Bilingual Administrative Assistant: Career Options & Requirements

A bilingual administrative assistant requires little formal education. Learn about the education, job duties and requirements to see if this is the right career for you.

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If you're fluent in a second language, you can parlay that skill into a job as a bilingual administrative assistant. Traditionally, a high school education has been the minimum requirement for this type of work, but increasingly employers are seeking candidates with a bachelor's degree. Professional certifications can also be obtained to add to your credibility.

Essential Information

Bilingual administrative assistants perform administrative duties, such as scheduling appointments, maintaining records and answering telephones, in environments where they are required to communicate with individuals who speak one of two languages. A high school diploma or the equivalent is sufficient for many of these jobs, but individuals looking for advancement might do well to take some courses at a community college or vocational school. A bachelor's degree is increasingly required, especially for advancement. Several organizations offer professional certifications.

Required Education High school diploma or GED certificate, but college courses and degrees are becoming more common
Other Requirements Oral and written proficiency in two languages
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)* -9% for secretaries and administrative assistants, except legal, medical and executive
Mean Annual Salary (2018)* $36,630 for secretaries and administrative assistants, except legal, medical and executive specialties

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

Career Options for a Bilingual Administrative Assistant

Bilingual administrative assistants may fulfill many different job duties and roles depending on their employer and the industry in which they work. Normally, bilingual administrative assistants perform many secretarial functions, such as managing schedules, planning appointments, maintaining and organizing files, conducting research, and communicating with others via telephone or e-mail.

Normally, an administrative assistant is assigned to one manager or supervisor to act as an organizer and a second set of hands. Administrative assistants may find employment opportunities in a variety of industries, including manufacturing, commercial and retail. Examples of settings in which a bilingual administrative assistant might work are corporate offices, government agencies, law offices, medical facilities and schools. Bilingual administrative assistants are normally hired for roles in which it is necessary to communicate with those who may speak two languages, either clients or employees.

Career and Education Requirements for a Bilingual Administrative Assistant

There are no specific education requirements for bilingual administrative assistants other than a high school diploma. Because administrative assistants may work with high-level management, many employers are beginning to expect administrative assistants to have a college degree.

Administrative assistants may be required to undergo on-the-job training or post-hire education depending on their employer and the responsibilities they will shoulder. Certification may also be useful for some administrative assistants. Many different organizations offer professional certifications for those in secretarial positions, including the International Association of Administrative Professionals, Legal Secretaries International, the National Association of Legal Secretaries (NALS) and the International Virtual Assistants Association (IVAA). Many different designations are available from these organizations, depending on an individual's needs and professional goals.

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

Job openings for all secretaries and administrative assistants, except legal, medical and executive specialties were projected to decline during the 2018-2028 decade, reports the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). As of 2018, professionals in this field - except those with legal, medical or executive specialties - in the 90th percentile or higher earned $56,010 or more per year, whereas the bottom 10th percentile earned $23,060 or less per year.

Getting started as a bilingual administrative assistant can be done with just a high school diploma and your language skills, but if you want to advance, it's smart to complete some post-secondary education, such as vocational school or community college. A bachelor's degree will open up even more doors. Jobs are available in a wide range of settings including schools, offices, and government agencies.

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