Administration Assistant Jobs & Career Guide

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Administrative Assistant CareersWhat is an Administration Assistant?

Administrative assistant often involves filing and organizing human resources forms and other paperwork, contributing to employee morale and peace of mind by ensuring that paychecks and benefits will be delivered in a timely and consistent manner.  Some administration assistants’ duties include traveling to remote work sites to collect or deliver information, planning office events, or greeting visitors in order to provide a pleasant and professional first impression.

Whatever the specific assignment may be, an administration assistant job offers dedicated and detail-oriented people an exciting and challenging opportunity to build professional skills and gain familiarity with the business environment.

What Do People in Administration Assistant Jobs Do?

Office environments require careful organization, good record-keeping, and strong internal communication in order to function as effectively as possible.  Administration assistant jobs include a number of duties that are central to fulfilling these needs.  Organizations run on information and succeed based on their ability to access and retrieve the information needed for business development and decision-making.

One frequent role for people in administrative assistant jobs is the filing, sorting, and retrieving of information.  This crucial task helps to keep sales records, customer contact data, accounting documents, human resources paperwork, and other important information stored in an orderly manner for easy search and retrieval.  Whether the files are pieces of paper stored in folders or documents saved on computers, the saving, organizing, and searching of information is a crucial aspect of administrative assistant jobs.

People in administrative assistant jobs also handle much of the scheduling for office environments.  The task of setting up meetings between people with busy schedules requires keeping itineraries up-to-date, contacting attendees, and verifying availability of resources and space.  By helping to bring people together in order to make decisions or communicate strategies to other staff members, these individuals play a key role in facilitating business functioning and growth.

Administrative assistants are sometimes assigned to assist specific managers or executives within the organization.  According to About.com, this job may include such duties as answering emails and phone calls for the executive, arranging airline tickets and hotel reservations for business trips, or handling requests for specific documents or information.

Administration Assistant CareersAdministrative assistants in this role make it possible for executives to focus on broad issues of business strategy by taking charge of the necessary details of travel, communication, and information retrieval.
Communication with clients, vendors, visitors, and other individuals outside the organization is another typical role of administrative assistants.  Administrative assistants may be assigned to a front desk to greet visitors to the office.  The duties of the job might also include answering incoming phone calls and mail, as well as emails sent to general company inboxes.  As the first contact for potential vendors or customers, the administrative assistant has the opportunity to act as the public face of the organization by interacting pleasantly and professionally in all types of business communications.

Fostering community within the organization is another important aspect of administrative assistant jobs.  Tasks such as planning company holiday parties, recognizing birthdays and other life events, and coordinating other social activities are often the responsibility of administrative assistants within an office environment.  By managing events such as these, administrative assistants are able to help strengthen the social bonds between co-workers, producing a more enjoyable work experience and a more productive workforce.

Where do people in Administration Assistant work?

Administration assistant jobs can be found in nearly any business environment where a large number of organizational tasks are required to keep the business operating efficiently.  Many administrative assistants work for private companies or corporations and are typically stationed in offices or at reception desks within office buildings. The duties of administrative assistants usually require being located at the place of business so that information can be requested and delivered with a minimum of delay.  Nearly every business includes at least one administration assistant job, making administrative assistant jobs available in nearly every region.  A small company may have only one administrative assistant handling organizational details, while larger companies might have larger groups of administrative assistants with dedicated office spaces for organizational tasks.

Administrative assistant jobs are also available with government agencies. Public sector organizations, such as government offices, regulatory agencies, and law enforcement offices have organizational needs similar to those of private businesses.  People looking for administrative assistant jobs can find plenty of opportunities in organizations such as schools, police stations, military bases, and other public agencies.  An administrative assistant job with a governmental division may have slower salary increase, but will generally offer excellent benefits and a higher level of job security than similar positions in the corporate world.

Non-profit and not-for-profit organizations are another potential source of administrative assistant jobs.  Organizations dedicated to education, restoration, or other charitable causes frequently employ administrative assistants to process donations, organize volunteers, schedule events, and maintain required paperwork for compliance with regulations.  Many individuals find that volunteering time with a non-profit organization can lead to opportunities for jobs within that organization.  An administrative assistant job with a non-profit organization can be a good job opportunity as well as a chance for a rewarding career working for a worthwhile cause.

What degree is required to become an Administration Assistant?

Administration assistant jobs are typically available to job seekers with a high school diploma and basic reading and writing skills.  Much of the training for administrative assistants takes place on the job, since many of the skills needed for an administrative assistant position are specific to the company or organization.  Filing methods, scheduling tools, phone systems, and data archiving software programs are different in every office, so initial education is less of a priority than communication skills and the ability to learn.  Administrative assistant jobs rely less on formal education than on dedication, professionalism, and attention to detail, making these positions an ideal way for employees without college degrees to gain the valuable workplace experience.

Someone with a college degree (or some level of college experience) seeking an administration assistant job will find that a formal post-high-school education can also be helpful.  Experience with classes in colleges or vocational schools demonstrates to potential employers that the applicant possesses strong reading and writing skills, as well as the ability to learn and to follow directions.

People seeking administration assistant jobs, or administrative assistants looking for opportunities to increase their prospects for promotion and salary increase, can also benefit from business courses in a college environment.  Collegiate business courses from a technical school or other two-year or four-year institution can provide the student with a greater familiarity and understanding of the principles of business.  In most business programs, the student is introduced to accounting, purchasing, contracts, taxes, licensing, insurance, and other key topics.

Because the duties of administrative assistants involve taking care of details in these areas of a business, this knowledge can greatly increase the effectiveness of an administrative assistant.  This type of training can also provide a career pathway to office management or business administration.

How Much Money Does an Administration Assistant Earn?

Administration Assistants earn an average of $37,000 per year. This salary varies widely based on location, degree, experience and position. Recent figures indicate Executive Administration Assistants earn approximately $57,000 and Legal Administration Assistants earn around $44,000 annually. Medical Administration Assistants earn on average $34,000 and Administration Assistants in other areas can earn more than $35,000 a year.

Administration assistant job requirements

Training for administrative assistant jobs generally takes place on-the-job, building on existing organizational skills and expertise in written and verbal communication.  Administration assistant jobs are available to any organized and hardworking individual who meets the requirements of the hiring organization, and no external licenses are required.  However, numerous certifications are available to people in administrative assistant jobs who want to augment their professional skills and increase their prospects for raises and promotions.

The American Society of Employers (ASE) offers an Administrative Assistant certification that is recognized by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET).  This certificate program provides training in a number of core administrative skills such as verbal communication, writing, project management, conflict resolution, time management, and basic billing and accounting.

The International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP), a worldwide community formed for the support and career development of people in administration assistant jobs, also offers training courses and certificates for a wide variety of administrative skills and skill sets, and also offers certifications for administrative assistants at different levels of experience and proficiency.  The Certified Professional Secretary (CPS) certification offered by the IAAP includes communication skills and office technologies, certifying the administrative assistant in a wide range of administrative skills and specialties.

The Certified Administrative Professional (CAP) certificate program builds on these skills and provides advanced training, as well as certification in management skills for office managers and executive assistants.

The large number of administrative skill certification programs available means plenty of opportunities for capable and motivated administrative assistants to build their professional skills and enhance their career prospects.

Administration Assistant Career Path

A hardworking and dedicated individual can find plenty of opportunities for advancement in an administrative assistant job.  After an entry-level administrative assistant has spent several years with a company, they may be promoted to a position such as senior administrative assistant and given higher-level tasks and management responsibilities.  An administrative assistant job may develop into a departmental administration position, where the individual serves as the administrative representative and contact person for a department or division within an organization.

Administrative assistants with extensive experience, job-related certifications, or a college degree may be promoted to office manager and be given responsibility over all administrative functions and personnel for the company or office location.  People in administration assistant jobs who obtain business degrees may find it possible to move over to related fields such as business administration jobs, opening up new avenues for career advancement.

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