June 30th, 2012
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Many careers require some degree of training. Sometimes a specific number of qualifications are required, and on other occasions it can be vaguer. Secretarial training falls into the latter category, mainly because you have several options open to you. Clearly, entering the profession as a basic junior secretary is very different indeed from wanting to become a chartered secretary. The former is a popular route into the profession, while the latter is challenging, highly involved and not for everyone. South Africa does suffer from a lack of chartered secretaries though, so if this appeals it might be worth looking into it in more detail.
Is it necessary to have training to become a secretary?
In all honesty it depends what kind of secretary you want to be. For instance a legal secretary would be expected to have attained a Legal Secretary Diploma. If you want to become a chartered secretary you would be required to pass the CIS International Qualifying Board Examination and the associated work experience as well.
However if you wish to be a more general secretary you may be able to enter the profession with far less in the way of qualifications and training. You should ensure you have Matric; beyond this it will depend largely on the company or business you want to be employed by. Most businesses have very different requirements.
What is the best type of secretary training to get to begin with?
It is wise to aim for a Secretarial Diploma, as this is a recognised qualification and many employers will ask to see if you have one. It is also a good idea to gain a qualification in computer applications or a similar associated qualification. Another good qualification to get is one in office administration, as this will give you a good grounding in the area you will be working in.
If you read through the latest South African job adverts for secretaries you will notice many of the same things cropping up again and again. For example, experience in working with MS Word and often spreadsheets as well will be a popular expectation. This is why gaining a basic qualification to familiarise yourself with computers is a good idea.
When you are searching for qualifications it is wise to make sure they are accredited by SAQA. This is the South African Qualifications Authority. This will assure you that the qualification you are studying towards will be recognised as worthwhile by the employers you apply to afterwards.
It is worth noting that this career gives you the ability to get in on a lower level, perhaps by gaining a basic office job, while studying further qualifications to help you attain the position of a secretary. This is particularly good to consider if you want to work for a big South African company that offers many possibilities and good job prospects for the future. Indeed this can be a good way to get in the door and aim for the position you really want to get later on.