Career Development

What Does a Principal Secretary Do?

Find out what a principal secretary does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a principal secretary.

Principal Secretaries are senior civil servants who serve as the primary administrative assistant to a government official. They often have broad responsibilities that include managing all aspects of their superior’s daily schedule, handling correspondence and other communications on their behalf, and coordinating with other government agencies or departments to ensure that their boss is fully informed about any issues that may arise.

Principal Secretaries typically work very closely with their superiors and must be able to anticipate their needs in order to effectively manage their schedules and workloads.

Principal Secretary Job Duties

Principal secretaries have a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Coordinating with other government agencies such as departments of labor or education to ensure that policies are carried out smoothly
  • Working with the Governor’s office to develop and implement state policies, including overseeing state agencies
  • Serving as the primary liaison between the Governor’s administration and the state legislature
  • Providing advice and counsel to the Governor on issues such as policy development, legislation, and budget planning
  • Preparing staff memos, briefing books, and other written materials used in decision making processes
  • Coordinating meetings with outside groups such as industry leaders, business organizations, and community groups
  • Coordinating the development of the state budget with the state legislature
  • Coordinating the development of legislative proposals and monitoring legislation in progress
  • Overseeing the implementation of administrative decisions made by the Governor’s office

Principal Secretary Salary & Outlook

The principal secretary is typically the highest-paid administrative member of a government or political organization. Salaries can vary depending on the level of education and experience, as well as the size and location of the organization.

  • Median Annual Salary: $66,500 ($31.97/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $184,000 ($88.46/hour)

The employment of principal secretaries is expected to decline over the next decade.

Employment of these workers is projected to decrease because of continued growth in the use of administrative and support services, such as human resources and information technology, provided by outside firms. In addition, some states are consolidating administrative functions, which may reduce the need for principal secretaries.

Related: Principal Secretary Interview Questions and Answers

Principal Secretary Job Requirements

The qualifications for a principal secretary position may vary, but often include:

Education: The minimum education requirement for a principal secretary position is a high school diploma or GED. However, many employers prefer candidates who have an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in business, communications or a related field. Some employers may also require candidates to have a minimum of two years of experience in a similar role.

Training & Experience: Most principal secretaries receive on-the-job training from their immediate supervisors. This training may include instruction on office procedures, software and other aspects of the job.

Certifications & Licenses: There are no certifications required to become a principal secretary, but earning a few certifications can help demonstrate your professional competence and commitment to your employer.

Principal Secretary Skills

Principals secretaries need the following skills in order to be successful:

Communication skills: Communication skills are a necessary skill for any workplace position. As a principal secretary, you must be able to communicate with a variety of people, including the president, other government officials, members of the public and other staff members. You must be able to communicate effectively in both written and verbal forms.

Organization: Organization is the ability to plan and execute tasks in a logical order. As a principal secretary, your organizational skills can help you prioritize tasks and manage your time effectively. You can also use organization skills to keep your desk and files organized, which can help you find information quickly and maintain a professional image.

Attention to detail: Attention to detail is the ability to notice small details and make adjustments accordingly. As a principal secretary, you may notice small details that the executive director may not notice. This can help you make adjustments to processes or procedures to ensure the office runs smoothly. Attention to detail can also help you notice errors in documents or emails, which can help you make corrections and prevent errors from occurring in the future.

Time management: Time management is the ability to plan and execute tasks within a set time frame. As a principal secretary, you may be responsible for managing the schedules of several people, including the principal. You may also be responsible for planning and organizing meetings, conferences and other events. Having strong time management skills can help you complete your tasks efficiently and effectively.

Computer skills: As a principal, you may need to use a computer to create presentations, send emails or create documents. Having strong computer skills can help you be more efficient in your job. You can learn computer skills like typing, using software and navigating the internet.

Principal Secretary Work Environment

The work environment for a principal secretary is usually in an office setting, although some travel may be required for meetings or conferences. The job is generally performed during regular business hours, although overtime may be necessary to meet deadlines. The level of stress is moderate, as the job requires the ability to handle a variety of tasks simultaneously and to work well under pressure. There is little to no physical labor involved in the job.

Principal Secretary Trends

Here are three trends influencing how Principal Secretaries work. Principal Secretaries will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The Need for a More Strategic Role

The role of the principal secretary is evolving as schools become more focused on improving student achievement. Principals are now looking for secretaries who can play a more strategic role in helping to improve school culture and achieve academic goals.

Principal secretaries who are able to understand the needs of their principals and work with them to create a positive school environment will be in high demand. They will also need to be able to manage multiple tasks simultaneously and be comfortable working in a fast-paced environment.

More Focus on Data Analysis

As data becomes increasingly important in education, principal secretaries will need to focus on data analysis. This means that they will need to be familiar with different types of data, such as test scores, attendance rates, and graduation rates.

In order to make sense of this data, principal secretaries will need to be able to analyze it and identify trends that can help them to better understand how their students are performing. This information can then be used to make decisions about how to best improve the school’s performance.

A Greater Emphasis on Collaboration

Principals are increasingly realizing the importance of collaboration in order to achieve success in their schools. As a result, they are looking for secretaries who are able to work well with others and who have strong communication skills.

Principals want secretaries who are able to not only handle basic administrative tasks, but who also have the ability to contribute ideas and suggestions that can help to improve the school community.

How to Become a Principal Secretary

A career as a principal secretary can be both rewarding and challenging. It’s important to consider the many factors that will influence your success, including the size and scope of the organization you work for, its culture, and the personalities of its leaders.

You should also think about what skills and experiences you have that would be most useful in this role. Do you have experience working with large teams? Are you comfortable managing complex projects? Can you effectively manage relationships with key stakeholders? If so, these are all qualities that would make you a strong candidate for a principal secretary position.

Finally, it’s important to stay up-to-date on the latest trends and developments in government and public policy. This will help you better understand the issues facing your organization and how they relate to broader national and global trends.

Advancement Prospects

Advancement prospects for principal secretaries vary depending on the size and type of organization they work for. In small organizations, principal secretaries may be promoted to executive secretary or administrative assistant positions. In larger organizations, they may advance to positions such as executive administrative assistant, office manager, or operations manager. Some principal secretaries may also choose to start their own administrative support business.

Principal Secretary Job Description Example

The Principal Secretary provides high-level administrative support to the Principal by managing the day-to-day operations of the office, handling a wide range of administrative and executive support-related tasks, and performing other duties as assigned.

The Principal Secretary is a highly organized and detail-oriented professional with excellent time management skills. He/She has the ability to prioritize and handle multiple tasks simultaneously while maintaining a high level of accuracy and attention to detail. The Principal Secretary is a team player with the ability to work independently with little or no supervision. He/She is also a self-starter with the ability to take initiative and see projects through to completion.

The Principal Secretary must have excellent written and verbal communication skills and be able to interact with all levels of staff, students, parents, and the community in a professional and courteous manner. He/She must also have strong computer skills and be proficient in the use of Microsoft Office Suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook).

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Answer and direct phone calls, take messages, and respond to inquiries in a professional manner
  • Greet visitors and direct them to the appropriate individual or department
  • Handle incoming and outgoing mail, including courier services
  • Prepare correspondence, reports, presentations, and other documents using Microsoft Office Suite and other software programs
  • Maintain filing systems, both electronic and paper-based
  • Schedule and coordinate meetings, appointments, and travel arrangements for principals
  • Process invoices and purchase orders
  • Monitor and order office supplies as needed
  • Provide support to other administrative staff as required
  • Perform data entry and maintain databases
  • Assist with special projects as assigned
  • Adhere to all confidentiality policies and procedures



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