How to become an Administrative Assistant
Administrative Assistant Job Duties
Skills and Qualities needed to become an Administrative Assistant
Administrative Assistant Salaries and Earnings
Influential Professionals in this field
Leading Organizations in this field
Top Cities for Administrative Assistant Jobs
Other Careers of Interest
Due to daily interactions with the public one imperative quality an administrative assistant needs is excellent customer service: individuals must be tactful in their dealings with both the general public and with their co-workers. Discretion, good judgment, organizational or management ability, initiative, good interpersonal communication skills, and the ability to work independently are qualifications in higher-level administrative positions.
Employers of executive administrative assistants increasingly are seeking candidates with a college degree to work closely with top executives. A degree related to the business or industry may provide a job seeker with an advantage in the application process. Most executive positions desire an applicant to possess a Liberal Arts degree or a bachelor's in Business Management. For most medical and legal administrative assistants, they must go through specialized training programs that teach them the language of the industry.
Once hired, many professionals acquire more advanced skills through on-the-job instruction by other employees or by equipment and software vendors. Individuals may attend classes or participate in online education to learn how to operate new office technologies, such as information storage systems, scanners, or new updated software packages. As office automation continues to evolve, retraining and continuing education will remain integral parts of administrative assistant jobs.
Administrative assistants are the conduits between the public and their employer. For many companies the administrative assistant not only oversees the managing of the office culture but is in charge of scheduling their employer's daily work agenda.
Job duties can include planning and scheduling meetings and/or appointments, organizing and maintaining paper or electronic files, to managing projects. Administrative assistants conduct research and can be expected to train office staff. They must have sufficient knowledge in maintaining the efficiency of office equipment and conducting minor repairs. Most importantly, they need to be able to disseminate information by using the telephone, mail services, Web sites, and e-mail. Many administrative assistants handle travel, transportation and guest arrangements, and may be expected to run personal errands for their employer.
Almost one-fifth of administrative assistants work part time or in temporary positions. A few participate in job-sharing arrangements, in which two people divide responsibility for a single job. The majority of administrative assistants are full-time employees who work a standard forty-hour week.
Professional training programs in this field are offered through many universities and online colleges. Students are trained in various administrative office procedures, finance and management skills, and software programs that include PC basics, keyboarding and the Internet.
Administrative assistants must be diligent professionals who are able to prioritize their assignments, meet deadlines, and be able to complete multiple tasks consecutively in an active--and, often stressful--environment. They must have excellent interpersonal skills in order to delegate and lead, as well as, take orders from their superior.
Office culture is influenced by the industry it serves and an administrative assistant must be adaptable to work effectively within that environment, whether it is a formal or informal.
For professionals employed in government and university positions or surgical hospitals, the average income averaged around $27,450 in May 2006.
Executive administrative assistants working in companies or business gained an increase in earnings, with an average of $37,240 recorded in May 2006.
Professional administrative assistants employed in the legal and medical fields earned the highest income: $50,000.
NALS offers two additional designations: Professional Legal Secretary (PLS), considered an advanced certification for legal support professionals, and a designation for proficiency as a paralegal. Legal Secretaries International confers the Certified Legal Secretary Specialist (CLSS) designation in areas such as intellectual property, criminal law, civil litigation, probate, and business law to those who have five years of legal experience and pass an examination.
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