How to Become a Chartered Secretary in Nigeria

You must have heard of secretaries but rarely about Chartered Secretaries or Administrators. A Chartered Secretary and Administrator is one with proven multiple professional skills and is able to function in any part of an organization or sector of the economy. A chartered secretary is able to work in the finance department, administration department, data management and also act as a manager to officials. The Nigerian law recognizes the importance of the role of a Secretary in any organization and has made it mandatory for every public Company to have a qualified Company Secretary. However, only with a Chartered Secretary’s qualification can you specifically meet the requirements of this role as specified by the law.

The functions of a Chartered Secretary vary from company to company and according to already laid out stipulations. A Chartered Secretary has no universal role specification but generally is employed to ensure the efficient administration of a company. Therefore, he or she must be versatile, have broad business knowledge as well as organizational and administrative abilities. This article covers steps to becoming a Chartered Secretary in Nigeria.

How to Become a Chartered Secretary in Nigeria

Read on below:

About the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators of Nigeria (ICSAN)

The Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators of Nigeria (ICSAN) is a leading and recognized professional body in Nigeria authorized by the government to confer the status of Chartered Secretary or Administrator on Institute members. The body achieves this through its examinations called the Post- Qualifying Education (PQE). This examination is designed to help Chartered Secretaries adapt to an ever-changing work environment by updating their knowledge and skills throughout their career. The institute is dedicated to enhancing the status and practice of Public Administration in the country. The institute organizes a range of programs such as courses, workshops, public lectures, and round table discussions, all in a bid to continually update members on best practices in the profession so they can meet up with world standards. ICSAN is the only professional body authorized by the Nigerian government to conduct the examinations leading to the qualification of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators.

How to become a Chartered Secretary

Register for the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators of Nigeria (ICSAN) Qualifying Examinations

Registration for the Institute’s examinations must be done on the institute’s website as manual applications are not accepted. On the website, you will find options to register for the ICSAN examination and apply for your exam. You will also be able to update your profile, check your result, print the exam docket and admission letter.

Complete your ICSAN Qualifying Examinations

Once you have successfully completed your examinations and paid your graduate fee, you will be given your grade graduate and given the title ‘Grad ICSAN’ which you can use after your name. In order to become a full member of the institute and a Chartered Secretary, the institute will require that you also demonstrate a certain level of professional experience.

Student Registration

Many people who study while working as secretaries are also able to gain their professional qualifications at the same time. To register as a student and sit for the professional examinations of the Institute, one must possess a Higher National Diploma (HND), Degree Certificate or any other recognized professional qualification. Exemptions are granted according to entry qualification(s).

Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators of Nigeria (ICSAN) Qualifying Examination Scheme

The International Professional Examinations course consists of 16 courses (subjects) separated into 4 programs:

Foundation: This program is equivalent to the second year of a three-year degree program

Pre- Professional: This is equivalent to a first degree

Professional Program Part 1: Equivalent to a master’s degree

Professional Program Part 2: Equivalent to a master’s degree

All courses provided by the institute are integrated and progressive, to mean that the knowledge gained at an earlier stage is necessary for the latter parts. The Federal Ministry of Education holds that Secretaries who already have a first degree or Higher Diploma and come into work with an ICSAN Professional qualification are placed on advanced levels.

The subjects of professional examination schemes are as follows:

Business Environment
Business Communications
Accounting for Business
Business Management

Pre – Professional
Business Law in Practice
Business Finance
Business Strategy and Planning

Professional Program Part I
Strategic and Operations Management
Corporate Law
Financial Accounting
Management Accounting

Professional Program Part II
Corporate Administration
Corporate Secretaryship
Corporate Financial Management
Corporate Governance

Entry Requirement for Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators of Nigeria (ICSAN)
Applicants for the ICSAN program must have either of the following qualifications:

  • O’ level results, that is SSCE, GCE O’levels
  • Relevant degrees of any accredited University
  • OND or H.N.D of any Polytechnic recognized by the Council.
  • MSc, MBA, ACA, ACCA, ACMA, or any other professional qualification recognized by the Council.

Exemptions by the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators of Nigeria

Graduates with degrees considered relevant to the administration and secretaryship such as Accounting, LL.B., and Finance are exempted from all the courses in the foundation, pre-professional and professional Part 1 of the course.

Career Prospects for Chartered Secretary in Nigeria

Graduates and members of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators of Nigeria (ICSAN) are found in every sector of the economy. A Chattered Secretary can work in the following capacities:

  • Company Secretary
  • Finance Manager
  • Chief Accountants
  • Directors of Administration
  • Chairpersons
  • Chief Executive Officers

A Chartered Secretary can work in private and public companies, as well as in the Civil service or Armed forces.

The range of qualifying examinations provided by the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators of Nigeria (ICSAN) is broad and unique. Upon graduation, the Charted Secretary must have gained all knowledge needed to function in his or her full capacity as a Chartered Secretary. There is no other professional body in Nigeria that provides a post-graduate qualification that is as broad-based as that of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators of Nigeria (ICSAN). Under its programs, Chartered Secretaries and Administrators are trained in various sectors such as business, corporate governance, company law, management, finance, administration, management information system, and company secretaryship.


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