Administrative assistants are one of the most perennially in-demand in the workforce. There is a high volume of job openings for aspiring administrative assistants, who are basically office professionals who coordinate an office’s administrative activities by storing, retrieving, managing, and disseminating information for the office’s staff and clients. As time goes by their responsibilities also increase as they are trusted with more duties previously accomplished by managerial staff. Administrative assistants work in teams in many organizations.
Some of the job duties of administrative assistants are managing projects, researching, planning and scheduling meetings and appointments, purchasing supplies, and handling travel arrangements. Administrative assistants need to have a good knowledge of computer software applications and office equipment such as telephone systems and fax machines to be able to perform effectively. Other important skills of administrative assistants are word processing skills and communication skills, typing skills, and interpersonal skills. Most administrative assistants acquire more advanced skills as they are trained further on-the-job or through other modes of education.
When it comes to education, an administrative applicant must be at least a high school graduate who has basic office skills. Office skills can be learned from high school vocational education programs or 1-year and 2-year programs in office administration offered by business and vocational-technical schools. One can also learn skills through online training and coaching programs. Various certifications for different types of administrative assistants also exist to enhance the qualifications. Administrative assistants who have broadened their knowledge and skills may be promoted to executive secretary or office manager.
In May 2008, the annual average salary of most types of administrative assistants was $29,050. Virtual assistants can be paid from $25 to $100 per hour.