While the exact qualifications to become a school secretary may vary slightly among different jobs, the basic requirements are generally the same. Most school districts require those wishing to become a school secretary to have a minimum of a high school diploma, although some may require additional college coursework. Along with a proper education, prior experience is often preferred. Successful job applicants must also have the required skills to be able to perform the basic functions of being a school secretary.
A typical job posting for a school secretary position will often require candidates to have at least a high school diploma, with additional preference given to candidates who have post-secondary coursework in subjects such as bookkeeping, office practices, computer operations, and use of common office machines. Stricter school districts, along with some private institutions, may require job candidates to have completed a secretarial certificate program or have obtained an associate's degree in a relevant area such as administrative assisting. These programs teach students who wish to become a school secretary basic office skills such as word processing, working with spreadsheets, and business communications.
In addition to having the proper education to become a school secretary, many employers also prefer candidates that already have prior relevant working experience. It's common for job postings to prefer candidates with at least two or three years of prior secretarial experience. For an entry-level candidate who wants to become a school secretary with no prior relevant work experience, all is not lost, however. Some employers will waive this requirement and some are even willing to offer train-on-the-job-type positions for candidates who meet the other employment requirements. Many employers are willing to work with candidates they feel will be a good fit with their organization.
Even candidates who have the required education and experience will still need to prove they have the skills to succeed as a school secretary. Important ones include interpersonal communication skills, the ability to work well with children and adults, and organizational skills for maintaining records and databases. It's also important for secretaries to be able to follow directions and adhere to school policies and procedures. School administrations strive to set a good example for their students, so secretaries must also serve as role models at work and within the community. As such, new hires must typically pass criminal background checks and drug tests, and show proof of their legal ability to work.