Administrative Assistant Programs

group of workers in a corporate setting

Administrative assistants take care of clerical tasks at businesses both big and small. While duties vary a great deal depending on their employer, general tasks include answering phones and keeping order in the office. They find work in almost every sector of the economy, as most companies need these associates to carry out a variety of duties.

Education & Training

Some companies hire prospects that opted out of the college experience. These hopefuls need a high school diploma and must complete a training course.

Another route to take is the pursuit of an administrative assistant certificate. This helps prospects gain valuable experience and expedites the job training process.

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Sometimes known as secretaries, administrative assistants answer questions from clients and coworkers. The interpersonal nature of their job often leads to them sitting front and center in the workplace. They interact with other office associates to complete vital tasks that keep businesses afloat.

It usually takes several weeks of on-site administrative assistant education before new hires can work independently.  Most secretaries train for their jobs within a few weeks. Due to the complexities of their fields, medical, legal, and executive secretaries may train for several months before working on their own.

Salary

Below is a list of average salaries and wages per state.

Area Name Hourly mean wage Annual mean wage(2)
Alabama $32.12 $66,800.00
Alaska $30.37 $63,170.00
Arizona $31.87 $66,280.00
Arkansas $26.91 $55,970.00
California $40.86 $84,990.00
Colorado $31.48 $65,480.00
Connecticut $36.85 $76,650.00
Delaware $33.74 $70,170.00
District of Columbia $37.11 $77,180.00
Florida $28.99 $60,310.00
Georgia $33.05 $68,740.00
Hawaii $37.71 $78,440.00
Idaho $26.71 $55,560.00
Illinois $32.36 $67,310.00
Indiana $29.88 $62,140.00
Iowa $27.38 $56,940.00
Kansas $26.32 $54,750.00
Kentucky $27.70 $57,620.00
Louisiana $24.61 $51,190.00
Maine $27.32 $56,820.00
Maryland $35.60 $74,040.00
Massachusetts $35.08 $72,960.00
Michigan $29.20 $60,730.00
Minnesota $34.43 $71,610.00
Mississippi $23.99 $49,890.00
Missouri $28.93 $60,180.00
Montana $29.94 $62,270.00
Nebraska $28.77 $59,840.00
Nevada $29.47 $61,290.00
New Hampshire $31.94 $66,440.00
New Jersey $34.86 $72,500.00
New Mexico $31.39 $65,290.00
New York $39.62 $82,400.00
North Carolina $30.77 $64,010.00
North Dakota $30.21 $62,830.00
Ohio $30.74 $63,940.00
Oklahoma $25.88 $53,840.00
Oregon $31.60 $65,730.00
Pennsylvania $31.66 $65,850.00
Puerto Rico $17.43 $36,250.00
Rhode Island $36.22 $75,340.00
South Carolina $27.34 $56,870.00
South Dakota $22.06 $45,890.00
Tennessee $29.11 $60,540.00
Texas $32.58 $67,770.00
Utah $30.31 $63,050.00
Vermont $31.08 $64,640.00
Virgin Islands $25.57 $53,190.00
Virginia $35.13 $73,080.00
Washington $35.47 $73,780.00
West Virginia $25.77 $53,590.00
Wisconsin $30.92 $64,320.00
Wyoming $23.51 $48,910.00

source: data.bls.gov
Occupation: Executive Secretaries and Executive Administrative Assistants (SOC Code436011)

Career Overview

What Is an Administrative Assistant?

In offices, administrative assistants attend to visitor needs. They are generally the first point of contact when guests walk into a company. Since they handle scheduling appointments and interviews, they typically know who to expect. Assistants lead unfamiliar guests towards offices, conference rooms, or anywhere they may need to go.

To get their jobs done, secretaries rely on database management, spreadsheet, and word processing programs. They often keep track of things like vacation and sick days for the entire company. Associates even send out email reminders about holidays or company shutdowns. Team members also take notes during meetings and rewrite them as summaries.

Workers may create memos regarding company policy revisions or medical insurance updates. Because they have a general knowledge about the business as a whole, they become the go-to for questions about retirement and benefit packages.

On the more technical side of things, administrative assistants may update company websites or social media pages. They use the internet to order materials and coordinate travel plans. They arrange catered lunches and other activities or reach out to clients for important business requests.

Another aspect of administrative assistant work is the ongoing maintenance of company databases. These directories include financial details as well as personal employee info. Workers may need to develop expense reports or other studies based on these records.

Staff members perform various human resource tasks. This often involves planning meetings or scheduling conference calls. Workers catalog physical and electronic files, storing documents related to benefits and payroll. They respond to customer questions about product details and pricing schemes.

What Are Administrative Assistant Job Duties?

Administrative assistants perform vital office duties for nearly every company in America. They are responsible for conveying messages to staff, scheduling appointments, and creating documents. They work with both physical filing cabinets and digital databases, cataloging information for future reference. They must be precise and diligent in order to avoid mixing files or inaccurate reporting.

Sometimes associates may need to set up projectors or other computer equipment. They write emails for various reasons, often to confirm meeting times or business details. Administrative assistant work involves heavy use of word processing and spreadsheet software.

These workers transfer phone calls to appropriate parties and even manage clerical staff when needed. Some of their more detailed work involves writing reports on topical issues. They oversee supply rooms that contain costly equipment like hard drives and memory cards. Those with administrative assistant degrees also do the following:

  • Develop and maintain filing processes
  • Plan, arrange, and organize staff meetings
  • Sort through mail
  • Perform accurate financial bookkeeping
  • Proofread and edit pertinent documents
  • Review invoices to check for errors
  • Write company-wide memos
  • Revise event calendars

Why Do Administrative Assistants Need to Have Integrity?

Graduates of administrative assistant school understand that integrity is crucial for businesses to succeed. Secretaries cannot share sensitive information or trade secrets.

They must also be honest when recording financial transactions, cooperating with audits when necessary.

Work Environment

Recruits should prepare themselves for full-time hours in professional office settings. They usually work at desks or cubicles sitting for long periods at a time, occasionally getting up to file documents or perform other tasks.

Large amounts of paper filing may cause dry, cracked fingers or papercuts, and stress on eyes and wrists are common.

Tools of the Trade

These workers utilize technology both old and new. They can go from using filing cabinets to attending meetings with international clients via teleconferencing software.

Other commonly used administrative assistant tools include:

  • Copy machines, scanners, and printers
  • Letterhead paper, envelopes, and stamps
  • Fax devices
  • Telephone systems
  • Computers with advanced spreadsheet apps
  • Word processing and email programs
  • Scissors, staplers, and paper cutters

Workspace

Workers must keep their desks and workspaces tidy to avoid mixing up or losing papers. To do this they use table organizers, filing cabinets, and spiral binders.

They utilize sticky notes or desktop alarms to help organize thoughts and keep track of meetings.

What Are Useful Skills for People in This Field?

In administrative assistant school, hopefuls gain crucial bookkeeping and budget management skills. It’s often their job to keep thorough records on financial transactions and other money-related details. For this reason, expertise in math and accounting can give recruits an edge.

  • Tenacity when researching information on a potential client
  • Detail-oriented mindset when filling out forms and taking notes
  • Acute decision-making abilities for prioritizing duties
  • Organizational skills to keep track of scheduling details and documents
  • Persistence when contacting clients regarding payments
  • A contagious positive attitude that inspires coworkers
  • Social aptitude, as associates communicate constantly
  • Good grammar and handwriting for writing memos and addressing letters

Where Do They Work?

Administrative assistants contribute a great deal to society, finding jobs across a diverse range of industries. Their hard work ensures businesses run smoothly. It keeps the economy healthy and prosperous. Upon completing administrative assistant training, potential employers include:

  • Local, state, and federal governments
  • Schools and colleges
  • Religious groups
  • Companies and corporations
  • Civic agencies
  • Social assistance programs
  • Hospitals and other medical offices
  • Law firms

Can You Work Remotely?

Those with an administrative assistant resume can work remotely as virtual assistants. These people can dictate their own schedules, which is great for parents or those seeking steady part-time jobs. Along with training, all they need is an office and internet connection.

Virtual assistants perform the following tasks:

  • Research
  • Bookkeeping
  • Data entry
  • Online marketplace postings
  • Compiling presentations

Do Administrative Assistants Have Any Other Options?

Executive administrative assistants handle day-to-day operations for businessmen and CEOs. They often support multiple managers within a company, making their job hectic but highly rewarding. Common tasks include engaging in correspondence and scheduling meetings or travel arrangements.

Legal secretaries prepare documents and take care of filing duties. They also mail letters and take on tasks that paralegals do not have time to complete. School secretaries contact staff members, parents, and students to convey information and help with activities.

What Are Alternate Careers for Administrative Assistants?

Auditing clerks compile detailed financial records for their employers. Many administrative assistant skills carry over to the world of auditing. These include bookkeeping abilities and knowledge of financial terminology. Auditing clerks review statements, study transaction details, and assure the accuracy of information. They earn salary packages between $40k to $60k per year.