College degree needed to be a secretary

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Bonnie in Greensburg, Pennsylvania

50 months ago

Anne in Littleton, Colorado said: If I was hiring an administrative person, I would look for the following qualities:

1. Outstanding organization
2. Personable
3. (Not a drama queen) -- calm, poised
4. Not a game player -- mature, doesn't gossip
5. Ability to contribute to positive environment
6. Ability to coordinate projects (and follow up) from start to finish without supervision
7. Excellent phone skills
8. Articulate
9. Good speller, good business math
10. Ability to develop rapport with clients, other VIPS etc. who may call in.
11. Good p.c. skills
12. Common sense

This is one person that has got it nailed down! Know this because I am a seasoned worker.

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Bluetea in Texas

50 months ago

Bonnie in Greensburg, Pennsylvania said: This is one person that has got it nailed down! Know this because I am a seasoned worker.

Lets not forget: * Must be willing to work nights, weekends and Christmas Day.

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35 years working in Willingboro, New Jersey

47 months ago

Scarlett said: Why is a college degree needed to be a secretary/receptionist/typist? What ever happened to life experience and good old fashioned common sense? I know the answer is that there is an overabundance of college degrees out there and, therefore, employees can now ask for degrees for the most menial jobs imaginable. When I got out of secretarial school, I taught myself, and was taught by some wonderful people on the job, pretty much all that I needed to know. I never got the sheepskin for financial and familial reasons and it now seems that I cannot compete anymore with all the freshly minted people coming out of colleges with BAs and above. How many employers really think that anyone with a BA is going to be content to be a secretary, or administrative assistant . Did they really lay out hundreds of thousands of dollars to be a glorified secretary? Will someone please explain to me why a degree is necessary to properly answer a phone, take accurate messages and compose and type correspondence. No, I certainly don’t know everything, but I love to read, and learn, and give me a day or two and I will be up to speed. Learning how to learn is just as important, if not more so, than where it was learned.

The name of the game is to get employees to wear as many hats as possible. The reason to expect a secretary to have a college degree is to get a mid-level manager AND secretary AND electronic documents manager AND receptionist, AND--the list goes on. Workers are being decimated and the only answer is for government to take a sharp turn to the left and claw back all the government functions that were "privatized" and outsourced. The only square deal I ever received was as a government employee.

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35 years working in Willingboro, New Jersey

47 months ago

Susan in Los Angeles, California said: Well, I am 54 years old. Looking for a fulltime Admin . with Accounting Skills position. I know computerized accounting skills. I am hoping that, along with my work experience, that by presenting myself in a well dressed professional manner, that will help me get a job. I am hoping that if I look polished, and have a nice personality, it may help me land a job being a person over 50. Any comments please?

I am in the same boat you are--over 50 and job hunting. EVERY recruiter I have met is younger than me and give me the "ick" look when they see me because of my age.

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Bluetea in Texas

47 months ago

35 years working in Willingboro, New Jersey said: I am in the same boat you are--over 50 and job hunting. EVERY recruiter I have met is younger than me and give me the "ick" look when they see me because of my age.

Yeah, I see the disappointment on their faces, the minute I enter the room. Its not like I am applying at Hooters either.

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denisemr in BISMARK, North Dakota

46 months ago

In response to your comment regarding potential employers requiring a "College Degree" for an Administrative Assistant position, I agree that a college degree is definitely not necessary. For those of us over 50 it is frustrating. I think that a big part of the problem resides within the mentality/work ethic of twenty-something years old. They not only have very poor manners (on the phone, in texting, facebook, etc.). The basics of good grammar, proper dress, vocabulary and penmanship to name some important skills/characteristics of an AA were not taught as being very important. At home or in school! I taught at a college and was appalled that students had the nerve to turn in a term paper scribbled on ruled paper ripped out of a spiral book! Needless to say it was unacceptable and they were required to hand in the paper type written, with a cover page.

Maybe employers are getting tired of the lack of manners, phone and personal interaction etiquette and knowledge of how to compose a basic letter! I still do not believe that college will teach those things. I also agree that someone who pursues a college degree does not do so to become an AA.

I do have a college degree in Dance and fell back on my secretarial skills to earn a livelihood when my body started to rebel! By the way, I am from NY and worked for a Fortune 500 Company for years before being "laid off"..... Now I am in ND and I must say, this is the place to be.

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Eugene in Detroit, Michigan

46 months ago

Well I'm going into the office administrative assistant field and I was wondering in todays economy is this in demand after I graduate college will I find a job in my field. And I also have some questions about college for example in college what type of courses do I need to take because a few colleges in Detroit said that I would need to take a administrative manager class and etc...... But latley. Been doin my research about this field and I think this that perfect fit for me so if your a office admin assistant please comment because I really need to know more THANKZ

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BxGal1018 in Bronx, New York

46 months ago

Thank you! I'm cut from the same cloth. Graduated high school, spent a year in secretarial school and hit the ground running when I left. Everything I learned to be an administrative assistant came from EXPERIENCE and learning along the way. That's all you needed to have secretarial jobs but NOW these employers want degrees and particularly "recent college grads". Excuse me? Isn't that discriminatory? Also, as you pointed, why spend all that money going to school for 4 years just to type and answer phones? That doesn't make sense! I'm sick of it. Not knocking college grads but those who have been in the workforce for a long time are getting screwed these days.

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Kenjune in Okc, Oklahoma

36 months ago

Reading all of your comments, suggestions, advice, and experiences about this field has caused me to have second thoughts. I am 45 years old and have recently decided to pursue (for the moment) an Associates Degree in Administrative Office Technology, debating on pursuing a BA in the future. Many comments on here seem to think it will be useless at my age. I felt it would be worthwhile if not for credentials, at least for the education and knowledge. I am currently an Admin Assistant and have discovered how much I enjoy it. Please elaborate or newly respond on whether you believe this would be a good step at this point in my life.

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parrothead in Charlotte, North Carolina

36 months ago

Kenjune in Okc, Oklahoma said: Reading all of your comments, suggestions, advice, and experiences about this field has caused me to have second thoughts. I am 45 years old and have recently decided to pursue (for the moment) an Associates Degree in Administrative Office Technology, debating on pursuing a BA in the future. Many comments on here seem to think it will be useless at my age. I felt it would be worthwhile if not for credentials, at least for the education and knowledge. I am currently an Admin Assistant and have discovered how much I enjoy it. Please elaborate or newly respond on whether you believe this would be a good step at this point in my life.

It would depend on what they are teaching these days in Administrative Office Technology.

I have recently been hired as an Admin. The tasks I'm asked to do vary from payroll entries, to heavy e-calendar management. And assorted tasks in-between, of varying complexity and in different areas of knowledge (basic copying, scanning, PowerPoint, event planning, etc.) The job does require a Bachelor's degree which I do have. It also requires strong skills in all office applications (Microsoft.)

It seems that, more and more, due to reduction in staff, admins are tasked with HR, Accounting, Marketing, and Sales functions. Any and all experience in any of those areas is of benefit. (I also don't include more than 10 years of experience in my resume. Most companies aren't interested and I use this to my advantage!)

Employers usually have different pay scales for jobs, depending on the education level. Having a Bachelor's degree has given me a foot in the door and the chance to obtain higher pay for jobs that were in some cases, advertised at lower pay scales.

I got my degree for me, back in my early 30's. I'm now in my late 50's. It's definitely paid off!

best of luck!

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panjakirevasan in Singapore, Singapore

32 months ago

I need admin job

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20/f in Worthington, Minnesota

23 months ago

You all literally just made me feel like crap I was thinking of going to school and get my A.A.S I adminstrative assistance or medical secretary. I came upon this forum and all of you are really negative on age. In this world the more education you have the better the pay and the more chance you have in advancing. Now I feel like id be discriminated with the people that have been in the companies longer just because id have my associates and because of my age.

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Brian in Hummelstown, Pennsylvania

23 months ago

I started out getting a certification through tnaoap, then acquired my associates while working. Its a tough road to work full time and attend school but I know a lot of people who do it. Don't let the age factor get you down, it just takes time to gain experience.

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uberlurker1 in Interlochen, Michigan

22 months ago

Brian in Hummelstown, Pennsylvania said: I started out getting a certification through tnaoap, then acquired my associates while working. Its a tough road to work full time and attend school but I know a lot of people who do it. Don't let the age factor get you down, it just takes time to gain experience.

**TNAOAP (and tnaoap.org / tnaoap.com) is a scam.** They are not a legitimate credentialing organization, and all of the comments from "members" throughout the internet are planted by the company, and they don't go back any further than three months ago. Neither does their website, Facebook page, or Twitter page. For a company that claims to have been around since 1993, 2015 is pretty late to be gaining a web presence. When you eliminate hits from their own website, there are only about 1000 hits from google, and many of them are web analytics pages.

There are also (at least) three reddit users I've found so far that are very obviously posting the same sort of comments within reddit, and not-so-coincidentally, all three user accounts are less than a month old and the names are similar to the user names for the internet commenters that discuss this organization.

TNAOAP is not a US registered business or nonprofit despite being located in Pennsylvania. Please do not pay money to this BS "organization." I have personally seen their materials and taken their tests, and it is consistent with the shadiness I've discussed above.

Associated names: Brian Basehore, Cindy Carter, CindyHRRep, Sandi_Li, Sandi_Lil, MandiL623

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2Legit in Pamplico, South Carolina

22 months ago

Scarlett said: Why is a college degree needed to be a secretary/receptionist/typist? What ever happened to life experience and good old fashioned common sense? I know the answer is that there is an overabundance of college degrees out there and, therefore, employees can now ask for degrees for the most menial jobs imaginable. When I got out of secretarial school, I taught myself, and was taught by some wonderful people on the job, pretty much all that I needed to know. I never got the sheepskin for financial and familial reasons and it now seems that I cannot compete anymore with all the freshly minted people coming out of colleges with BAs and above. How many employers really think that anyone with a BA is going to be content to be a secretary, or administrative assistant . Did they really lay out hundreds of thousands of dollars to be a glorified secretary? Will someone please explain to me why a degree is necessary to properly answer a phone, take accurate messages and compose and type correspondence. No, I certainly don’t know everything, but I love to read, and learn, and give me a day or two and I will be up to speed. Learning how to learn is just as important, if not more so, than where it was learned.

1. College degree nowadays is like a filter - companies use it to weed out employees. You have college degree? You may proceed with application process. No degree? You may not pass forward.
2. Common sense and such? Yeah, disappointing world we live in. You can't just give a well-written resume to the person in charge at most big places. They want a Taleo application or Brass Ring app and it can take 6 months for them to get back with you. It sucks.

If you're really interested in secretarial type stuff, try getting a job at a call center or something like that...

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Monz in Chicago, Illinois

17 months ago

ddpete in Olathe, Kansas said: Amen, sister! I have 34 years of office experience, graduated high school with straight A's, took some courses in night school ( community college ), and I don't feel a 20-something college grad has any better skills, knowledge, or experience than I do when it comes to providing Administrative Assistance or Office Management.

I think companies use the degree as a screening tool - to discourage the "older", or even less affluent person from applying for the job. But I believe that experience, skills, professional appearance, and communication trump a four-year degree ANY DAY! We didn't all have the same opportunities in life, believe it or not! And back when I started working, you didn't NEED a degree to be a Professional Secretary or Admin . Assistant .

TRUE TRUE TRUE !!!!!

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Roy in Lindenhurst, New York

10 months ago

College Graduate in Albuquerque, New Mexico said: OK! See, we educated people argue too much! :). This is why, education is key! Look around you - everyone with a nice car, job, clothes, etc. well they went to school. Sorry, but it is the America way of life! College degree equals job chances equals security equal YOU WILL BE RESPECTED by others. Respected because you are EDUCATED! People that do not have degrees, meant know more... However, you have to prove it! My degree says, I am the boss! Sorry, but True!

Haha, that's a laugh. Many college graduates are working at McDonalds because there's no jobs for them. Colleges are nothing but a mill. They'll give a degree out to any moron, granted they have the money to pay for these overpriced pieces of paper.

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Ashia Dee Bass in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

9 months ago

Here is what I do, and don't have a college degree to do it:

Heavy Calendar Management
Heavy Travel (Domestic and International) Air, Hotel & Ground transportation
Heavy Phones
Setup Board Meetings, Weekly Staff Meetings, Teleconference Meetings, WebEx Meetings
Setup visitors in Security, meet and greet visitors and escort to conf. room
Work in multiple time zones when setting up meetings
Microsoft Word, PowerPoint (I can actually CREATE a full Presentation), Excel, Access & Outlook
Payroll
Concur
Ariba
Can communicate with Sr. Level Executives
Have go-to contacts for those in Security, Facilities, IT, Mailroom, Cafeteria & HelpDesk
Run behind my boss after every meeting so that she isn't late for the next one
Work with Facilities because Managers want shelves in the closet for promotional materials
Order supplies on a monthly basis, BUT, looking to see what materials can be used instead of buying new ($$$ SAVER)
Ensure all office equipment is in working order
Check Fax/Copy/Scan machines to ensure all paper stock and toners are stocked accordingly
Research venues for team outings/dinners
Check, and check and check calendar, KNOWING what meetings to move/reschedule when more important ones need to be scheduled
KNOWING the language of the company
Working with IT and convey any company-wide changes of systems to my team so that they are aware and up-to-date on specific training

NONE OF THOSE THINGS REQUIRE MY NEEDING A DEGREE!!!!! And that's not even HALF of all that I do!

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Ashia Dee Bass in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

9 months ago

*** I'm in NEW YORK *** Main office is in PA

The other things I do is work with those that DO have degrees and can't figure out the simplest of things.

1) I keep getting these outside calls, but I don't know the number to the operator to transfer them to. What is the operator's number? ***ALL us EA's got a kick out of THAT one! We laughed SO hard!

2) How do I use the fax machine, is it face up or face down? ***It tells you right there on the machine, Hon!

3) I'm scheduling a lunch meeting with my team here, but for my other team members that work from home, as an incentive, I'd like for them to be included. ***Okay, number one, how would I explain this entry on your expenses, you paying for lunch for your out-of-state team members. Also, quite frankly, they already have an incentive - they get to work from home every day. They can make a sandwhich and join the meeting via video.

4) An EA on another team supported a VP from out-of-state. The woman visited our office, and because she didn't want her 2-month old baby to do without, the EA was asked to next-day the VP's breast milk home. ***I'm done!

All this from The Mighty Minds of those with College Degrees!

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Admin to Analyst experience in Norwalk, Connecticut

7 months ago

I wanted to share this story, I was a senior administrator for many years. I had to take on higher level work for the most part and I worked for all the large fortune 500 companies. In my 40's I started getting laid off. So, I started doing Coordinator roles, most recently I did an Analyst role. Keep in mind I have no degree, just years of training, a secretarial school and legal assistant training.Some college. About a year or so ago, I was laid off again, from an admin role. I was fortunate to find a contract at an Analyst. Wow, what a difference the level of respect and how people treated me was a complete 360. When I shared with the admins at the company,that I was an Admin. Assistant they were surprised. I am posting this for all those who have been discarded from Corp. America due to age, etc. lack of degree, there is hope. Now I apply to Coordinator roles, or Analyst roles. They pay better and you are respected more then being an Admin. Although some of the companies treated me very well in the old days, I think those days are gone. I don't think a Degree should be a requirement for an Admin/secretarial job. If you have a degree, take a higher level job and get the pay that goes with it. Most admin. assistant's have plenty of college level experience, don't let the HR people and agents push the "degree thing" they only get away with it because the economy is poor still and it has not recovered. HR teams are coming up with too many lengthly criteria and hiring processes making it harder to get permanent jobs. Agencies are lowering salaries to you, so they can make more commission. Apply to companies directly, as some agents are just collecting resumes. I don't think companies want to pay commissions so much anymore. It's fine if you want the degree, but use it to get a higher level role.

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Martha in Seattle, Washington

5 months ago

I'm going to heavily borrow from this list the next time I'm asked "Why should we hire you?"

Anne in Littleton, Colorado said: If I was hiring an administrative person, I would look for the following qualities:

1. Outstanding organization
2. Personable
3. (Not a drama queen) -- calm, poised
4. Not a game player -- mature, doesn't gossip
5. Ability to contribute to positive environment
6. Ability to coordinate projects (and follow up) from start to finish without supervision
7. Excellent phone skills
8. Articulate
9. Good speller, good business math
10. Ability to develop rapport with clients, other VIPS etc. who may call in.
11. Good p.c. skills
12. Common sense[/QUOTE

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