Today, companies are increasingly dependent on modern technology to operate their offices and operations. Automation and departmental restructuring have resulted in the administrative assistant taking on job duties previously reserved for managerial employees. The role of the administrative assistant has expanded beyond traditional clerical duties; however, the primary responsibility for coordinating and performing office administrative tasks still remain with this professional. The administrative assistant must take information and store it, retrieve it, and distribute it to the staff and clients of an organization.
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Administrative Assistant Job Responsibilities
Furthermore, in order for an office to be run efficiently, this professional must act as a communication and information manager for the office; the administrative assistant is in charge of scheduling appointments and meetings and organizing projects and conducting research. Additionally, the job requires them to handle the travel arrangements for staff and guest.
Office equipment is an important part of the administrative assistant performing work. For example, the primary tools are as follows: a computer, a phone, a fax machine, a photo copier, and other office supplies. Companies have realized the value of a good administrative assistant; thus, the other members of the team are expected to answer the phone and perform word processing. Consequently, this frees up the administrative assistant to support more executive level managers.
Managers depend heavily upon this professional. The administrative assistant acts as the glue that holds everything together. Oftentimes, the company will position this professional as the central information source. All pertinent information flows from this position. Also, all important information flows into this office too. The administrative professional becomes a key team player in the company. A company that has a highly skilled professional in this position can expect to have increased success and efficiency.
Administrative Assistant Training and Education Requirements
Most employers require a minimum of a high school diploma. Graduates must also have some basic training in office skills to secure an entry level position in an office. Employers will accept training from a high school vocational program, or a job candidate may have completed a vocational or technical program at a college. In addition, staffing placement agencies often provide office training to their temporary employees.
Also, employers that hire executive level administrative assistants are sometimes requiring a college degree. They prefer to recruit candidates with higher level education, and these professionals must work closely with executive staff and clients. A degree that relates to industry or business is usually an added advantage in a job search for an administrative position.
Furthermore, the administrative assistant will be required to keep up with advancing technology. Thus, it is important that the administrative assistant consistently work to keep their skills relevant and cutting edge. Technology changes frequently, and companies need someone that can navigate and master these changes.
The administrative assistant should have excellent typing and communication skills. Employers are interested in hiring someone that has good grammar, spelling, and punctuation skills. Customer service is also a big part of this professional’s job. The ability to interact effectively with people is a key skill.
Administrative Assistant Salary and Wages
Personnel surveys cite that all secretaries and administrative assistants earn a median salary of $29,000. This is the standard as of May 2008, and this standard does not include executive, legal, and medical administrative assistants. The middle half earn between $23,000 and $36,000 per year. Those that receive the lowest wages earn $18,000 or less. The top earners in the profession earn $43,000 or more.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
Administrative Assistant Certifications
Obtaining a certification sets an administrative assistant a part from the rest. For instance, the International Association of Administrative Professionals provide a certification for those that pass the office skills test. The Certified Administrative Professional designation can be earned by having the right education and experience. In addition, the candidate must also pass a skills test to receive the certification. The National Association of Legal Secretaries also provide a certification to their members.
The Certified Administrative Professional designation is one that is awarded to professionals that demonstrate mastery of administrative skills. Similarly, the Certified Professional Secretary credential also demonstrates mastery of certain skills.
Employers prefer to hire a candidate that can demonstrate their competence. This reduces the chance of them making a costly hiring mistake. Also, competition is keen, and those candidates that wish to compete must have something that makes them stand out from the rest.
Administrative Assistant Professional Associations
Professionals that network with other professionals in their field tend to expand their knowledge. Those that join one of the professional associations within the administrative assistant field are connecting to a wider knowledge base. In fact, these connections can prove useful in many ways. Often, the relationships established during these meetings last a long time and are highly beneficial for all concerned. One of the professional associations in this field is the International Association of Administrative Professionals. This organization also provides certifications to qualifying members. This organization provides continuing training to members, and opportunities to just network. The Certified Administrative Professional Association is another organization that is similar to IAAP.