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Working As An Administrative Professional

  • Interacting With Computers
  • Getting Information
  • Performing Administrative Activities
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Mostly Sitting

  • Repetitive

  • $40,000

    Average Salary

What Does An Administrative Professional Do

Secretaries and administrative assistants perform routine clerical and administrative duties. They organize files, prepare documents, schedule appointments, and support other staff.

Duties

Secretaries and administrative assistants typically do the following:

  • Answer telephones and take messages or transfer calls
  • Schedule appointments and update event calendars
  • Arrange staff meetings
  • Handle incoming and outgoing mail and faxes
  • Prepare memos, invoices, or other reports
  • Edit documents
  • Maintain databases and filing systems, whether electronic or paper
  • Perform basic bookkeeping

Secretaries and administrative assistants perform a variety of clerical and administrative duties that are necessary to run an organization efficiently. They use computer software to create spreadsheets; manage databases; and prepare presentations, reports, and documents. They also may negotiate with vendors, buy supplies, and manage stockrooms or corporate libraries. Secretaries and administrative assistants also use videoconferencing, fax, and other office equipment. Specific job duties vary by experience, job title, and specialty.

Executive secretaries and executive administrative assistants provide high-level administrative support for an office and for top executives of an organization. They often handle more complex responsibilities, such as reviewing incoming documents, conducting research, and preparing reports. Some also supervise clerical staff.

Legal secretaries perform work requiring knowledge of legal terminology and procedures. They prepare legal documents, such as summonses, complaints, motions, and subpoenas under the supervision of an attorney or a paralegal. They also review legal journals and help with legal research—for example, by verifying quotes and citations in legal briefs.

Medical secretaries transcribe dictation and prepare reports or articles for physicians or medical scientists. They also take simple medical histories of patients, arrange for patients to be hospitalized, or process insurance payments. Medical secretaries need to be familiar with medical terminology and codes, medical records, and hospital or laboratory procedures.

Secretaries and administrative assistants, except legal, medical, and executive is the largest subcategory of secretaries and administrative assistants. They handle an office’s administrative activities in almost every sector of the economy, including schools, government, and private corporations. For example, secretaries in schools are often responsible for handling most of the communications among parents, students, the community, teachers, and school administrators. They schedule appointments, receive visitors, and keep track of students’ records.

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How To Become An Administrative Professional

High school graduates who have experience using computer software applications, such as word processing and spreadsheets, usually qualify for entry-level positions. Although most secretaries learn their job in several weeks, many legal and medical secretaries require additional training to learn industry-specific terminology. Executive secretaries usually need several years of related work experience.

Education

High school graduates can take courses in word processing and office procedures at technical schools or community colleges. Some temporary placement agencies also provide training in word processing, spreadsheet, and database software.

Some medical and legal secretaries learn industry-specific terminology and practices by attending courses offered at community colleges or technical schools. For executive secretary positions, employers increasingly prefer to hire those who have taken some college courses or have a bachelor’s degree.

Training

Secretaries and administrative assistants typically learn their skills through short-term on-the-job training, usually lasting a few weeks. During this time they learn about administrative procedures, including how to prepare documents. Medical and legal secretaries’ training may last several months as they learn industry-specific terminology and practices.

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

Executive secretaries can gain experience by working in administrative positions that have less challenging responsibilities. Many secretaries and administrative assistants advance to higher level administrative positions.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Although not required, certification can demonstrate competency to employers.

The International Association of Administrative Professionals offers the Certified Administrative Professional (CAP) certification. Candidates must have a minimum of 2 to 4 years of administrative work experience, depending on their level of education, and pass an examination.

Legal secretaries have several certification options. For example, those with 1 year of general office experience, or who have completed an approved training course, can acquire the Accredited Legal Professional (ALP) certification through a testing process administered by NALS (previously known as National Association of Legal Secretaries). NALS also offers the Professional Legal Secretary (PLS) certification, considered to be an advanced certification for legal support professionals.

The Certified Legal Secretary Specialist (CLSS) certification is conferred by Legal Secretaries International in areas such as intellectual property, criminal law, civil litigation, probate, and business law. Candidates typically need to have 5 years of legal experience and pass an examination to become certified.

Advancement

Secretaries and administrative assistants generally advance to other administrative positions with more responsibilities, such as office supervisor, office manager, or executive secretary.

With additional training, many legal secretaries become paralegals or legal assistants.

Important Qualities

Integrity. Many secretaries and administrative assistants are trusted to handle sensitive information. For example, medical secretaries collect patient data that is required, by law, to be kept confidential in order to protect patient privacy.

Interpersonal skills. Secretaries and administrative assistants interact with clients, customers, or staff. They should communicate effectively and be courteous when interacting with others to create a positive work environment and client experience.

Organizational skills. Secretaries and administrative assistants keep files, folders, and schedules in proper order so an office can run efficiently.

Writing skills. Secretaries and administrative assistants write memos and emails when communicating with managers, employees, and customers. Therefore, they must have good grammar, ensure accuracy, and maintain a professional tone.

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Administrative Professional Career Paths

Administrative Professional
Executive Assistant Office Manager Human Resources Manager
Director Of Human Resources
10 Yearsyrs
Executive Assistant Office Manager
Business Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Executive Assistant Office Manager Property Manager
Communications Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Administrator Manager
Office Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Administrator Consultant Manager
Business Owner
6 Yearsyrs
Administrator Manager Account Manager
Client Services Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Human Resources Coordinator Executive Administrative Assistant Executive Assistant/Office Manager
Executive Assistant To Chief Executive Officer
6 Yearsyrs
Human Resources Coordinator Executive Administrative Assistant Assistant To Executive Vice President
Senior Administrative Assistant
7 Yearsyrs
Human Resources Coordinator Consultant Adjunct Professor
Assistant Principal
10 Yearsyrs
Project Coordinator Team Leader Property Manager
Communications Director
6 Yearsyrs
Project Coordinator Team Leader Director
Administrative Director
8 Yearsyrs
Project Coordinator Consultant Senior Accountant
Accounts Payable Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Executive Secretary Assistant To Executive Vice President
Senior Executive Assistant
8 Yearsyrs
Executive Secretary Owner/Operator Case Manager
Practice Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Executive Secretary Supervisor Department Manager
Administrative Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Legal Assistant Specialist Accountant
Accountant And Office Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Legal Assistant Billing Specialist Accountant
Accounts Receivable Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Legal Assistant Recruiter Human Resources Generalist
Office Manager Of Human Resources
6 Yearsyrs
Substitute Teacher Teacher Coordinator
Senior Administrative Coordinator
6 Yearsyrs
Substitute Teacher Registered Nurse Senior Technician Specialist
Business Office Manager
7 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
Top Careers Before Administrative Professional
Cashier 4.7%
Secretary 4.5%
Internship 4.1%
Clerk 1.9%
Top Careers After Administrative Professional
Cashier 3.6%
Consultant 3.1%
Volunteer 2.9%
Assistant 2.6%
Associate 2.4%
Owner 2.2%

Do you work as an Administrative Professional?

Average Yearly Salary
$40,000
Show Salaries
$19,000
Min 10%
$40,000
Median 50%
$40,000
Median 50%
$40,000
Median 50%
$40,000
Median 50%
$40,000
Median 50%
$40,000
Median 50%
$40,000
Median 50%
$82,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
AlixPartners
Highest Paying City
El Paso de Robles, CA
Highest Paying State
New Jersey
Avg Experience Level
3.9 years
How much does an Administrative Professional make at top companies?
The national average salary for an Administrative Professional in the United States is $40,345 per year or $19 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $19,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $82,000.

The largest raises come from changing jobs.

See what's out there.

Real Administrative Professional Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Analyst/Administrative Professional-Financial The Trustees of Princeton University Jul 05, 2011 $132,000 -
$170,000
Administrative Professional II Jacobs Jun 21, 2015 $63,000
Administrative Property Management Professional Destination Resorts Management Dec 01, 2010 $32,578
Administrative Professional University of Tulsa Jan 26, 2010 $31,512 -
$33,646
Administrative Professional Destination Resorts Management Dec 01, 2010 $25,294

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Top Skills for An Administrative Professional

  1. Office Supplies
  2. Customer Service
  3. Appropriate Personnel
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Implemented inventory system for office supplies and facilities maintenance.
  • Managed the customer service aspect of the facilities by contacting customers when necessary to provide relevant information.
  • Recognize all scheduled visitors and announce clients & customers to appropriate personnel on Executive Floor daily.
  • Conduct review on financial statements and reports for accuracy of computations.
  • Maintained company files and databases, handling sensitive and confidential information; performed audits to ensure consistent and accurate record keeping.

Rank:

Average Salary:

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Top 10 Best States for Administrative Professionals

  1. District of Columbia
  2. New Jersey
  3. Massachusetts
  4. California
  5. New York
  6. Connecticut
  7. Maryland
  8. Pennsylvania
  9. Rhode Island
  10. Virginia
  • (159 jobs)
  • (350 jobs)
  • (451 jobs)
  • (1,657 jobs)
  • (905 jobs)
  • (120 jobs)
  • (316 jobs)
  • (545 jobs)
  • (32 jobs)
  • (457 jobs)

Administrative Professional Resume Examples And Tips

The average resume reviewer spends between 5 to 7 seconds looking at a single resume, which leaves the average job applier with roughly six seconds to make a killer first impression. Thanks to this, a single typo or error on your resume can disqualify you right out of the gate. At Zippia, we went through over 2,500 Administrative Professional resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

Learn How To Create A Top Notch Administrative Professional Resume

View Resume Examples

Administrative Professional Demographics

Gender

Female

76.7%

Male

18.2%

Unknown

5.1%
Ethnicity

White

63.7%

Hispanic or Latino

14.6%

Black or African American

12.3%

Asian

6.2%

Unknown

3.2%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

57.7%

German

9.9%

French

5.6%

Portuguese

4.2%

Arabic

4.2%

Italian

2.8%

Swedish

1.4%

Irish

1.4%

Chinese

1.4%

Turkish

1.4%

Hebrew

1.4%

Ilocano

1.4%

Indonesian

1.4%

Russian

1.4%

Tagalog

1.4%

Mandarin

1.4%

Polish

1.4%
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Administrative Professional Education

Schools

Columbus State Community College

8.6%

Kaplan University

8.6%

Ashford University

6.9%

Ohio State University

6.0%

American InterContinental University

6.0%

Georgia Institute of Technology -

6.0%

Franklin University

5.2%

Arizona State University

5.2%

Strayer University

5.2%

Troy University

4.3%

Georgia State University

4.3%

University of Louisville

4.3%

Purdue University

4.3%

Liberty University

4.3%

New Jersey City University

3.4%

Michigan State University

3.4%

Old Dominion University

3.4%

Kent State University

3.4%

George Mason University

3.4%

University of California - Santa Barbara

3.4%
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Majors

Business

34.8%

Psychology

7.0%

Health Care Administration

5.6%

Criminal Justice

5.3%

Communication

4.7%

Management

4.4%

Human Resources Management

4.4%

Accounting

4.2%

English

3.7%

General Studies

3.3%

Education

3.1%

Computer Science

2.8%

Nursing

2.7%

Marketing

2.5%

Political Science

2.0%

Finance

2.0%

Graphic Design

2.0%

Liberal Arts

1.9%

Human Services

1.9%

Elementary Education

1.7%
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Degrees

Bachelors

43.0%

Associate

20.7%

Masters

13.0%

High School Diploma

11.1%

Certificate

7.8%

Diploma

2.7%

Doctorate

1.0%

License

0.6%
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Updated May 18, 2020