The duties of the administrative assistants comprise the organizer, secretary, and gatekeeper.
They assist their superiors with time management.
Administrative assistants should stay informed and learn the terminology, forms, and tools used by their supervisors to stay updated in the specialized commercial and professional sectors.
Article Table of Contents
What Does an Administrative Assistant Do
Administrative assistants help maintain the work of their supervisors.
They are responsible for the organization of the files, keeping the schedule clear and manageable while communicating with various people and parties.
They should be able to follow the directions of their supervisors when preparing records and documents.
- Answer and redirect phone calls to other employees, supervisors, or voice mail.
- Organize appointments, agendas, and meetings of managers.
- Update the calendar with meetings, deadlines, appointments, and reminders.
- Organize staff meetings.
- Prepare memos, reports, letters, and invoices.
- Organize case files and records of clients.
- Transfer documents and messages via email, fax, or mail.
- Log clients’ and visitors’ arrival and departure.
Depending on the field, the types of documents that the assistants work with may differ.
For instance, legal assistants work with complaints, orders, motions, or agreements under the supervision and review of attorneys.
In the medical field, administrative assistants may be tasked with putting together basic medical histories or helping physicians with articles or reports.
Administrative assistants should maintain files and keep them readily accessible.
They generally have to organize files and documents by type, chronology, or subject.
Assistants also keep the schedule of appointments and deadlines to prevent the executives from missing those or having conflicts.
In the medical or legal areas, administrative assistants deal with confidential and sensitive information.
Discussion or publication of these data could embarrass clients, jeopardize cases, and violate laws.
Administrative assistants need advanced typing skills and should be able to use machines that transcribe the narration.
Additionally, some employers may require their assistants to be able to type a minimum number of words per minute.
Since most business transactions are now paperless, administrative assistants need advanced computer skills as well as the ability to use email and scanners.
Documents can come in many electronic formats such as imagery, word processing, or portable document files (PDF).
Good listening and communication skills are an essential part of the assistant’s job.
Supervisors and executives give instructions on the tasks and how they should be done.
Clients, lawyers, and other employees can leave messages during phone calls.
Administrative assistants should also inform clients of appointments or pass the instructions or messages from the supervisors.
How to Become an Administrative Assistant
In general, the tasks of administrative assistants are common, but the assignments may vary depending on the field of employment.
So the training of administrative assistants should also relate to the industry they work in.
Training and Qualifications
Administrative assistants can get entry-level jobs in various offices with a high school diploma and some computer courses including typing and word processing.
Assistants who have post-secondary training in the work area of the manager are usually preferred by the employers.
For instance, administrative assistants in the legal area may take community college courses to learn types of legal documents and terms.
In medicine, they may need training in learning medical terms.
Some duties of administrative assistants can be quite advanced, so they may need a bachelor’s degree.
Based on the type of office you intend to work at, the length of training may vary.
General services or retail establishments may spare only a few days to train their administrative assistants.
Other professions, such as medical or legal, require a few weeks of training for the assistants unless they already have some experience.
With work experience, administrative assistants can advance to senior roles or acquire certifications.
For instance, you can qualify for the Certified Administrative Professional tag with two to four years of experience.
With one year of experience in the general office, administrative assistants can get the Accredited Legal Professional status by taking a test through NALS.
Professionals with five or more years of experience can become a Certified Legal Secretary Specialist.
This is issued through the Legal Secretaries International organization.
Certified assistants can get employed by the attorneys practicing in criminal, business, intellectual property law, and more.
Commonly, the position of an administrative assistant is full-time.
Less frequently, assistants can be hired for a part-time position.
Full-time administrative assistants usually work during typical office hours.
The schedule in legal offices, financial firms, or insurance agencies usually involves an 8 to 5 day.
In schools, secretaries may have to start their workday at as early as 7:30 am and finish in mid-afternoon.
Medical facilities usually work long hours, so there, assistants may have to work in the evenings, nights, or weekends.
According to the BLS, the employment rate in this profession will grow by 3%.
This implies the appearance of 118,000 new job openings by 2024.
The growth can be considerably influenced by such professions as legal which may use executive administrative assistants.
From 2014 to 2024, there may be fewer executive administrative positions by 44,600 and 8,900 fewer secretaries in the legal field.
In this field, assistants usually work for many managers at a time.
According to the US BLS, the most significant employment growth of administrative assistants is expected in the healthcare area.
Medical secretary jobs are expected to increase by 21%.
With the aging population, the demand for medical administrative assistants will increase.
Additionally, the simplified access to health insurance will increase the demand for medical services as well as medical secretaries.
The average salary of these professionals is $35,200 or $16.92 an hour, as of May 2015.
Medical assistants made on average $34,330 with $16.50 an hour.
Legal secretaries made a higher wage of $22.34 per hour, which adds up to $46,470 per year.
For the most part, administrative assistants work with technology.
They use computers to prepare documents and maintain schedule and workload.
Organizational and listening skills are key qualities to succeed in the administrative assistant’s position.
The best opportunities for assistants exist in the medical sector.
Experienced and skilled administrative assistants trained in a specific area or having certifications have better chances of getting hired.