedule
Most school secretaries only work during term-time and full-time employees will be expected to work between the hours of 8am and 4pm.
School secretaries should be willing to work overtime at busy times, for instance the periods during which pupil grade reports are being compiled.
School secretaries work in a comfortable reception or office area but spend a lot of time on their feet.
The job can be stressful and entails a relatively large amount of responsibility.
However, many school secretaries find their role very rewarding and particularly enjoy having regular contact with children.
School Secretary Dress Code
As a school secretary, it is important to maintain a professional appearance.
Does This Career Field Embrace Work/Life Balance?
Working as a school secretary can be demanding and stressful.
But since they work standard hours, school secretaries often have better balance.
How Much Do School Secretaries Make?
Many school secretaries work on a part-time basis, choosing this role because of the flexibility and reliable source of income that it provides.
However, full-time school secretaries who are newly qualified can expect to earn the average salary of around $36k per year.
This figure is likely to increase after several years working in the role.
Salaries provided to individuals working in small primary schools may be lower than that paid to those working in large secondary schools.
Furthermore, school secretaries working in private schools can earn significantly more than their state school colleagues.
Like any career, you need to know what kind of income to expect as a school secretary.
Overview of the School Secretary Industry
In this section, you will learn about the school secretary industry.
We will cover its outlook, related careers, and more.
School Secretary Field: Career Progression
School secretaries who are seeking a slight change may choose simply to change their working environment.
For instance, they may move between a small, local primary school and a large secondary school.
Other opportunities which may be of interest to school secretaries include vacant positions in a medical administrative environment, for instance a dental secretary role.
School secretaries with a lot of experience may be promoted to become bursars or school business managers.
However, these opportunities often only exist in very large schools.
Is a School Secretary a Good Career?
Working as a school secretary can be a very rewarding career.
School secretaries play an important role in the day-to-day operations of a school.
So if you are looking for a career in which you can make a difference, working as a school secretary may be the perfect option for you.
School Secretary Job Outlook
The job outlook for school secretaries is positive.
Although the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a decline, there will still be more than 320,000 openings per year.
Demand for School Secretaries
The demand for school secretaries is expected to decline at an average of seven percent from 2020 to 2030.
School Secretary Facts
School secretaries typically work in the office of a school and are responsible for a variety of clerical tasks.
They may answer phones, take messages, maintain records, and handle other administrative tasks.
Currently, there are more than 238,000 school secretaries in the United States.
Jobs Related to School Secretary
Requirements, Skills and Education Required for School Secretaries
Get to know the requirements, skills and education necessary to be a school secretary.
Who Should Consider a School Secretary Career Path?
If you are interested in a career in education but do not want to be a teacher, working as a school secretary may be the perfect option for you.
Who Should NOT Consider a School Secretary Career Path?
School secretaries should be detail-oriented and organized individuals.
They need to handle a variety of tasks.
Those who do not possess these qualities may want to consider a different career path.
Is It Hard to Become a School Secretary?
But you do need certain skills to succeed.
What Do I Need to Become a School Secretary?
School secretaries need at least a high school diploma.
But some jobs may want postsecondary education or training.
They also need strong administrative, secretarial, and interpersonal skills.
Requirements for Becoming an School Secretary
To become a school secretary, you will likely need a high school diploma.
Some companies might prefer those who have some postsecondary education.
This may include secretarial training or an associate’s degree in office administration.
What Skills Does a School Secretary Need?
A school secretary must have excellent communication, interpersonal, and organizational skills.
School secretaries will need to possess the following skills:
- Good communication and interpersonal skills
- Good literacy skills
- Basic numeracy skills
- A confident telephone manner
- Good organisational skills
- Problem-solving skills
- The ability to work with children
- Good administrative skills
- Familiarity with computers and software programmes
- The ability to keep sensitive information confidential
- Tact and diplomacy
- A sensitive and approachable nature
- The ability to work well as part of a team
- Willingness to use own initiative
- The ability to remain calm under pressure
They must be able to type accurately and quickly, as well as have experience with computers and various software programs.
In addition, they must be able to handle multiple tasks simultaneously and stay calm under pressure.
What Education Does a School Secretary Need?
A school secretary typically needs at least a high school diploma.
But some jobs may require postsecondary education or specialized training.
Can You Become a School Secretary Without a Degree?
Yes. The majority of school secretaries have an associate degree.
But some may only have a high school diploma or GED.
What Experience Does a School Secretary Need?
Employers of school secretaries are often more interested in an applicant’s relevant experience than their relevant qualifications.
Any previous experience in a secretarial position will look good on a CV, as will evidence of having worked in a general office environment.
You could try to arrange work experience with a local school or, if this proves too inconvenient, you could try contacting any company which makes use of a secretary or receptionist.
School Secretary Education & Schooling
Now that you know what a school secretary does, you may be wondering what education and schooling is necessary to pursue this career.
What Is Taught in a School Secretary Course?
Most courses include:
- An introduction to the duties of a school secretary
- The importance of confidentiality
- Computers and office technology
- Filing systems
- School organization
- Communication skills
- Record keeping
How Long Does a School Secretary Course Take?
A normal school secretary course takes two years to complete.
But there are also one-year and four-year programs available.
School Secretary Education Options and Degree Programs
This four-year degree program is designed for those who wish to pursue a career in school administration or become a lead secretary.
A bachelor’s degree may be sufficient for some school secretary positions.
But many employers prefer candidates who have a master’s degree in education administration or a related field.
Schools for School Secretaries
There are many online courses you can take to get into the field of school secretary.
Become a School Secretary
If you’re ready to start a new career as a school secretary, you’ll need to follow a few steps.
Steps to Become a School Secretary
First, you’ll need to obtain the necessary education and training.
In addition to formal education, you’ll also need to develop some key skills.
These may include excellent communication, organizational, and customer service abilities.
Once you have the education and skills required to be a school secretary, you’ll need to find an open position.
You can search for open positions at schools in your area, or you can use an online job board.
Once you’ve found an open position, you’ll need to apply.
To increase your chances of being hired, be sure to highlight your education, training, and skills on your application and resume.
After you’ve applied, you may be asked to participate in an interview.
This is your opportunity to show the hiring manager that you’re the best candidate for the position.
Current Career Job Openings
Schools from all over the United States are looking for school secretaries.
Currently, there are openings in Idaho, California, Kentucky, Washington, and many more.
A school secretary is an important role in any educational institution.
If you are interested in being a school secretary, follow the steps provided above.
If you work hard and stay dedicated, you can achieve your career goals.