Become An Office Assistant

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Working As An Office 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 Office Assistant Do

An office assistant is generally responsible for a wide variety of duties, and their jobs often differ depending on their employer.

How To Become An Office 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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50 Office Assistant jobs

Healthy Kids Pediatric Center
Ashburn, VA
Pediatric Medical Office Assistant

$30,590 Estimated

Canon Business Process Services
Ashburn, VA
Office Service Representative I

$33,779 Estimated

Erickson Living
Ashburn, VA
Business Office Manager- CC

$47,765 Estimated

Health Options 16
Ashburn, VA
Healthcare home office

$31,720 Estimated

My Young Enterprise
Ashburn, VA
Home Office Positions-Interviewing Daily

$31,720 Estimated

Caruso Inc.
Ashburn, VA
Health Specialist Opportunity Home Office

$71,630 Estimated

Ashburn, VA
CSR Home Office Work

$30,000 Estimated

Curtiss Wright
Ashburn, VA
Assistant Security Officer

$24,960 Estimated

Curtiss Wright
Ashburn, VA
Assistant Security Officer

$24,960 Estimated

Ashburn, VA
Internal Auditor Sr - Open to any NGS office (PS3094)

$55,300 Estimated

Ashburn, VA
Implementation Coord or Lead - Any Anthem Office Location (PS4477)

$90,000 Estimated

Ashburn, VA
Implementation Lead

$90,000 Estimated

Ashburn, VA
BH Case Mgr I, II, III-Denver, CO (preferred), any Anthem office

$42,675 Estimated

Ashburn, VA
Provider Data Analyst - St. Louis, MO or Springfield, MO - (Office-based) - PS2559

$64,042 Estimated

Ashburn, VA
RN Nurse Medical Mgmt I

$64,274 Estimated

Ashburn, VA
Data Technician - Open to Any NGS Office Listed Below *FUTURE OPPORTUNITY*

$62,483 Estimated

Applied Memetics LLC
Washington, DC
Administrative Clerical

$42,740 Estimated

Mayer Brown LLP
Washington, DC
Clerical Assistant

$42,740 Estimated

Georgetown Univerisity
Washington, DC
Front Desk Assistant, Scott K. Ginsberg Fitness Center - Georgetown University Law Center

$42,740 Estimated

Xator Corporation
Reston, VA
Receptionist Assistant

$42,740 Estimated

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Real Office Assistant Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Office Assistant Sea & Blue, Inc. Los Angeles, CA Feb 12, 2015 $49,358
Bookkeeping/Office Assistant T Account LLC CO Aug 22, 2014 $45,267
Paralegal/Office Assistant/Researcher Sheldon, Flood & Haywood PLC Fairfax, VA Jun 22, 2015 $43,890
Office Assistant Tar-B Precision MacHining Corp Bensenville, IL Feb 12, 2016 $43,472
Office Assistant Cubiculum Home Inc. New York, NY Aug 01, 2014 $41,740
Law Office Assistant Ho Jin Park, Esquire Fort Lee, NJ Dec 01, 2016 $39,000
Office Assistant Doctors Cardio-Vascular Imaging, P.C. New York, NY Mar 06, 2015 $38,522
Office Assistant Raw Engineering, Inc. San Francisco, CA Sep 11, 2016 $37,378
Office Assistant Stimpfel and Stimpfel Floral Park, NY Mar 03, 2009 $35,959
Office Assistant Caravan Serai Orlando, Inc. Orlando, FL Aug 30, 2016 $35,048
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Top Skills for An Office Assistant


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Top Office Assistant Skills

  1. Data Entry
  2. Customer Service Skills
  3. Telephone Calls
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Completed sales orders Data entry Customer service Monitored contracts Prepared sales reports
  • Applied customer service skills by directing students/staff/guests with appointments to wait comfortably, and inquiring upon the assistant/director
  • Received and relayed emergency telephone calls.
  • Answered phone calls and relayed messages Delivered office material to different work stations Updated community center records
  • Perform general office duties, such as ordering supplies, maintaining records management database systems, and performing basic bookkeeping work.

Top Office Assistant Employers

What Kind Of Companies Hire an Office Assistant

  1. Food Lion
  2. Office Team
  3. D.R. Horton
  4. H&R Block
  5. Adecco
  6. Dr. Tavel Family Eye Care
  7. Sears Holdings Corporation
  8. Express Employment Professionals
  9. Allstate Insurance
  10. Kelly Services
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