The Average Secretary Hourly Rate

by Rick Suttle; Updated September 26, 2017
Secretaries type letters, maintain files and order office supplies.

Secretaries work in offices, schools, doctors' offices, hospitals and law firms. They primarily answer phones, type reports, maintain department files and order office supplies when needed. These clerical professionals also schedule meetings and secure the sites and lunches for meetings. Sometimes, secretaries prepare mailings for their company, printing labels and collating materials. They also train staff members, negotiate with vendors and maintain proper functioning office equipment. Secretaries usually get paid by the hour.

Average Hourly Pay

Hourly pay can varies among different types of secretaries. Executive secretaries earned average hourly rates of $22.05 in 2010, according to the latest information available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Legal secretaries earned wages of $20.80 per hour. Medical secretaries, who work in doctors' offices and hospitals, earned average hourly wages of $15.30. And all other secretaries, excluding executive, legal and medical secretaries, earned hourly pay rates of $15.38.

Average Hourly Rates by Industry

Secretaries tend to earn the highest hourly wages in various industries. For example, executive secretaries earned their highest hourly rates in the postal service industry at $29.49, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. They earned their second highest wages in the computer and peripheral equipment manufacturing industry at $28.57 per hour. Legal secretaries working for corporate attorneys earned their highest wages in the natural gas distribution industry at $31.82 per hour. They earned their second highest hourly wages in the semiconductor and other electrical component manufacturing industry at $26.87. Medical secretaries earned their highest wages in state government offices at $20 per hour. They earned their second highest wages in colleges, universities and professionals schools at $17.46 per hour. State and local government offices and colleges often have medical staffs on their payroll. All other secretaries earned their highest hourly rates in the postal service industry at $26.03. They earned their second highest wages working for the federal government at $22.56 per hour.

Average Hourly Rate by State

Executive secretaries earned their highest hourly rates in New York and New Jersey at $26.59 and $26.51, respectively, reports the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Legal secretaries earned their highest wages in the District of Columbia and Delaware at $29.21 and $24.17 per hour, respectively. Medical secretaries earned their highest wages in the District of Columbia and Massachusetts at $19.60 and $18.52 per hour, respectively. And all other secretaries, besides executive, legal and medical secretaries, earned their highest hourly rates in the District of Columbia and Massachusetts at $23.19 and $18.84, respectively.

Hourly Rate by Metropolitan Area

Executive secretaries earned their highest hourly rates in the Santa Fe, New Mexico and New York-White Plains-Wayne, New York-New Jersey areas at $29.16 and $28.16, respectively, per the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Legal secretaries earned their highest wages in the San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, California and San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City, California metropolitan areas at $31.96 and $31.46 per hour, respectively. Medical secretaries earned their highest wages in the Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, Massachusetts and Taunton-Norton-Raynham, Massachusetts areas at $19.92 and $19.75 per hour, respectively. And all other secretaries earned their highest hourly rates in the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, District of Columbia-Virginia-Maryland-West Virginia metropolitan area at $20.97. They earned their second highest wages in the San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City, California area at $20.65 per hour.

2016 Salary Information for Secretaries and Administrative Assistants

Secretaries and administrative assistants earned a median annual salary of $38,730 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, secretaries and administrative assistants earned a 25th percentile salary of $30,500, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $48,680, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 3,990,400 people were employed in the U.S. as secretaries and administrative assistants.

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