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Become A Staff Assistant

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Working As A Staff Assistant

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

  • Repetitive

  • $39,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Staff 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 A Staff 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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Staff Assistant Career Paths

Staff Assistant
Executive Assistant Office Manager
Business Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Executive Assistant Office Manager Property Manager
Communications Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Executive Assistant Manager Office Manager
Accounting Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Program Coordinator Consultant Assistant Manager
Assistant General Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Program Coordinator Consultant Operations Manager
Site Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Program Coordinator Consultant Store Manager
Center Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Specialist Account Executive
Relationship Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Specialist Team Leader Account Manager
Client Services Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Specialist Accountant
Accountant And Office Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Human Resources Coordinator Executive Administrative Assistant Assistant To Executive Vice President
Senior Administrative Assistant
7 Yearsyrs
Human Resources Coordinator Team Leader Property Manager
Communications Director
6 Yearsyrs
Human Resources Coordinator Team Leader Director
Administrative Director
8 Yearsyrs
Project Coordinator Business Analyst Operations Manager
Practice Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Project Coordinator Business Analyst Senior Accountant
Accounts Payable Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Project Coordinator Executive Administrative Assistant Assistant To Executive Vice President
Senior Executive Assistant
8 Yearsyrs
Legal Secretary Administrator
Business Office Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Legal Secretary Executive Secretary Administrator
Administrative Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Legal Secretary Manager Program Manager
Associate Director
8 Yearsyrs
Account Executive Customer Service Manager Collections Manager
Accounts Receivable Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Executive Secretary Administrator Human Resources Generalist
Office Manager Of Human Resources
6 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Staff Assistant?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Head Secretary 3.8 years
Secretary 3.0 years
Staff Assistant 3.0 years
Top Careers Before Staff Assistant
Internship 13.0%
Cashier 6.9%
Secretary 6.3%
Volunteer 3.9%
Assistant 3.4%
Clerk 2.2%
Teacher 1.9%
Server 1.8%
Manager 1.8%
Top Careers After Staff Assistant
Internship 7.4%
Cashier 6.6%
Volunteer 4.5%
Assistant 3.3%
Secretary 2.9%
Consultant 2.8%
Manager 2.7%
Associate 2.4%
Server 2.3%

Do you work as a Staff Assistant?

Average Yearly Salary
$39,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$20,000
Min 10%
$39,000
Median 50%
$39,000
Median 50%
$39,000
Median 50%
$39,000
Median 50%
$39,000
Median 50%
$39,000
Median 50%
$39,000
Median 50%
$74,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Rowan University
Highest Paying City
Philadelphia, PA
Highest Paying State
Maryland
Avg Experience Level
2.7 years
How much does a Staff Assistant make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Staff Assistant in the United States is $39,425 per year or $19 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $20,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $74,000.

Real Staff Assistant Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Chief of Staff/Assistant To President Teletracking Technologies, Inc. Pittsburgh, PA Feb 01, 2013 $83,200
Research Staff/Assistant In Chemistry General Hospital Corporation MA Jan 08, 2016 $75,000
Staff Assistant, Systems Analyst Bridgewater State University Bridgewater, MA Jul 08, 2014 $75,000
Operation Staff Assistant Jackson State University Jackson, MS Sep 14, 2016 $60,050
Operation Staff Assistant Jackson State University Jackson, MS Jan 12, 2016 $56,930
Project Staff Assistant The Research Foundation of State University of New Albany, NY Oct 01, 2010 $55,000
Budget and Grant Administrator/Staff Assistant University of Massachusetts Boston Boston, MA Feb 21, 2015 $54,262
Operation Staff Assistant Jackson State University Jackson, MS Feb 06, 2015 $53,000
Operation Staff Assistant Jackson State University Jackson, MS Dec 17, 2014 $53,000
Staff Assistant/Assessment Specialist Suny Empire State College New York, NY Mar 30, 2011 $50,614
Staff Assistant/Assessment Specialist Suny Empire State College New York, NY Apr 12, 2011 $50,614
Staff Assistant/Assessment Specialist State University of New York Empire State College New York, NY Oct 01, 2012 $50,614
Project Staff Assistant Research Foundation of Suny at Buffalo Buffalo, NY Mar 01, 2013 $50,318
Budget and Grant Administrator/Staff Assistant University of Massachusetts Boston Boston, MA Feb 21, 2012 $48,982
Operation Staff Assistant Jackson State University Jackson, MS Feb 06, 2012 $48,000
Staff Assistant/Institutional Research Specialist State University of New York Empire State College Saratoga Springs, NY Jun 01, 2011 $47,840
Staff Assistant/Institutional Research Specialist State University of New York Empire State College Saratoga Springs, NY Aug 31, 2011 $47,840
Staff Assistant/Institutional Research Specialist State University of New York Empire State College New York, NY Aug 21, 2012 $47,730
Staff Assistant/Institutional Research Specialist State University of New York Empire State College New York, NY Aug 28, 2012 $47,730
Staff Assistant/Institutional Research Specialist State University of New York Empire State College Saratoga Springs, NY Sep 10, 2012 $47,730
Project Staff Assistant Research Foundation of Suny at Buffalo Buffalo, NY Mar 01, 2010 $42,000
Project Staff Assistant The Research Foundation of State University of New Albany, NY May 21, 2012 $42,000
Staff Assistant University at Albany Albany, NY Feb 15, 2012 $41,600
Staff Assistant University at Albany Albany, NY Aug 16, 2012 $41,600
Technical Staff Assistant IV The University of Texas at Arlington Arlington, TX Aug 01, 2010 $41,550
Staff Assistant University at Albany Albany, NY Jan 08, 2016 $40,856
Staff Assistant Salem State College Salem, MA Oct 14, 2010 $40,224
Staff Assistant University at Albany Albany, NY Jan 27, 2015 $39,565
Professional Staff Assistant Koerwitz, Michel, Wright & Associates, P.C. Thermopolis, WY Sep 11, 2011 $39,500

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Top Skills for A Staff Assistant

  1. Office Supplies
  2. Constituent Correspondence
  3. Data Entry
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Obtained and monitors a full range of office supplies and support services such as printing and maintenance of equipment.
  • Provided insights and expertise to maintain a productive effective working environment, with strong focus on critical constituent correspondence.
  • Performed data entry consisting of personal bank account information, address, and employment information for registered commuters.
  • Provided knowledgeable customer service for Risk Management and Liability Claims, coordinated between involved parties and determined totaled-vehicle payoffs.
  • Maintain and provide security for academic and nonacademic personnel files and recruitment files.

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Top 10 Best States for Staff Assistants

  1. Massachusetts
  2. District of Columbia
  3. Connecticut
  4. Alaska
  5. Minnesota
  6. Washington
  7. Rhode Island
  8. California
  9. Nevada
  10. New Jersey
  • (1,642 jobs)
  • (439 jobs)
  • (436 jobs)
  • (122 jobs)
  • (775 jobs)
  • (884 jobs)
  • (93 jobs)
  • (5,240 jobs)
  • (233 jobs)
  • (828 jobs)

Staff Assistant Resume Examples And Tips

The average resume reviewer spends between 5 to 7 seconds looking at a single resume, which leaves the average job applier with roughly six seconds to make a killer first impression. Thanks to this, a single typo or error on your resume can disqualify you right out of the gate. At Zippia, we went through over 22,197 Staff Assistant resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

Learn How To Create A Top Notch Staff Assistant Resume

View Resume Examples

Staff Assistant Demographics

Gender

Female

63.1%

Male

26.4%

Unknown

10.5%
Ethnicity

White

59.2%

Hispanic or Latino

16.1%

Black or African American

13.5%

Asian

7.4%

Unknown

3.8%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

52.1%

French

14.1%

Chinese

4.9%

Mandarin

4.2%

German

3.3%

Italian

3.2%

Arabic

3.0%

Portuguese

2.9%

Japanese

2.4%

Russian

1.9%

Korean

1.5%

Greek

1.4%

Cantonese

1.1%

Vietnamese

1.0%

Tagalog

0.7%

Hindi

0.5%

Turkish

0.5%

Ukrainian

0.5%

Dakota

0.5%

Urdu

0.5%
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Staff Assistant Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

14.0%

George Washington University

10.3%

American University

7.2%

Florida State University

6.4%

Strayer University

6.1%

Pennsylvania State University

5.8%

University of Maryland - University College

5.5%

Northeastern University

3.9%

Kaplan University

3.8%

University of the District of Columbia

3.7%

Georgetown University

3.6%

Harvard University

3.6%

University of Oklahoma

3.5%

Prince George's Community College

3.4%

University of South Florida

3.4%

Texas A&M University

3.3%

Utah State University

3.2%

George Mason University

3.2%

University of Central Florida

3.1%

Tallahassee Community College

2.9%
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Majors

Business

26.7%

Political Science

9.0%

Psychology

6.6%

Accounting

5.6%

Communication

5.4%

Health Care Administration

5.2%

Criminal Justice

4.7%

Nursing

3.7%

Management

3.6%

English

3.5%

Law

3.1%

Liberal Arts

3.0%

Medical Assisting Services

2.7%

Human Resources Management

2.7%

Education

2.6%

General Studies

2.6%

Sociology

2.5%

Social Work

2.4%

Marketing

2.3%

Public Administration

2.3%
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Degrees

Bachelors

40.8%

Other

21.6%

Masters

17.8%

Associate

10.3%

Certificate

5.0%

Doctorate

2.8%

Diploma

1.4%

License

0.3%
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