Church secretaries often form the heart of a church community, serving as a one-stop shop for a host of information about the church and the faith it represents. Churches don't have equal access to funds; some have deep pockets and active donors, while others barely scrape by. Consequently, church secretaries receive salaries that vary based on a variety of factors.
Average and Range
According to an average of salaries from jobs listed on Indeed, the average church secretary makes about $28,000 per year. Salary Expert lists salaries ranging from the low $30,000s to the mid $40,000s. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports an average for all secretaries of $35,330 per year. It's important to note, however, that many churches employ secretaries on a part-time basis, often for only a few hours each week. Since secretaries are often recruited from within the church community, many secretary jobs might never be listed online, particularly when the job is part-time. Consequently, these "average" salary numbers could be inflated, and are not reflective of what a part-time secretary can expect.
Benefits and Other Compensation
According to a 2009 Zycon International study of primarily midwestern church secretaries, 30 percent of church secretaries receive health benefits, while 63 percent receive paid vacation. That survey reports 70 percent of church secretaries are paid on the books, with the church paying the employer's share of Social Security benefits. These additional forms of compensation can increase the buying power of a church secretary, since a secretary who doesn't have to pay for her own health insurance, for instance, will have more money to spend on other expenses.
Part-time vs. Full-time
Many churches don't need a full-time, dedicated secretary. In these congregations, the secretary may only work during the church's busiest times, or for a few hours every week. These secretaries may also see shifts in their hours based on the congregation's needs and donations. For example, at a church that suddenly sees a spike in donations, the church may need more assistance with paperwork and have a larger budget to pay a secretary for more hours each week.
Job Duties and Denomination
The denomination of the church may affect the secretary's job duties. A religion that requires reporting to an archdiocese or board, for example, may demand more paperwork from a secretary. Likewise, the duties a secretary must fill vary significantly from church to church. The Zycon study found that most secretaries answered phones, authored the church bulletin and maintained a calendar. Less frequently, secretaries fill other duties, and additional duties may yield a higher salary.
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.