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Become An Administrative Support Assistant

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Working As An Administrative Support Assistant

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

  • Repetitive

  • $42,740

    Average Salary

What Does An Administrative Support Assistant 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 Support Assistant

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 Support Assistant jobs

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Administrative Support Assistant Career Paths

Administrative Support Assistant
Administrative Support Specialist Support Specialist Program Coordinator
Account Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Administrative Support Accounts Payable Clerk Staff Accountant
Accounting Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Management Assistant Assistant Branch Manager
Branch Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Administrative Support Specialist Administrative Support Human Resources Coordinator
Chief Executive Officer
8 Yearsyrs
Case Manager Service Director Operations Director
Chief Operating Officer
11 Yearsyrs
Administrative Support Human Resources Coordinator
Director Of Human Resources
10 Yearsyrs
Management Assistant Account Executive Sales Manager
Director Of Sales
10 Yearsyrs
Support Worker Social Worker Service Supervisor
District Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Budget Analyst Controller Assistant General Manager
Food And Beverage Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Program Analyst Program Manager
General Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Administrative Specialist Human Resource Specialist Human Resources Generalist
Human Resources Business Partner
10 Yearsyrs
Case Manager Program Coordinator Assistant Director
Office Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Program Analyst Project Manager Program Manager
Operations Director
9 Yearsyrs
Program Coordinator Assistant Director Office Manager
Operations Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Budget Analyst Finance Analyst Accounting Manager
Payroll Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Administrative Specialist Human Resources Coordinator Project Manager
Program Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Support Worker Case Manager Operations Manager
Property Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Program Coordinator Project Coordinator Operations Manager
Purchasing Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Program Assistant Program Manager
Senior Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Program Assistant Program Coordinator Program Manager
Senior Project Manager
12 Yearsyrs
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Administrative Support Assistant Demographics

Gender

  • Female

    83.7%
  • Male

    14.7%
  • Unknown

    1.7%

Ethnicity

  • White

    80.1%
  • Hispanic or Latino

    11.3%
  • Asian

    6.6%
  • Unknown

    1.5%
  • Black or African American

    0.5%
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Languages Spoken

  • Spanish

    56.6%
  • French

    7.1%
  • German

    5.1%
  • Italian

    4.0%
  • Portuguese

    4.0%
  • Czech

    3.0%
  • Arabic

    3.0%
  • Vietnamese

    2.0%
  • Armenian

    2.0%
  • Russian

    2.0%
  • Polish

    2.0%
  • Swedish

    1.0%
  • Hindi

    1.0%
  • Hmong

    1.0%
  • Korean

    1.0%
  • Carrier

    1.0%
  • Croatian

    1.0%
  • Chinese

    1.0%
  • Japanese

    1.0%
  • Macedonian

    1.0%
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Administrative Support Assistant

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Administrative Support Assistant Education

Administrative Support Assistant

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Top Skills for An Administrative Support Assistant

PersonnelActionsOfficeProceduresDataEntryCustomerServicePayrollFinancialPurchaseCardOfficeSuppliesTravelArrangementsTelephoneCallsPhoneCallsFacilityStaffMembersWordProcessingSoftwareResourcePowerpointYouthManagementSystemOfficeAutomationEquipmentSafetyAppropriateStaff

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Top Administrative Support Assistant Skills

  1. Personnel Actions
  2. Office Procedures
  3. Data Entry
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Monitored, tracked and coordinated personnel actions for the Battalion to ensure timely action to obtain desired results.
  • Trained all new employees on office procedures and accounting systems.
  • Completed and reviewed weekly data entry reports using Excel Spreadsheet validating entries before final approval.
  • Front Office Representative: Provided students, staff and faculty with excellent customer service.
  • Updated and maintained leave cards on all payroll employees including vacation, sick, holiday, and comp time records.

Top Administrative Support Assistant Employers