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Become A Technical Assistant

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Working As A Technical Assistant

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

  • Repetitive

  • $46,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Technical 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 Technical 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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Technical Assistant jobs

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Technical Assistant Career Paths

Technical Assistant
Office Manager Account Manager Account Executive
Business Development Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Laboratory Technician Office Manager
Business Office Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Maintenance Technician Instructor Case Manager
Career Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Program Manager General Manager
Chief Executive Officer
8 Yearsyrs
Computer Technician Technician Operations Manager
Chief Operating Officer
11 Yearsyrs
Service Technician Correction Officer Case Manager
Clinical Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Service Technician Technical Support Specialist Data Analyst
Data Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Laboratory Technician Field Technician Maintenance Technician
Facilities Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Technical Support Specialist Systems Administrator
Information Technology Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Senior Project Manager Business Developer
Managing Director
11 Yearsyrs
Laboratory Assistant Instructor Assistant Director
Office Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Maintenance Technician Service Manager General Manager
President/Chief Executive Officer
10 Yearsyrs
Computer Technician Technical Support Specialist Business Analyst
Product Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Technical Support Specialist Systems Engineer Project Manager
Program Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Technician Lead Technician
Project Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Specialist Account Manager Realtor
Property Management Specialist
6 Yearsyrs
Pharmacist Technician Legal Assistant Executive Assistant
Senior Executive Assistant
7 Yearsyrs
Office Manager Operations Manager
Senior Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Laboratory Assistant Technician Service Manager
Service Director
9 Yearsyrs
Technician Service Technician
Service Manager
7 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
Technical Clerk 3.1 years
Technical Trainer 3.0 years
Technical Advisor 2.4 years
Technical Aide 2.3 years
Computer Assistant 2.2 years
Student Technician 1.6 years
Top Employers Before
Internship 13.2%
Cashier 7.4%
Volunteer 4.9%
Assistant 4.2%
Technician 3.6%
Manager 2.7%
Server 2.6%
Top Employers After
Internship 9.4%
Technician 6.4%
Cashier 5.3%
Volunteer 3.8%
Manager 3.4%
Server 3.1%
Assistant 3.1%
Teacher 2.9%

Technical Assistant Demographics

Gender

Male

53.1%

Female

44.1%

Unknown

2.8%
Ethnicity

White

74.1%

Hispanic or Latino

13.1%

Asian

10.0%

Unknown

2.0%

Black or African American

0.7%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

48.6%

French

10.4%

Chinese

6.0%

Mandarin

5.2%

German

4.3%

Japanese

3.2%

Italian

2.7%

Hindi

2.5%

Korean

2.4%

Russian

2.1%

Arabic

2.1%

Portuguese

2.0%

Vietnamese

1.8%

Cantonese

1.8%

Urdu

1.2%

Tagalog

0.9%

Gujarati

0.8%

Polish

0.8%

Swedish

0.7%

Greek

0.7%
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Technical Assistant Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

13.8%

Washington State University

12.4%

University of Houston

6.0%

Iowa State University

5.2%

George Mason University

5.1%

New York University

5.1%

University of North Carolina at Charlotte

4.5%

Texas A&M University

4.4%

Michigan State University

4.4%

George Washington University

4.1%

University of Missouri - Columbia

3.8%

Middle Tennessee State University

3.8%

Pennsylvania State University

3.7%

Rochester Institute of Technology

3.6%

University of Rochester

3.4%

Southern New Hampshire University

3.4%

University of Massachusetts Amherst

3.4%

University of Florida

3.3%

Georgia State University

3.3%

Northeastern University

3.3%
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Majors

Business

18.9%

Computer Science

9.4%

Biology

6.4%

Psychology

5.7%

Electrical Engineering

5.3%

Computer Information Systems

4.8%

Criminal Justice

4.5%

Information Technology

4.5%

Communication

4.3%

Mechanical Engineering

4.1%

Nursing

4.0%

Medical Assisting Services

3.9%

Health Care Administration

3.3%

Accounting

3.3%

Medical Technician

3.3%

Management

3.0%

General Studies

2.9%

English

2.8%

Graphic Design

2.8%

Photography

2.7%
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Degrees

Bachelors

42.4%

Other

22.2%

Masters

14.4%

Associate

12.2%

Certificate

4.9%

Doctorate

1.8%

Diploma

1.8%

License

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

Real Technical Assistant Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Special Technical Assistant To The CEO Glowforge Inc. Seattle, WA Jun 09, 2016 $130,000
Technical Assistant Wlto International Paper FL Apr 01, 2016 $93,500
Technical Assistant, Global Purchasing Xerox Corporation Webster, NY Oct 15, 2012 $80,500
Technical Assistant-Underwriting Aspen Insurance Us Services, Inc. FL Oct 01, 2013 $73,980
Site Technical Assistant Danieli Corporation Cranberry, PA Aug 15, 2012 $70,200
Technical Assistant Industrial Light & Magic, A Div of Lucasfilm Enter San Francisco, CA Sep 05, 2012 $65,490
Technical Assistant-Underwriting Aspen Insurance Us Services, Inc. Miami, FL Oct 01, 2010 $65,000
Technical Assistant for Agriculture and Food Security Adventist Development and Relief Agency International Silver Spring, MD Jun 19, 2016 $64,958
Technical Assistant, Rendering Industrial Light &Magic, A Div of Lucasfilm Entert San Francisco, CA Sep 26, 2010 $63,716
Emergency Technical Assistant Adventist Development & Relief Agency Internationa Silver Spring, MD Oct 24, 2016 $60,128
Emergency Technical Assistant Adventist Development and Relief Agency International Silver Spring, MD Jul 14, 2015 $60,128
Technical Assistant The Jones Group Inc. New York, NY Jul 16, 2012 $60,000
HSE Technical Assistant AKZO Nobel Services Inc. Chicago, IL Oct 01, 2011 $60,000
CPP Program Technical Assistant/Manager Magnesita Refractories Company N.A. York, PA Nov 01, 2010 $59,960
Technical Assistant Global Agora, LLC New York, NY Sep 01, 2010 $55,000
Technical Assistant Intellisurvey, Incorporated Ladera Ranch, CA Sep 01, 2014 $53,760
Technical Assistant Intellisurvey, Incorporated Ladera Ranch, CA Sep 10, 2014 $53,760
Technical Assistant Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research Cambridge, MA Jan 01, 2010 $51,764
Technical Assistant II Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research Cambridge, MA May 30, 2016 $51,250
Technical Assistant Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research Cambridge, MA Jun 03, 2010 $49,294
Technical Assistant II University of Arkansas Fayetteville, AR Jan 05, 2016 $47,792
Technical Assistant II Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research Cambridge, MA Jan 08, 2016 $47,150
Technical Assistant II Whitehead Institute Cambridge, MA Mar 27, 2009 $46,675
Technical Assistant II Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research Cambridge, MA Jun 15, 2015 $46,000
Technical Assistant I Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research Cambridge, MA Mar 17, 2010 $45,573
Senior Technical Assistant The University of Houston Houston, TX Jun 27, 2010 $44,096
Design, Development and Technical Assistant (Fashi Mas Design, Inc. New York, NY Sep 01, 2011 $44,000
Design Development and Technical Assistant (Fashio Mas Design, Inc. New York, NY Sep 28, 2011 $44,000
Technical Assistant Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research Cambridge, MA Mar 03, 2011 $43,911

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Top Skills for A Technical Assistant

LabEquipmentSurgicalProceduresComputerHardwareTechnicalAssistanceCustomerServiceDataEntrySafetyPhoneCallsTechnicalSupportTroubleshootWindowsXPSetupVideoWebInternetComputerLabsComputerSystemsPowerpointEmergencyHvac

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Top Technical Assistant Skills

  1. Lab Equipment
  2. Surgical Procedures
  3. Computer Hardware
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Maintained and repaired lab equipment, including computers, scanners, and printers.
  • Maintain a proper sterile field during surgical procedures.
  • Gained experience in installation of computer hardware, installation of software, and troubleshooting technical errors.
  • Provided software technical assistance to university students.
  • Provided outstanding customer service to a clientele known for being very demanding.

Top Technical Assistant Employers

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Technical Assistant Videos

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