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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.

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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Office Assistant jobs

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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
Receptionist and Assistant Registrar Richard L. Feigen & Co., Inc. New York, NY Oct 01, 2014 $34,000
Office Assistant JXJ Technologies, Inc. Norcross, GA Dec 01, 2011 $33,392 -
$37,566
Office Assistant Danish Cultural Interpreter Kastel Denmark Reno, NV Mar 21, 2016 $32,515 -
$35,479
Office Assistant Congregation Beth Jacob Redwood City, CA Oct 03, 2011 $31,806
Office Assistant Guillermo A Roman DDS Inc. CA Jun 28, 2016 $31,700
Office Assistant Cubiculum Home Inc. New York, NY Aug 01, 2014 $31,305
Office Assistant SPH America, LLC Vienna, VA Jun 12, 2016 $30,992
Office Assistant Hiler Chiropractic Naples, FL Jan 05, 2015 $30,000
Office Assistant Pannun The Firm, PC Jackson, NY Dec 16, 2008 $30,000
Office Assistant K S Park Dc PC Annandale, VA Jul 28, 2015 $29,245
Office Assistant Cristian Chirla DDS Inc. Akron, OH Apr 20, 2009 $29,009
Office Assistant Union Dental Group Anaheim, Inc. Anaheim, CA Dec 30, 2016 $28,330
Clerical Assistant-Trainee Wendell W Wheeler Lake City, FL Oct 01, 2014 $26,088
Office Assistant Focus Construction, Inc. Los Angeles, CA Feb 24, 2016 $26,042
Office Assistant J One Trading, Inc. Los Angeles, CA May 01, 2015 $26,042

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Top Skills for An Office Assistant

DataEntryCustomerServiceSkillsPhoneCallsTelephoneCallsPayrollGeneralOfficeSchedulingAppointmentsOfficeSuppliesFrontDeskFinancialOfficeEquipmentSortQuickbooksPowerpointMedicalRecordsFaxMachinesReceptionAreaMulti-LinePhoneSystemBankDepositsTemporary

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Top Office Assistant Skills

  1. Data Entry
  2. Customer Service Skills
  3. Phone Calls
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Performed billing as well as data entry.
  • Applied customer service skills by directing students/staff/guests with appointments to wait comfortably, and inquiring upon the assistant/director
  • Answer phone calls and direct calls to appropriate parties or take messages.
  • Received and relayed emergency telephone calls.
  • Submit weekly client and staff payroll and monthly county billing for staff.

Top Office Assistant Employers