General Administrative Assistant: Duties, Requirements and Outlook

Jul 21, 2019

General administrative assistants require little formal education. Learn about the education and job requirements, as well as a list of administrative duties, to see if this is the right career for you.

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  • 0:01 Essential Information
  • 0:38 Job Duties
  • 1:02 Requirements
  • 1:51 Job Outlook

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Essential Information

Degree Level None; high school diploma or equivalent, associate, or certificate programs preferred
License/Certification Voluntary certifications available
Experience Varies with position; many are entry-level
Administrative Assistant Skills Excellent typing, oral/written communication, and computer skills; able to work independently or on a team; operate general office equipment like a copy machine, fax machine, multi-line telephone system, and scanner; knowledge of software, databases, and word processing programs
Job Outlook (2016-2026) -7% (decline) for secretaries and administrative assistants, except legal, medical, and executive*
Median Annual Salary (2018) $36,630 for secretaries and administrative assistants, except legal, medical, and executive*

*Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What is a general administration definition? General admin roles and responsibilities include providing support for all types of organizations and businesses and their staff members. Their duties can include general clerical tasks, such as drafting documents and answering telephones, as well as administrative jobs, including scheduling and project management. They generally serve a 40-hour workweek, although some work in a temporary or part-time capacity. While there are no specific education requirements, a one- or two-year general administrative services program at a vocational school or community college can provide solid training to begin this career.

General Administrative Duties

General administrative assistants are responsible for managing projects, opening and distributing mail, organizing files, and conducting general research. They may also be in charge of other basic administrative duties, such as ordering office supplies and communicating with vendors. Other tasks include:

  • Drafting documents and correspondence
  • Preparing reports
  • Proofreading
  • Scheduling
  • Providing telephone support
  • Transcribing

General Office Administration Requirements

General administration duties require people in this position to possess excellent typing skills, strong oral and written skills, and the ability to communicate well with others. They must be able to work independently or on a team with other administrative professionals.

Knowledge of computers, software, databases, and word processing programs is necessary. Assistants must also be able to operate general office equipment, such as a copy machine, fax machine, multi-line telephone system, and scanner.

Though no formal college degree is required, business schools, community colleges, technical schools, and universities offer courses, certificates, and associate degrees in this area. These administrative assistant degree programs may equip candidates to be more successful in carrying out their administrative assistant duties.

Job Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted a 7% decrease in employment for secretaries and administrative assistants, except legal, medical and executive secretaries, between 2016 and 2026. These professionals earned a median salary of $36,630 in May 2018, reported the BLS.

Some of these professionals choose to become self-employed, offering general administrative support through freelance, virtual services. They communicate with their clients via e-mail, fax, telephone, and the Internet. They perform many of the same administrative activities as on-site administrative assistants, but from their home offices, using their own office equipment.

General administrative assistants may advance their careers by obtaining specialized certifications through various organizations, such as the International Virtual Assistants Association (IVAA) or the International Association of Administrative Professionals. Others advance through in-house promotion to positions such as executive assistant, senior secretary, or office manager.

In conclusion, a general administration job description includes performing both clerical and administrative tasks in a variety of businesses, and the job has no specific education requirements.

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