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Become An Assistant

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Working As An 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 Assistant Do

An Assistant is a person who ranks below a senior person. They provide support to the managers and employees, helping in daily office needs.

How To Become An 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.


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.


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.


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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Assistant jobs

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Assistant Career Paths

Assistant Demographics


  • Female

  • Male

  • Unknown



  • White

  • Hispanic or Latino

  • Asian

  • Unknown

  • Black or African American

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Languages Spoken

  • Spanish

  • French

  • Chinese

  • Mandarin

  • German

  • Italian

  • Russian

  • Japanese

  • Portuguese

  • Arabic

  • Korean

  • Cantonese

  • Hindi

  • Vietnamese

  • Polish

  • Urdu

  • Greek

  • Tagalog

  • Hebrew

  • Swedish

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Assistant Education


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Real Assistant Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Assistant Johns Hopkins University Baltimore, MD Jul 14, 2014 $193,600
Assistant Quantitative Strategist Pacific Life Insurance Company Newport Beach, CA Dec 19, 2014 $114,213
Architectural Assistant DHD Architecture Design, PLLC New York, NY Jun 11, 2014 $100,000
Architectural Assistant DHD Architecture PC New York, NY Aug 11, 2015 $100,000
Physican Assistant Pelham Healthcare Associates, PLLC Pelham, NH Sep 24, 2013 $90,000
U.S. Equities Investment Assistant Jpmorgan Chase & Co. New York, NY Sep 13, 2016 $85,000
Assistant Specialist University of Hawaii Urban Honolulu, HI Jan 09, 2016 $81,120
Assistant Superintendant Kiska Construction Inc. Islandia, NY Sep 08, 2013 $80,000
Physican Assistant Southern Maryland Pulmonary & Critical Care Pa Whitehaven, MD Sep 01, 2015 $80,000 -
Assistant Specialist University of Hawaii Urban Honolulu, HI May 25, 2016 $78,000
Assistant Johns Hopkins University Baltimore, MD Jul 01, 2015 $77,500
Assistant (Astp) Johns Hopkins University Baltimore, MD Jan 07, 2016 $77,500
Assistant (Astp) The Johns Hopkins University Baltimore, MD Jan 07, 2016 $77,500
Assistant Perella Weinberg Partners Group LP New York, NY Nov 16, 2014 $76,461 -
Institutional Advancement Assistant Clare Foundation, Inc. Santa Monica, CA Jul 09, 2016 $52,500
Assistant Statistician Polaris Pharmaceuticals, Inc. San Diego, CA May 09, 2016 $52,500
Leagal Assistant Cifuentes-Marrero, P.A. Miami, FL Sep 23, 2016 $52,333
Architectural Assistant Gluckman Mayner Architects New York, NY Feb 01, 2014 $52,000
Architectural Assistant NMM Inc. Miami Beach, FL Jan 09, 2016 $52,000
Flame Assistant Click 3X LLC New York, NY Sep 16, 2016 $51,591
Assistant Pacific Union College Angwin, CA Nov 01, 2014 $51,409
Endodontic Assistant Ernest Anthony Rillman DMD Largo, FL Sep 19, 2015 $41,600
Endodontic Assistant Ernest Nathony Rillman DMD Largo, FL Sep 01, 2015 $41,600
Chineseteaching Assistant The University of Montana Missoula, MT Jun 15, 2016 $41,600
Reseach Assistant University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Little Rock, AR Jan 05, 2015 $40,706
Predoctoral Assistant University of Minnesota Minneapolis, MN Jan 08, 2015 $40,000
Export Assistant Haykingdom Inc. Winters, CA Sep 20, 2016 $39,131
Progam Assistant The Ohio State University Columbus, OH Apr 28, 2013 $38,875

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Top Skills for An Assistant


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Top Assistant Skills

  1. Customer Service Skills
  2. Procedures
  3. Safe Environment
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Developed high customer service skills.
  • Performed full service banking transactions in compliance with legal requirements and bank policies and procedures.
  • Maintained a safe environment for children and help prepare them for school.
  • Provide assistance to passengers with special needs Provide assistance to people with large bags.
  • Light administrative work such as filing, copying, and data entry.

Top Assistant Employers