What is an Administrative Assistant

Talk about a career that can be found in nearly every industry, administrative assistants have plenty of job opportunities around every corner. This is a job you could get straight out of high school.

Administrative Assitants are responsible for routine clerical and administrative duties. While these positions are available in a wide-range of industries, the majority can be found in schools, hospitals and government, legal and medical offices.

There is more than meets the eye when it comes to being an Administrative Assistant. For example, did you know that they make an average of $16.11 an hour? That's $33,510 a year!

Between 2018 and 2028, the career is expected to grow -7% and produce -276,700 job opportunities across the U.S.

What Does an Administrative Assistant Do

There are certain skills that many Administrative Assistants have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. By taking a look through resumes, we were able to narrow down the most common skills for a person in this position. We discovered that a lot of resumes listed Interpersonal skills, Organizational skills and Writing skills.

Learn more about what an Administrative Assistant does

How To Become an Administrative Assistant

If you're interested in becoming an Administrative Assistant, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 46.9% of Administrative Assistants have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 4.3% of Administrative Assistants have master's degrees. Even though most Administrative Assistants have a college degree, it's possible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Choosing the right major is always an important step when researching how to become an Administrative Assistant. When we researched the most common majors for an Administrative Assistant, we found that they most commonly earn Bachelor's Degree degrees or Associate Degree degrees. Other degrees that we often see on Administrative Assistant resumes include High School Diploma degrees or Diploma degrees.

You may find that experience in other jobs will help you become an Administrative Assistant. In fact, many Administrative Assistant jobs require experience in a role such as Customer Service Representative. Meanwhile, many Administrative Assistants also have previous career experience in roles such as Cashier or Receptionist.

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Administrative Assistant Career Paths

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Average Salary for an Administrative Assistant

Administrative Assistants in America make an average salary of $33,510 per year or $16 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $42,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $26,000 per year.
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Administrative Assistant Resumes

Designing and figuring out what to include on your resume can be tough, not to mention time-consuming. That's why we put together a guide that is designed to help you craft the perfect resume for becoming an Administrative Assistant. If you're needing extra inspiration, take a look through our selection of templates that are specific to your job.

Learn How To Write an Administrative Assistant Resume

At Zippia, we went through countless Administrative Assistant resumes and compiled some information about how to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

View Administrative Assistant Resume Examples And Templates

Administrative Assistant Demographics

Administrative Assistant Gender Statistics


81.9 %


14.2 %


3.9 %

Administrative Assistant Ethnicity Statistics


70.7 %

Hispanic or Latino

14.8 %

Black or African American

8.7 %

Administrative Assistant Foreign Languages Spoken Statistics


64.2 %


8.6 %


3.1 %
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Administrative Assistant Education

Administrative Assistant Majors

31.5 %

Administrative Assistant Degrees


46.9 %


24.5 %

High School Diploma

15.6 %

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High School / GED

Top Colleges for Administrative Assistants

1. Western Carolina University

Cullowhee, NC • Private

In-State Tuition

2. Stanford University

Stanford, CA • Private

In-State Tuition

3. Ball State University

Muncie, IN • Private

In-State Tuition

4. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

In-State Tuition

5. Bowling Green State University

Bowling Green, OH • Private

In-State Tuition

6. Cedar Crest College

Allentown, PA • Private

In-State Tuition

7. Morgan State University

Baltimore, MD • Private

In-State Tuition

8. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL • Private

In-State Tuition

9. Siena Heights University

Adrian, MI • Private

In-State Tuition

10. University of Akron

Akron, OH • Private

In-State Tuition
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Online Courses For Administrative Assistant That You May Like

Effective Legal Office Administration

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Learn in depth about Office 365 for Administrators and also find useful tips and resources to enhance your role as an Of...

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Top Skills For an Administrative Assistant

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 11.1% of Administrative Assistants listed Customer Service on their resume, but soft skills such as Interpersonal skills and Organizational skills are important as well.

12 Administrative Assistant RESUME EXAMPLES

Best States For an Administrative Assistant

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as an Administrative Assistant. The best states for people in this position are Alaska, California, New York, and Massachusetts. Administrative Assistants make the most in Alaska with an average salary of $42,553. Whereas in California and New York, they would average $42,126 and $38,508, respectively. While Administrative Assistants would only make an average of $38,359 in Massachusetts, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. Alaska

Total Administrative Assistant Jobs:
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. New York

Total Administrative Assistant Jobs:
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Massachusetts

Total Administrative Assistant Jobs:
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
Full List Of Best States For Administrative Assistants

How Do Administrative Assistant Rate Their Jobs?

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Administrative AssistantOctober 2019


Zippia Official LogoAdministrative AssistantOctober 2019

What do you like the most about working as Administrative Assistant?

The flexibility to make decisions and multitask Show More

What do you NOT like?

There is not much I do not enjoy. Show More

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administrative supportJuly 2019


Zippia Official Logoadministrative supportJuly 2019

What do you like the most about working as Administrative Assistant?

computer software knowledge. retrieve mail . Filing. answering phones. greeting customers. Show More

What do you NOT like?

Bending. stooping. lifting heavy boxes Show More

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What do you like the most about working as Administrative Assistant?

Interaction with clients and or customers is what I mainly liked, especially when confidentiality was needed! I also liked multitasking for different. departments. Show More

What do you NOT like?

That my position at the college was just temporary, the same with my internship. Show More

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Top Administrative Assistant Employers

We've made finding a great employer to work for easy by doing the hard work for you. We looked into employers that employ Administrative Assistants and discovered their number of Administrative Assistant opportunities and average salary. Through our research, we concluded that Kelly Services was the best, especially with an average salary of $34,195. ManpowerGroup follows up with an average salary of $32,121, and then comes Robert Half International with an average of $31,234. In addition, we know most people would rather work from home. So instead of having to change careers, we identified the best employers for remote work as an Administrative Assistant. The employers include Credit Suisse, Cigna, and Motorola Solutions

Becoming an Administrative Assistant FAQs

How do I become an administrative assistant with no experience?

To become an administrative assistant with no experience, look for an entry-level position that provides on-the-job training.

If you are interested in becoming an administrative assistant but do not have any experience - meaning you have no work history or educational credentials beyond a high school diploma - then you have a decent chance of finding a job that will provide on-the-job training.

Step 1: Graduate from high school. About 16% of administrative assistants only have a high school diploma or General Education Degree (GED) or equivalent. It is unnecessary to have a college degree, but a little training from a technical school or community college can give you the extra edge to appeal to a potential employer.

Step 2: Take courses, training, or vocational programs that will provide you with training. Some of an administrative assistant's most important skill sets are office administration, customer service, scheduling, Microsoft Office, and data entry.

Step 3:Train for the specifics of your industry. It is helpful to educate yourself on the practices and terminology which may be used in that industry. For example, medical industry professionals and legal secretaries need to know the terminology and codes based on the field of work.

Step 4: Learn some information technology (IT). Become familiar with Microsoft Office Suite (e.g., Excel, Documents, Powerpoint).

Step 5: Prepare to learn on the job. Much of the training you will need will happen in the office after you start. Be prepared for a learning curve the first couple of months after starting your new job as an administrative assistant. Each office is different and will have particular styles, needs, and expectations.

  • Have patience and be open to instruction and corrections.

  • Ask questions and follow up by asking if your work is meeting expectations.

  • Ask what you can do to improve your work.

  • Set a check-in meeting with your boss for a few months after your start date to assess your training on the job and track your improvement.

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How hard is it to be an administrative assistant?

It is not very hard to be an administrative assistant.

Nearly every job industry requires administrative assistants to keep the business running. Administrative assistants handle much of the background work required to run a business, from filing documents to managing data. You can start working in administrative assistant positions without a college degree.

That said, more and more companies are looking for candidates with at least a 2-year degree (20% of administrative assistants have an associate's degree) or a 4-year degree (38% of administrative assistants have a bachelor's degree). While a degree isn't required, many employers seek administrative assistants with degrees or certifications.

Many skills relevant for being an administrative assistant can be acquired through high school vocational programs, one-to-two year office administration programs offered at business or technology schools, or even training programs provided by temporary placement agencies.

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How long does it take to become an administrative assistant?

It takes 0 to 4 years to become an administrative assistant.

Most administrative assistants begin with either no training beyond a high school diploma. However, it may be difficult to get your foot in the door without additional educational credentials. However, many administrative assistants earn an associate's degree (2-year degree) in business or humanities.

There are numerous benefits of getting an associate's degree, including increased success with job searches, higher entry-level pay, and increased possibilities for career advancement.

The most important classes needed to become a good administrative assistant include keyboard mastery, office technology, basic website design, desktop publishing, administrative procedures, accounting practices, management principles, and business communications.

Once employed, administrative assistants can also earn more specialized certification, such as the Certified Legal Secretary Specialist distinction or a certificate in typing. Moreover, some administrative assistants go on to get their bachelor's or master's.

Internship, co-op, and work-study components are often available through associate's degree programs. While pursuing these opportunities may add to the amount of time required to complete an administrative assistant associate's degree program, having hands-on experience can be a crucial advantage in the job market.

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Is an administrative assistant a good job?

Yes, being an administrative assistant is a good job. Administrative assistants is ranked #27 in the best business jobs. An administrative assistant works with people, demonstrates a broad range of skills, and has opportunities for advancement.

Working as an administrative assistant is an excellent choice for people who'd prefer to enter the workforce rather than continue study after high school. The broad range of responsibilities and industry sectors employing administrative assistants ensure that this position can be interesting and challenging.

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What are the main duties of an administrative assistant?

Administrative assistants' main duties are 'secretarial duties,' such as accounting, data entry, billing, inventory, record-keeping, correspondence, and sales, so strong typing skills and familiarity with Microsoft Office programs (e.g., Excel, Documents) are very important.

They may also work directly with customers and perform customer service tasks, such as those of a receptionist. Therefore, strong interpersonal skills are important to work well with both customers and employees.

A minimum of a high school diploma is generally required for this position, and some employers may prefer applicants who have an associate's degree or higher.

Administrative assistants use a variety of skills to successfully perform their day-to-day duties. Here are just some of the hard and soft skills employers look for in new administrative assistants:

  • Basic computer literacy - Administrative assistants spend much of their time on computers, especially using word processing, database, spreadsheet software, and the internet. (e.g.,. Microsoft Office - Excel, Documents, Powerpoint).

  • Organization - Administrative assistants must rely on organization and time management skills to keep schedules straight and multitask on various clerical duties.

  • Written and oral communication - Administrative assistants need to speak to other staff members and visitors to the business, compose letters and emails, and create social media posts using correct grammar and spelling.

  • People-skills - Administrative assistants are the point of contact for many staff members and visitors to the business, so an appealing personality is essential.

  • Attention to detail - All tasks administrative assistants undertake must be completed to a high standard without errors. You'll also call on this skill when proofreading the drafts of reports and letters you're asked to type.

  • Team player - Administrative assistants play a vital part in the operations of any organization, so they need to work well with other people in the business.

  • Self-starter - Administrative assistants often need to use their own initiative to ensure they do not distract executive-level and management staff.

  • Good numeracy skills - This is especially important for administrative assistants responsible for bookkeeping.

  • Problem-solving abilities - Administrative assistants call on these skills if clients need to cancel meetings and appointments, need rearranging, or if supplies don't arrive on time, and other workplace emergencies arise.

  • Flexibility - An administrative assistant's duties can vary significantly from day to day. They rely on their flexibility to adapt to the demands each day brings and excel in whatever task that's required.

  • Strong work ethic - The work administrative assistants do is essential for their organizations' operations. It takes a strong work ethic to complete all tasks required in a timely fashion.

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What qualifications do you need to be an admin assistant?

The qualifications you need to be an administrative assistant are knowledge of computers and office equipment, communication, and people skills, time management, and scheduling abilities. Successful administrative assistants thrive on performing a wide range of duties, from basic clerical tasks to specialized jobs in specific industries.

Entry-level administrative assistants should have at least a high school diploma or a general education development (GED) certificate in addition to skills certifications. Some positions prefer a minimum of an associate's degree, and some companies may even require a bachelor's degree.

Computer skills are becoming more and more important for the role of administrative assistant. Today's administrative assistants do not just stuff envelopes and answer phones. They write website copy, manage social media sites and represent their bosses in meetings with clients.

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