How to Become an Administrative Assistant

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To become an administrative assistant, one must have excellent organizational, interpersonal, computer and writing skills. Administrative assistants manage a business' administrative tasks in almost every sector, including private organizations, government agencies, and schools. Administrative assistants perform a variety of organizational and clerical tasks that are necessary to run a company smoothly. The median annual wage for secretaries and administrative assistants was $34,660 in May 2010, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics.[1]

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Flickr: Milton Ma Public Library
Education High school diploma [1]
Starting pay $20,230 per year[2]
Median pay $34,660 per year[1]
10 yr growth Average[1]
Related professions Virtual assistant, secretary, bookkeeper, court Reporter
Author Tammy Feeney

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Administrative Assistant Job Overview

Administrative assistants complete everyday organizational and clerical tasks. They organize files, schedule appointments, draft messages, and support other staff. They use computer software to produce presentations, create spreadsheets, manage databases, compose messages and produce presentations, documents, and reports. Assistants may negotiate with vendors, manage stockrooms or corporate libraries, buy supplies, and get data from assorted sources.

While specific job duties may vary by specialty, experience, and job title, administrative assistants typically perform the following tasks:

  • Maintain electronic and paper filing systems for messages and documents
  • Organize and deliver incoming email and mail
  • Reply to email and letters
  • Respond and add files to incoming messages
  • Correct grammar and spelling to ensure correctness
  • Operate phone systems, videoconferencing systems, fax machines, and other office equipment
  • Use computers for spreadsheet, database management, word processing, and other applications
  • Complete records in accordance with company practice[3]

Administrative Assistant Education

A prerequisite to becoming an administrative assistant is a obtaining a high school diploma.[1] A college degree is not always required for employment, but pursuing a degree may open the door to further job opportunities. Options available include taking classes at a vocational or technical school, or pursuing a degree via a four-year undergraduate course or a two or four year community college.[4]

Administrative Assistant Training

Administrative assistants will undergo some on-the-job training to help them adjust to the computers and telecommunications systems used within the company.[5] Qualified administrative assistants who enhance their skills and broaden their knowledge of a business’ enterprises may be promoted to executive or senior secretary, clerical supervisor, administrative assistant, or office manager.[6]

Administrative Assistant Careers

Jobs for Administrative Assistants

Also See: How to Become a Speech Writer, How to Become a Virtual Assistant, How to Become a Bank Teller, How to Become a Loan Officer, How to Become an Accountant, How to Become a Receptionist


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