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Duties of an Administrative Assistant

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become an administrative assistant. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about job duties and specializations to find out if this is the career for you.

Essential Information

Administrative assistants provide office support to executives, managers and other professionals. Assistants may work in a variety of settings from distribution centers to law firms. Assistants often work from a desk and use a computer and the Internet throughout the course of their day.

Required EducationHigh school diploma, though postsecondary training is preferred by some employers
Other Requirements On-the-job training is common
Projected Job Growth* (2012-2022)12% for secretaries and administrative assistants
Median Salary* (2013) $32,840 annually for secretaries and administrative assistants, except legal, medical, and executive

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Job Duties

Administrative assistants perform clerical duties in nearly every industry. Some administrative assistants, like those in the legal industry, may be more specialized than others. Most administrative assistant duties revolve around managing and distributing information within an office. This generally includes answering phones, taking memos and maintaining files. Administrative assistants may also be in charge of sending and receiving correspondence, as well as greeting clients and customers.

Bookkeeping

Administrative assistants in some offices may be charged with monitoring and recording expenditures. Duties may range from creating spreadsheets to reporting expenses to an office manager. As such, some administrative assistants may be required to be knowledgeable in office bookkeeping software, such as Microsoft Excel.

Planning and Scheduling

Planning events like board meetings and luncheons may also be the responsibility of administrative assistants. This may require researching vendor prices or inquiring about participants' availability. Other duties may include scheduling appointments and preparing presentation materials.

Documentation

Administrative assistants may also help office members with documentation. Aside from storing, organizing and managing files, assistants may need to type, edit and proofread documents. Some assistants may need to take dictation or record the minutes of meetings.

Specialized Administrative Assistant Duties

Administrative assistants in some fields may be required to have extensive professional knowledge. Accordingly, duties for these assistants may be more specialized. For example, legal administrative assistants may need to have a thorough understanding of legal terminology and procedures, while medical assistants may need to be well versed in dealing with insurance companies and reading medical reports.

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

Average employment growth of 12% was expected for secretaries and administrative assistants, from 2012-2022, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). General secretaries and administrative assistants, not serving as legal, medical or executive secretaries, earned an annual median wage in 2013 of $32,840, according to the BLS.

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