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Office Aide: Job Description & Career Requirements

Office aides are responsible for the administrative and secretarial tasks typically found in businesses, health practices or schools. Learn what type of education and skills are required to obtain this position, as well what office aides can expect in terms of job growth and salary. View article »

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  • 0:03 Career Definition of…
  • 1:05 Skills Required
  • 1:24 Career and Salary Outlook
  • 2:11 General Office Clerks
  • 2:52 Receptionists

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Career Definition of an Office Aide

Office aides, also called administrative assistants or secretaries, are responsible for managing the administrative functions of offices including maintaining paper and electronic files, providing notes and records of meetings, scheduling meetings and managing office supply inventories. Office aides work in businesses, schools, medical offices, government agencies and other organizations. Those employed in larger offices may be assigned more specialized duties.

Degree Level High school diploma or equivalent; vocational programs available
Degree Field(s) Office administration
Licensure/Certification Voluntary certification available
Key Skills Take direction and work independently; strong interpersonal communication, grammar, and spelling skills; adaptability and versatility
Job Outlook (2014-2024) 3% growth (for all secretaries and administrative assistants)
Median Annual Salary (2015) $35,200 (for administrative assistants outside of the legal or medical fields)
$36,500 (for administrative assistants in medical fields)
$48,810 (for administrative assistants in legal fields)

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

A high school education is generally required for finding work as an office aide, although completion of a vocational school program in office administration can help applicants advance in the field. Some office assistants with bachelor's degrees use entry-level aide positions in certain industries as a springboard for more advanced opportunities. Positions in legal and medical offices typically require some training or education in those fields. As recommended by the Association of Executive and Administrative Professionals, individuals can keep up to date with new computer software programs by attending training courses.

Skills Required

Office aides should be able to take direction and work independently. Duties associated with email, telephone and written communications require impeccable interpersonal communication, grammar and spelling. Due to the diversity of tasks for which they are responsible, office aides should also be adaptable and versatile.

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Career and Salary Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), jobs for all secretaries and administrative assistants should increase by 3% from 2014-2024, an average rate in comparison to all other occupations. Industries with high growth potential, such as the healthcare field, will generate the largest share of jobs.

In 2015, secretaries and administrative assistants who worked outside of the legal or medical fields earned median salaries of $35,200 a year, as reported by the BLS. During the same month, administrative assistants and secretaries in the medical field received median annual wages of $36,500, while administrative assistants and secretaries at legal offices earned $48,810, as reported by the BLS.

General Office Clerks

If you are interested in becoming an office aide, then you may also want to consider general office clerks. They work in a variety of business and industry settings, and their activities can include answering telephone calls, bookkeeping, filing, and word processing. Potential employers usually prefer candidates with a high school diploma or its equivalent; community college and vocational programs in business education may be helpful. According to the BLS, job opportunities for general office clerks are projected to increase by a slower-than-average rate of 3% nationwide between 2014 and 2024. In May 2015, general office workers were paid mean annual wages of $29,580.

Receptionists

Receptionists provide customers, tourists and visitors with information, either in person or over the phone. Educational requirements are identical to those of general office workers and include a high diploma and optional courses or programs in business education. As projected by the BLS, employment prospects nationwide will increase by 10% between 2014 and 2024. As of May 2015, receptionists earned mean yearly wages of $27,300.

Office aide and administrative assistants come in a variety of job positions such as general office clerks, receptionists, and legal aides.

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