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Become A Staff Assistant

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Working As A Staff Assistant

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

  • Repetitive

  • $63,360

    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 jobs

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Staff Assistant Career Paths

Staff Assistant
Office Administrator Accounts Payable Clerk Specialist
Account Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Case Manager Assistant Director Office Manager
Branch Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Program Manager General Manager
Chief Executive Officer
8 Yearsyrs
Human Resources Coordinator Human Resources Manager
Director Of Human Resources
10 Yearsyrs
Billing Specialist Specialist Account Manager
District Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Account Executive Executive Executive Chef
Food And Beverage Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Case Manager Program Director General Manager
Food Service Director
9 Yearsyrs
Office Manager Operations Manager
General Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Office Administrator Human Resources Coordinator
Human Resources Business Partner
10 Yearsyrs
Office Manager Human Resources Coordinator
Human Resources Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Billing Specialist Accountant Account Manager
Marketing Director
7 Yearsyrs
Administrative Coordinator Project Coordinator Program Manager
Marketing Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Administrative Coordinator Program Coordinator Assistant Director
Office Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Program Coordinator Program Manager General Manager
Operations Director
9 Yearsyrs
Accounts Payable Clerk Billing Specialist Specialist
Operations Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Account Executive Office Manager Payroll Specialist
Payroll Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Program Coordinator Project Manager
Program Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Construction Manager Operations Manager
Purchasing Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Accounts Payable Clerk Accountant Finance Manager
Sales Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Human Resources Coordinator Human Resources Generalist
Senior Human Resources Generalist
7 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
Senior Secretary 4.0 years
School Secretary 3.8 years
Clerk Typist 3.6 years
Division Secretary 3.5 years
Service Secretary 3.3 years
Clerical Secretary 3.1 years
Staff Associate 3.0 years
Program Secretary 3.0 years
Staff Assistant 3.0 years
Personal Secretary 2.9 years
Office Specialist 2.8 years
Secretary 2.8 years
Office Associate 2.7 years
Office Secretary 2.5 years
Office Assistance 2.4 years
Assistant Operator 2.3 years
Team Assistant 2.1 years
Office Assistant 2.0 years
Assistant 1.9 years
Project Assistant 1.7 years
Top Employers Before
Internship 14.1%
Secretary 6.3%
Cashier 3.8%
Volunteer 2.6%
Assistant 2.6%
Clerk 2.4%
Manager 2.0%
Top Employers After
Internship 7.7%
Cashier 3.8%
Consultant 3.4%
Volunteer 3.2%
Manager 3.1%
Secretary 2.8%
Associate 2.7%

Staff Assistant Demographics

Gender

Female

71.1%

Male

26.6%

Unknown

2.3%
Ethnicity

White

79.9%

Hispanic or Latino

10.8%

Asian

7.2%

Unknown

1.6%

Black or African American

0.5%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

48.5%

French

14.6%

Chinese

5.0%

Mandarin

4.4%

German

4.1%

Italian

3.9%

Portuguese

3.3%

Arabic

3.0%

Russian

2.4%

Korean

2.0%

Japanese

2.0%

Cantonese

1.5%

Greek

1.1%

Vietnamese

0.9%

Turkish

0.6%

Hmong

0.6%

Hindi

0.6%

Tagalog

0.6%

Dakota

0.6%

Polish

0.6%
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Staff Assistant Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

12.2%

George Washington University

10.5%

American University

6.7%

Florida State University

6.3%

Pennsylvania State University

6.3%

University of Maryland - University College

5.6%

Utah State University

5.0%

Georgetown University

4.8%

George Mason University

4.6%

Strayer University

4.3%

Northeastern University

3.8%

Harvard University

3.7%

University of Vermont

3.5%

University of South Florida

3.5%

Tallahassee Community College

3.5%

Liberty University

3.3%

University of Oklahoma

3.3%

University of Kentucky

3.1%

Kaplan University

3.1%

University of Central Florida

3.0%
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Majors

Business

25.8%

Political Science

10.4%

Psychology

6.1%

Communication

5.5%

Accounting

5.5%

Health Care Administration

4.9%

Criminal Justice

4.2%

Law

4.0%

English

3.9%

Management

3.6%

Liberal Arts

3.3%

Human Resources Management

3.3%

Sociology

2.9%

Education

2.7%

Nursing

2.5%

Marketing

2.5%

History

2.4%

Public Administration

2.3%

General Studies

2.2%

Social Work

2.1%
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Degrees

Bachelors

40.8%

Other

20.4%

Masters

19.9%

Associate

9.2%

Certificate

5.2%

Doctorate

3.3%

Diploma

1.1%

License

0.2%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

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
Staff Assistant, Systems Analyst Bridgewater State University Bridgewater, MA Jul 08, 2014 $75,000
Research Staff/Assistant In Chemistry General Hospital Corporation MA Jan 08, 2016 $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 Dec 17, 2014 $53,000
Operation Staff Assistant Jackson State University Jackson, MS Feb 06, 2015 $53,000
Staff Assistant/Assessment Specialist State University of New York Empire State College New York, NY Oct 01, 2012 $50,614
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
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 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
Staff Assistant/Institutional Research Specialist State University of New York Empire State College New York, NY Aug 21, 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

ConstituentCorrespondenceDataEntryProceduresPersonnelFilesCustomerServiceFinancialStatementsPayrollTravelArrangementsPolicyOfficeSuppliesPhoneCallsSuperviseStaffMembersSafetySpecialProjectsPowerpointExpenseReportsAdministrativeAssistanceResourceSpecialEvents

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Top Staff Assistant Skills

  1. Constituent Correspondence
  2. Data Entry
  3. Procedures
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Monitored constituent correspondence and conducted US Capitol tours for constituents, VIPs and personal guests of the Senator.
  • Assisted in all areas of administrative work including data entry, receptionist duties, file organization, research and development.
  • Drafted extensive failure analysis report with complete photo documentation of testing procedures.
  • Compile and maintain confidential departmental personnel files
  • Provided daily customer service for MBA students and newly admitted students.

Top Staff Assistant Employers