(5.3 out of 10)
|Number of Jobs:||118,500|
|This Job is Ranked in|
|Best Business Jobs||#21|
|The 100 Best Jobs||#83|
Today's administrative assistants do much more than answer the phone and stock the supply closet. Routine clerical work is still part of the job, but administrative assistants are also in charge of maintaining the office's efficiency by organizing meetings, tracking paper and electronic files, preparing research reports, and overseeing other clerical staff members. They're often tasked with keeping track of the budget—ensuring all departments adhere to the funds they've been allocated. At times, they're enlisted as project managers, during which they apply their advanced organization and planning skills. While executive assistants mostly engage with a company's higher-ups, administrative assistants provide support to all levels of the organization.
By 2020, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects employment for administrative assistants will grow by 12 percent, with approximately 118,500 new jobs added—an average increase compared to other professions.
The Labor Department reports administrative assistants earned a median average salary of $31,870 in 2011. The best-paid made approximately $47,670 a year, while the worst-paid made around $20,050. The highest earners worked in the metropolitan areas of Trenton, N.J., San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.
Employers are seeking applicants who possess a high school diploma at the minimum, although many are now looking for those with college degrees. Good writing and verbal communication skills are required, as well as experience with computer software applications like word processing, spreadsheets, and desktop publishing. These skills can be acquired through high school vocational programs, one- to two-year office administration programs (offered at business or technology schools), or even training programs provided by temporary placement (temp) agencies. Certifications are also available through organizations such as the International Association of Administrative Professionals. Once hired, administrative assistants will receive some on-the-job training to help them acclimate to the technologies used within that specific office.
Susan Fenner, manager of education and professional development at the International Association of Administrative Professionals, has noticed a change in what employers look for when hiring administrative assistants. "Before, employers were looking for experience," she says. "Now, they're looking for high potential, for people who can think outside the box." Fenner explains that aspiring administrative assistants need to keep the company's long-term goals in mind and demonstrate not only an understanding of the organization and the industry, but also demonstrate how he or she would be a beneficial addition to the team. And because companies are always looking to move forward, Fenner stresses that it is important for job applicants to demonstrate both personal and professional advancement. "If you are looking for a job, now is the time for more education," she says, citing professional certifications and even online courses in business and software applications. "You don't have to know everything, but you do need to know where to go to fill those skill gaps."
|Upward Mobility||Above Average|
|Stress Level||Below Average|
Last updated by Daniel Bortz.