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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

  • $54,768

    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
Management Assistant Account Manager Billing Specialist
Accounts Receivable Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Accounts Payable Clerk Operations Manager Assistant Director
Administrative Director
8 Yearsyrs
Management Assistant Assistant Branch Manager Office Manager
Administrative Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Accounts Payable Clerk Legal Assistant Administrative Coordinator
Administrative Supervisor
5 Yearsyrs
Administrative Support Accounts Payable Clerk Finance Analyst
Assistant Vice President
7 Yearsyrs
Program Coordinator Account Executive Office Manager
Business Office Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Technical Support Specialist Project Manager General Manager
Center Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Program Assistant Program Manager Operations Director
Chief Operating Officer
12 Yearsyrs
Program Assistant Case Manager
Clinical Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Technician Analyst Data Analyst
Data Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Human Resources Coordinator Human Resources Manager
Director Of Human Resources
10 Yearsyrs
Administrative Specialist Specialist Maintenance Technician
Facilities Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Human Resources Coordinator Human Resources Generalist
Human Resources Business Partner
10 Yearsyrs
Technician Production Supervisor Warehouse Manager
Logistics Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Program Coordinator Assistant Director Office Manager
Office Manager Of Human Resources
7 Yearsyrs
Administrative Specialist Office Manager
Practice Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Technical Support Specialist Specialist Account Manager
Relationship Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Administrative Support Human Resources Coordinator Operations Manager
Site Manager
7 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as an Administrative Support Assistant?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Top Employers Before
Secretary 6.6%
Cashier 5.3%
Internship 4.7%
Teller 2.7%
Clerk 2.6%
Assistant 2.4%
Volunteer 2.3%
Top Employers After
Secretary 3.5%
Cashier 3.0%
Internship 2.7%
Volunteer 2.5%
Assistant 2.5%
Clerk 2.5%
Teller 2.1%

Do you work as an Administrative Support Assistant?

Administrative Support Assistant Demographics

Gender

Female

82.6%

Male

15.7%

Unknown

1.7%
Ethnicity

White

60.2%

Hispanic or Latino

16.1%

Black or African American

12.6%

Asian

7.2%

Unknown

3.9%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

58.7%

French

6.6%

Italian

4.2%

Portuguese

4.2%

German

4.2%

Tagalog

2.4%

Chinese

2.4%

Polish

2.4%

Czech

1.8%

Arabic

1.8%

Swedish

1.2%

Vietnamese

1.2%

Hmong

1.2%

Hindi

1.2%

Mandarin

1.2%

Armenian

1.2%

Russian

1.2%

Japanese

1.2%

Macedonian

1.2%

Swahili

0.6%
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Administrative Support Assistant Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

19.0%

Troy University

8.8%

Ashford University

7.1%

Liberty University

6.3%

Strayer University

5.9%

Faulkner University

5.4%

University of Maryland - University College

5.2%

Auburn University-Montgomery

5.0%

Pennsylvania State University

4.6%

Alabama State University

4.0%

Southern New Hampshire University

3.3%

Kaplan University

3.1%

Capella University

3.1%

Northern Virginia Community College

3.1%

University of Alabama

2.9%

Oklahoma State University

2.7%

Grand Canyon University

2.7%

Webster University

2.5%

Central Texas College

2.5%

Tidewater Community College

2.5%
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Majors

Business

33.5%

Health Care Administration

7.1%

Psychology

6.2%

Accounting

5.5%

Criminal Justice

5.4%

Human Resources Management

4.5%

Management

3.5%

Communication

3.2%

Education

3.1%

Computer Information Systems

3.0%

General Studies

3.0%

Computer Science

2.8%

Nursing

2.8%

English

2.8%

Liberal Arts

2.6%

Legal Support Services

2.4%

Information Technology

2.3%

Medical Assisting Services

2.2%

General Education, Specific Areas

2.0%

Social Work

2.0%
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Degrees

Bachelors

35.3%

Other

27.4%

Associate

14.4%

Masters

13.8%

Certificate

6.3%

Diploma

1.8%

Doctorate

0.6%

License

0.3%
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Top Skills for An Administrative Support Assistant

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  1. Personnel
  2. Procedures
  3. Data Entry
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Prepare correspondences in response to inquiries and to disseminate information concerning personnel and administrative matters.
  • Advised divisions of the development and implementation of administrative policies and procedures and implements changes to promote or improve operations.
  • Completed and reviewed weekly data entry reports using Excel Spreadsheet validating entries before final approval.
  • Provided internal and external customer service, answered contractor inquiries and provided information to resolve project issues and concerns.
  • Prepared travel arrangements, travel authorizations and subsequently preparing travel vouchers for approval.

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Top Administrative Support Assistant Employers

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