Online Class: General Secretary 101

In this General Secretary course, you will learn the foundational skills that all secretaries should have when they are sitting behind a desk.

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Course Description

Unlocking the Potential of the Modern Secretary: From Basics to Brilliance

The term "secretary" might evoke a certain image, but in today's multifaceted corporate world, the roles and responsibilities of these essential team members have evolved profoundly. If you're not yet acquainted with the nuanced dynamics of today's administrative roles, this comprehensive course promises a transformative dive into the expansive realm of secretarial responsibilities.

Course Overview:

The Panorama of Administrative Roles: While some use 'secretary' as a catch-all term, the corporate sphere boasts a myriad of specialized administrative titles. Whether it's the General Secretary, Administrative Assistant, Executive Assistant, or Legal Secretary, each title carries its distinct responsibilities and caters to specific industry needs. This course demystifies these roles, offering keen insights into their intricacies.

The Quintessential General Secretary: A General Secretary is not just a gatekeeper but a linchpin in the smooth functioning of an organization. From facilitating valuable interactions with clients to meticulously handling the smallest of office details, they embody the very essence of effective organization. We shed light on how their multifarious roles can create ripples of efficiency throughout an organization.

Emerging Opportunities & Career Progression: The journey of a General Secretary is filled with opportunities for growth. Whether transitioning into an Office Manager, spearheading a team, or adopting specialized roles, the sky's the limit. We'll walk you through the potential avenues of progression, emphasizing that starting as a secretary can be a strategic move toward climbing the corporate ladder.

Course Modules:

  1. The Essence of a General Secretary: Dive deep into the core responsibilities and the pivotal role they play in an organization.
  2. Secretarial Spectrum: Explore the myriad of administrative roles, their distinctions, and overlaps.
  3. Reception Mastery: Perfect the art of handling phones and visitors.
  4. Ace at Scheduling: Manage calendars with finesse.
  5. Travel Arrangements Demystified: Plan and execute flawless travel itineraries.
  6. Word Processing Wonders: Enhance documentation skills.
  7. File System Management: Organize, retrieve, and maintain documents seamlessly.
  8. Spreadsheets Simplified: Navigate data with ease.
  9. Crafting Correspondence: Communicate effectively through written mediums.
  10. Dictation Dynamics: Transcribe with accuracy.
  11. Mastering Office Equipment: From basic to advanced, know your tools.
  12. Effective Communication Skills: Harness the power of verbal and non-verbal cues.
  13. Time Management Triumphs: Boost productivity and manage time effectively.
  14. Handling Difficult Situations: Navigate challenges with tact and diplomacy.
  15. Training vs. Experience Debate: Discover what holds more weight in the corporate realm.

In this age where roles are continually evolving, understanding the significance and potential of the modern secretary is paramount. Through this course, we aim to not just inform but inspire, illustrating that the journey of a secretary is one of limitless potential and profound impact. Join us and redefine what it means to be a 'secretary' in today's world.


Course Motivation

What is a General Secretary?
A person who is unsure about the idea of a general secretary may find it easier to learn about the different kinds of administrative positions in order to appreciate the differences.

Types of Administrative Support

As with every job, you might find different titles for the role of a secretary, and with good reason. Because different companies need different kinds of administrative support, the staff is named accordingly.

Some of the most common administrative titles include:

  • general secretary;
  • administrative assistant;
  • clerical support staff;
  • executive assistant;
  • legal assistant;
  • legal secretary.

These roles might have similar job duties associated with them, as well as more market-specific duties; i.e., medical record filing for those who are in a health care-related field.

The key differences in the roles above include the idea that the executive assistant can also be a manager of sorts in the office.  This assistant might have supervisory tasks to complete, but this can also be possible for any other titles.

In addition, the legal secretary and assistant will be focused on legal tasks, such as going to court or traveling to find certain documents or evidence for lawyers.

When you are hired in as a general secretary, it can help to get a complete list of the tasks you will complete, as this will determine the type of role you might have in your company. 

Where General Secretaries Are Valuable

Indeed, it is no surprise to people that a general secretary is someone who can add value to a company.  Because the upper management and other key members of the company may have more tasks to accomplish, they need someone else to handle the basic tasks.

In covering the secretary tasks:

  • Secretaries can interact with customers. Because others in the company might need to focus on other tasks in their work, they may not have time to interact with customers in a meaningful way. This can make customers feel distanced, while the secretary can speak to the customers directly and help to bridge any real or perceived gap in communication.
  • Secretaries can focus on details. While others might be tasked with larger projects, the secretary can handle the details that support the possibility of these projects being productive.  For example, while it might not seem important to order coffee, an office that runs out in the middle of a project may not be as effective.
  • The secretary can set up appointments and control schedules. The control of a calendar may not seem like a mighty task, until you try to manage your own when you are busy. Instead, a secretary can be taught the rules of the calendar and then follow those rules in order to ensure the calendar is smooth.
  • Administrative personnel can help others make the most of their time. Without the need to focus on minor details and tasks, those who have to manage largely creative tasks and projects will be able to keep their focus in the proper direction.

There are a number of industries in which a general secretary will find himself or herself valuable.

  • Health care;
  • Finance;
  • Legal firms;
  • Non-profit organizations;
  • Real estate offices.

Of course, this is a small sampling of places where secretaries can find work that allows them to be helpful and supportive in ways the company might not be able to handle on its own.

Indeed, it can be said that most companies could and do make use of secretaries in one way or another, no matter what title they give them. 

How a General Secretary Moves Up

That said, you might be concerned about the idea that a person might be "only" a secretary when she or he starts in that role and then becomes skilled in the role.

This is certainly not the only route a person with administrative skills and experience can take.

Instead, a general secretary might become an office manager, taking on more responsibility in an organization, or this person can also become a team leader.

When you are in the general secretary role, you are getting the experience of managing resources, while also being able to help out those who are in bigger roles that might need further assistance in the future.

That need may come with a shiny new job title.

In many companies, the general secretary role is the entry-level role, certainly, but it is also the foot in the door that outsiders may not be privy to. 


The general secretary is highly valuable in today's market, even with the various kinds of titles that can be used.

Being a general secretary can open up employment doors in the future, often at the same company.
  • Completely Online
  • Self-Paced
  • 6 Months to Complete
  • 24/7 Availability
  • Start Anytime
  • PC & Mac Compatible
  • Android & iOS Friendly
  • Accredited CEUs
Universal Class is an IACET Accredited Provider

Course Lessons

Average Lesson Rating:
4.3 / 5 Stars (Average Rating)
"Extraordinarily Helpful"
(4,867 votes)

Lesson 1: What a General Secretary Is

For the person who is unsure about the idea of a general secretary, you may find it easier to learn what the different kinds of administrative positions are, so you can appreciate the differences. 11 Total Points
  • Lesson 1 Video
  • Lesson discussions: Reasons for Taking this Course
  • Complete Assignment: An Introduction
  • Assessment: Lesson 1: What a General Secretary Is

Lesson 2: Types of Secretaries

The type of secretary is more than just a title at many organizations. Often, it is also a way to differentiate who you are and what you can do for a person who walks into the door of the office. 11 Total Points
  • Lesson 2 Video
  • Lesson discussions: Secretaries
  • Complete: Lesson 2 Assignment
  • Assessment: Lesson 2: Types of Secretaries

Lesson 3: Reception: Phones and Visitors

Unfortunately, we have all had an experience in a reception area at an organization that made us feel less than welcome. 10 Total Points
  • Lesson 3 Video
  • Assessment: Lesson 3: Reception - phones/visitors

Lesson 4 : Scheduling

As the general secretary, one of the biggest tasks you will need to complete is the office schedule. Additional lesson topics: Items and issues to Know 10 Total Points
  • Lesson 4 Video
  • Assessment: Lesson 4 : Scheduling

Lesson 5: Travel Arrangements

One of the most time-consuming things that a person may need to handle as a professional is a trip. 10 Total Points
  • Lesson 5 Video
  • Assessment: Lesson 5: Travel Arrangements

Lesson 6 : Word Processing

It is hard to make it through any day of work without having to access some form of word processing. 10 Total Points
  • Lesson 6 Video
  • Assessment: Lesson 6 : Word Processing

Lesson 7 : File System Management

During the course of being a general secretary, you will begin to have files that need to be managed in some way. 12 Total Points
  • Lesson 7 Video
  • Lesson discussions: Filing Systems
  • Complete: Lesson 7 Assignment
  • Assessment: Lesson 7 : File System Management

Lesson 8 : Spreadsheets

A general secretary will have a lot of information on his or her desk at any given time. 9 Total Points
  • Lesson 8 Video
  • Assessment: Lesson 8 : Spreadsheets

Lesson 9 : Correspondence

Communicating with others as a secretary moves beyond simply answering telephones and greeting visitors that come in the door. 12 Total Points
  • Lesson 9 Video
  • Complete: Lesson 9 Assignments
  • Assessment: Lesson 9 : Correspondence

Lesson 10 : Dictation

For many, the idea of a secretary might include the idea of someone taking down notes as a boss or other management person talks. 10 Total Points
  • Lesson 10 Video
  • Assessment: Lesson 10 : Dictation

Lesson 11 : Office Equipment

When working in a secretarial role, you will need to utilize office equipment in order to complete your tasks. 12 Total Points
  • Lesson 11 Video
  • Complete: Lesson 11 Assignment
  • Assessment: Lesson 11 : Office Equipment

Lesson 12 : Effective Communication Skills

As a secretary, one of your key roles is to communication information. No matter what you are trying to do, you need to remember that this, above all else, is what will help you succeed. 10 Total Points
  • Lesson 12 Video
  • Assessment: Lesson 12 : Effective Communication Skills

Lesson 13 : Time Management

One of the things you will notice as a general secretary is that you have days that seem to be packed with duties, while other days you don't have as much to do. 10 Total Points
  • Lesson 13 Video
  • Lesson discussions: Time Management
  • Assessment: Lesson 13 : Time Management

Lesson 14: Handling Difficult Situations

Because you are on the front lines as a secretary, it is helpful to have a primer on how to handle difficult situations. 12 Total Points
  • Lesson 14 Video
  • Complete: Lesson 14 Assignment
  • Assessment: Lesson 14 : Handling Difficult Situations

Lesson 15 : Better to Have Training or Experience?

As you have moved through this course, you have learned more about how to become a better secretary. 8 Total Points
  • Lesson 15 Video
  • Assessment: Lesson 15 : Better to Have Training or Experience?

Conclusion and Citations

Learning the basic skills of being a secretary helps put you ahead of the rest of the applicants in the job market. 74 Total Points
  • Lesson 16 Video
  • Lesson discussions: Let us know what you think of this course; Program Evaluation Follow-up Survey (End of Course); Course Comments
  • Complete: Lesson 16 Assignment
  • Assessment: The Final Exam
Total Course Points

Learning Outcomes

By successfully completing this course, students will be able to:
  • Define what a general secretary is, what types of secretaries there are, and what the job role entails
  • Summarize reception techniques.
  • Describe scheduling techniques.
  • Summarize the process of making travel arrangements.
  • Demonstrate word processing tecnhniques.
  • Describe how to create, manage, and maintain file system management.
  • Demonstrate spreadsheet knowledge and use in the role of a secretary.
  • Summarize correspondence and dictation requirements of a secretary.
  • Summarize office equipment a secretary will need to be familiar with.
  • Summarize effective communication and time management skills to be an effective secretary.
  • Demonstrate mastery of lesson content at levels of 70% or higher.

Additional Course Information

Online CEU Certificate
  • Document Your Lifelong Learning Achievements
  • Earn an Official Certificate Documenting Course Hours and CEUs
  • Verify Your Certificate with a Unique Serial Number Online
  • View and Share Your Certificate Online or Download/Print as PDF
  • Display Your Certificate on Your Resume and Promote Your Achievements Using Social Media
Document Your CEUs on Your Resume
Course Title: General Secretary 101
Course Number: 8900092
Lessons Rating: 4.3 / 5 Stars (4,867 votes)
Languages: English - United States, Canada and other English speaking countries
Availability: This course is online and available in all 50 states including: California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Texas.
Last Updated: November 2023
Course Type: Self-Paced, Online Class
CEU Value: 0.8 IACET CEUs (Continuing Education Units)
CE Accreditation: Universal Class, Inc. has been accredited as an Authorized Provider by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET).
Grading Policy: Earn a final grade of 70% or higher to receive an online/downloadable CEU Certification documenting CEUs earned.
Assessment Method: Lesson assignments and review exams
Instructor: Linda Zavadil
Syllabus: View Syllabus
Course Fee: $120.00 U.S. dollars

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Student Testimonials

  • "The course was presented very well and complete, the instructor was very positive with her prompt feedback." -- Debbie B.
  • "i am very pleased with this course and it was very helpful for me, thank you." -- Natalia S.
  • "The instructor was great!" -- Candice P.
  • "I liked all of it." -- Sara A.
  • "Assignments were challenging and not boring." -- Janet W.
  • "Pointers on how to receive and greet customers in person and on the phone were among the most useful parts of this course for me." -- Lianna S.
  • "Very easy instructions!" -- Linda W.

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