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Become An Administrative Specialist

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Working As An Administrative Specialist

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

  • Repetitive

  • $57,963

    Average Salary

What Does An Administrative Specialist 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 Specialist

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 Specialist Career Paths

Administrative Specialist
Office Manager Accounts Payable Clerk Staff Accountant
Accounting Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Accounts Payable Clerk Accounts Receivable Specialist
Accounts Receivable Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Case Manager Registered Nurse Case Manager Nursing Director
Administrative Director
8 Yearsyrs
Security Officer Operator Office Manager
Administrative Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Program Assistant Administrative Coordinator
Administrative Supervisor
5 Yearsyrs
Security Officer Night Auditor Front Desk Supervisor
Assistant General Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Case Manager Program Director Chairperson
Board Of Directors Member
8 Yearsyrs
Human Resource Specialist Specialist Operations Manager
Business Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Administrative Coordinator Human Resources Assistant Billing Specialist
Business Office Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Specialist Case Manager
Clinical Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Project Coordinator Account Manager Purchasing Manager
Contracts Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Human Resources Coordinator Analyst Data Analyst
Data Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Accounts Payable Clerk Project Coordinator Assistant Director
Director Of Admissions
7 Yearsyrs
Specialist Operations Manager General Manager
Facilities Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Office Manager Human Resources Coordinator Human Resources Generalist
Human Resources Business Partner
10 Yearsyrs
Human Resources Coordinator Specialist Operation Supervisor
Logistics Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Administrative Coordinator Project Coordinator Human Resources Coordinator
Office Manager Of Human Resources
7 Yearsyrs
Project Coordinator Operations Manager
Practice Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Program Assistant Office Administrator Administrative Coordinator
Senior Administrative Coordinator
6 Yearsyrs
Human Resource Specialist Recruiter Operations Manager
Site Manager
7 Yearsyrs
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Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Office Specialist 2.8 years
Top Careers Before Administrative Specialist
Secretary 6.2%
Cashier 4.3%
Internship 3.5%
Teller 2.9%
Clerk 2.4%
Manager 2.4%
Supervisor 1.8%
Top Careers After Administrative Specialist
Secretary 4.0%
Specialist 2.8%
Manager 2.6%
Cashier 2.6%

Do you work as an Administrative Specialist?

Administrative Specialist Demographics

Gender

Female

74.4%

Male

23.3%

Unknown

2.3%
Ethnicity

White

61.4%

Hispanic or Latino

14.9%

Black or African American

13.2%

Asian

7.0%

Unknown

3.4%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

59.4%

French

7.0%

Portuguese

3.3%

Japanese

3.3%

Chinese

3.1%

German

3.1%

Russian

2.5%

Arabic

2.5%

Mandarin

2.1%

Korean

1.9%

Hindi

1.7%

Italian

1.7%

Carrier

1.6%

Urdu

1.6%

Vietnamese

1.2%

Polish

1.0%

Swedish

0.8%

Cantonese

0.8%

Greek

0.8%

Dari

0.6%
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Administrative Specialist Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

22.7%

Strayer University

8.2%

Liberty University

6.0%

Ashford University

5.0%

Midlands Technical College

4.8%

University of Maryland - University College

4.6%

American InterContinental University

4.2%

Northern Virginia Community College

4.1%

Webster University

4.1%

Trident Technical College

4.0%

Kaplan University

3.9%

University of Arkansas at Little Rock

3.8%

Capella University

3.8%

Troy University

3.7%

Grand Canyon University

3.1%

Greenville Technical College

3.0%

Southern New Hampshire University

2.8%

University of North Texas

2.7%

University of Connecticut

2.7%

University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

2.6%
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Majors

Business

35.0%

Criminal Justice

6.6%

Accounting

6.4%

Health Care Administration

5.4%

Human Resources Management

5.2%

Psychology

5.1%

Management

4.5%

General Studies

3.5%

Communication

3.4%

Computer Information Systems

2.7%

Nursing

2.7%

Education

2.6%

Computer Science

2.4%

Legal Support Services

2.3%

English

2.3%

Liberal Arts

2.2%

Marketing

2.0%

Medical Assisting Services

1.9%

Information Technology

1.8%

Human Services

1.8%
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Degrees

Bachelors

35.1%

Other

26.5%

Masters

15.1%

Associate

14.6%

Certificate

5.8%

Diploma

1.8%

Doctorate

0.9%

License

0.3%
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Real Administrative Specialist Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Administrative Specialist SNF Group Corp Miami, FL Mar 17, 2016 $110,800
Administrative Specialist Finka Realty Group LLC Miami, FL Apr 19, 2016 $110,800
Administrative Specialist Cup Culture Corporation Irvine, CA Nov 21, 2016 $99,757
Administrative Specialist CGI Technologies and Solutions Inc. Sacramento, CA Sep 06, 2013 $85,000
Administrative Specialist Prestige Network Resource Consulting Inc. Los Angeles, CA May 19, 2011 $73,588
Administrative Specialist TEX-Ellent, Inc. (DBA. Paramount Textiles) Los Angeles, CA Oct 25, 2011 $73,588
Finance & Administrative Specialist Dyyno Inc. Palo Alto, CA Mar 13, 2012 $70,228
Process and Administration Specialist Aggreko LLC Houston, TX Oct 14, 2016 $65,229
Administrative Specialist 2 Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Berkeley, CA Jan 02, 2011 $61,500
Administrative Specialist Intermed Health (Financial Analyst University of Michigan Ann Arbor, MI Apr 02, 2013 $61,000
Administrative Specialist Intermed Health (Financi University of Michigan Ann Arbor, MI Feb 04, 2013 $61,000
Administrative Specialist Ocean Blue Express Inc. Compton, CA Jul 16, 2015 $58,094
Administrative Specialist Young S. Oh & Associates, P.S. CPA Lynnwood, WA Aug 26, 2016 $56,909
Accounts and Sales Administration Specialist Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company Houston, TX Sep 28, 2012 $54,912 -
$74,381
Import Administrative Specialist O.K.K. Trading, Inc. Commerce City, CO Dec 01, 2010 $54,617
Financial and Administrative Specialist Par Systems, Inc. Shoreview, MN Jun 25, 2011 $53,851
Business Administrative Specialist Upland Dental Implant & Orthodontics Wildomar, CA Jan 18, 2012 $53,219
Financial/Administrative Specialist Interesse International, Inc. New York, NY Apr 01, 2014 $52,759
Administrative Specialist University of California, Los Angeles Los Angeles, CA Mar 09, 2015 $51,511
Corporate Administrative Specialist Dentsu Holdings USA, Inc. New York, NY Sep 16, 2012 $46,384
Press Administrative Specialist Smart Alabama LLC Luverne, AL Sep 15, 2011 $45,142
Press Administrative Specialist Smart Alabama LLC Luverne, AL Jan 24, 2011 $45,142
Accounting/Administrative Specialist TOYO Tire North America Manufacturing Inc. White, GA Oct 01, 2013 $41,766
Administrative Specialist Atlanta USA Investment LLC Duluth, GA Sep 28, 2016 $41,642
Administrative Specialist II Iowa State University of Science and Technology Ames, IA Dec 01, 2011 $41,135
Administrative Specialist II Iowa State University of Science and Technology Ames, IA Oct 11, 2011 $41,135
Administrative Specialist Korean American Association of Chicago Chicago, IL May 08, 2015 $40,456
Administrative Specialist Korean American Association of Chicago Chicago, IL Sep 03, 2016 $40,456
Administrative Specialist Master Klass Academy LLC Fort Lee, NJ Feb 25, 2016 $39,936

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Top Skills for An Administrative Specialist

  1. Personnel
  2. Administrative Procedures
  3. Statistics
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Created a personnel evaluation tracking system that was adopted by our parent organization.
  • Streamlined administrative procedures by developing a data-tracking worksheet for case files allowing staff to identify relevant information immediately for each case.
  • Collected and analyzed the Relocation Assistance Program, Personal Financial Management Program, and Transition Assistance Management Program quarterly report statistics.
  • Prepared expenditure requests and ordered office supplies.
  • Perform Administrative duties while obtaining outstanding customer service to conduct eligibility interviews for WIC clients.

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Top 10 Best States for Administrative Specialists

  1. Massachusetts
  2. District of Columbia
  3. Alaska
  4. Rhode Island
  5. Minnesota
  6. North Dakota
  7. Connecticut
  8. California
  9. New York
  10. New Jersey
  • (882 jobs)
  • (303 jobs)
  • (55 jobs)
  • (74 jobs)
  • (526 jobs)
  • (88 jobs)
  • (243 jobs)
  • (2,775 jobs)
  • (1,364 jobs)
  • (610 jobs)

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