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Become An Office Associate

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Working As An Office Associate

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

  • Repetitive

  • $33,910

    Average Salary

What Does An Office Associate 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 Office Associate

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 Associate jobs

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Office Associate Career Paths

Office Associate
Office Manager Accounts Payable Clerk Staff Accountant
Accounting Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Data Entry Associate Security Officer Night Auditor
Assistant General Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Accounts Payable Clerk Accountant Finance Analyst
Assistant Vice President
7 Yearsyrs
Administrative Associate Administrative Specialist Operations Manager
Branch Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Accounts Payable Clerk Billing Specialist
Business Office Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Program Coordinator Program Manager General Manager
Chief Executive Officer
8 Yearsyrs
Specialist Account Manager Marketing Director
Development Director
9 Yearsyrs
Data Entry Associate Case Manager Assistant Director
Director Of Admissions
7 Yearsyrs
Office Administrator Accounts Payable Clerk Accountant
Finance Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Legal Assistant Program Coordinator Event Manager
Food And Beverage Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Office Manager Operations Manager
General Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Specialist Forklift Operator Warehouse Manager
Logistics Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Billing Specialist Home Health Aid Unit Secretary
Office Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Administrative Associate Human Resources Coordinator Payroll Specialist
Payroll Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Program Coordinator Assistant Director Office Manager
Practice Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Legal Assistant Office Manager Realtor
Property Management Specialist
6 Yearsyrs
Human Resources Coordinator Program Manager General Manager
Property Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Human Resources Coordinator Specialist Account Manager
Regional Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Billing Specialist Specialist Account Manager
Sales Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Office Administrator Human Resources Coordinator Program Manager
Senior Manager
10 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
Service Secretary 3.3 years
Clerical Secretary 3.1 years
Office Technician 3.0 years
Office Associate 3.0 years
Personal Secretary 2.9 years
Office Lead 2.8 years
Secretary 2.8 years
Office Specialist 2.8 years
Staff Assistant 2.6 years
Office Secretary 2.5 years
Office Assistance 2.4 years
Clerk 2.3 years
Office Clerk 2.2 years
Front Office Clerk 2.2 years
Office Worker 2.1 years
Office Assistant 2.0 years
Office Helper 2.0 years
Office Employee 2.0 years
Office Aide 1.6 years
Office Volunteer 1.4 years
Top Employers Before
Cashier 10.8%
Internship 5.8%
Secretary 4.2%
Manager 3.0%
Associate 2.6%
Server 2.3%
Volunteer 2.2%
Teller 2.2%
Clerk 1.8%
Assistant 1.8%
Top Employers After
Cashier 7.1%
Internship 4.7%
Associate 3.9%
Server 2.8%
Volunteer 2.3%
Teller 2.1%
Specialist 2.0%

Office Associate Demographics

Gender

Female

75.8%

Male

22.5%

Unknown

1.7%
Ethnicity

White

80.4%

Hispanic or Latino

11.0%

Asian

6.5%

Unknown

1.6%

Black or African American

0.5%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

56.1%

French

12.8%

German

3.9%

Mandarin

3.6%

Chinese

3.3%

Hindi

3.0%

Italian

2.4%

Portuguese

2.1%

Cantonese

1.8%

Russian

1.5%

Urdu

1.5%

Arabic

1.5%

Ukrainian

1.2%

Tagalog

1.2%

Korean

0.9%

Filipino

0.9%

Serbian

0.9%

Greek

0.6%

Polish

0.6%

Swedish

0.3%
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Office Associate Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

15.3%

Western Kentucky University

7.5%

University of Alabama at Birmingham

6.6%

Liberty University

6.2%

University of Alabama

6.0%

Mississippi State University

5.7%

Ohio State University

5.5%

Kaplan University

4.9%

Ashford University

4.3%

Southern New Hampshire University

4.2%

Strayer University

4.0%

Texas A&M University

3.8%

Eastern Kentucky University

3.8%

Pennsylvania State University

3.6%

Blinn College

3.4%

Virginia Commonwealth University

3.2%

Walden University

3.0%

University of Wyoming

3.0%

University of South Florida

3.0%

American InterContinental University

3.0%
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Majors

Business

29.3%

Accounting

9.7%

Health Care Administration

8.5%

Psychology

6.8%

Criminal Justice

4.6%

Communication

4.0%

Nursing

3.7%

General Studies

3.6%

Finance

3.4%

Liberal Arts

3.0%

Medical Assisting Services

2.7%

Human Resources Management

2.7%

Management

2.7%

Political Science

2.4%

Computer Science

2.3%

Biology

2.3%

English

2.2%

Marketing

2.2%

Education

2.0%

Social Work

1.9%
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Degrees

Bachelors

39.5%

Other

26.4%

Associate

15.3%

Masters

10.9%

Certificate

5.1%

Diploma

1.6%

Doctorate

1.0%

License

0.4%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Real Office Associate Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Middle Office Associate World First USA, Inc. Austin, TX Mar 10, 2016 $45,000
Front Office Associate Inview Medical Imaging Fremont, CA Jan 05, 2016 $38,547
Front Office Associate Inview Medical Imaging Fremont, CA Jul 03, 2016 $37,566
Front Office Associate Inview Medical Imaging Fremont, CA Jan 05, 2016 $37,566 -
$38,610
Office Associate Wyoming Energy Council, Inc. Laramie, WY Sep 09, 2014 $29,120

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Top Skills for An Office Associate

DataEntryFinancialReportsPayrollProcessingDatabaseManagementPhoneCallsOfficeSuppliesGeneralOfficeBankDepositsCreditCardScheduleAppointmentsFrontOfficeFrontDeskOfficeEquipmentSortTravelArrangementsAuditTelephoneCallsResourcePowerpointSalesFloor

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Top Office Associate Skills

  1. Data Entry
  2. Financial Reports
  3. Payroll Processing
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Performed data entry, accounting on new car deals, and accounts receivable duties.
  • Prepared financial reports, budget spreadsheets and administered database.
  • Prepared weekly schedules and bi-weekly timesheets for payroll processing.
  • Coordinated all activities including scheduling, staffing, document preparation, and database management.
  • Answer incoming telephone calls regarding employers accounts

Top Office Associate Employers

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