Backbone of the Office: What Does an Administrative Assistant Do?

Written by
Rebecca Smith

Published
Nov 6, 2018

Nov 6, 2018 • by Rebecca Smith

Are you looking for a career that offers stability, security, and room for growth? Administrative assistants do a lot more than you think. They're the backbone of every office.

Do you want to become the superhero of the workplace?

Becoming an admin assistant doesn't take years of school and qualifications. After basic certification, you can break into this awesome career field. With further training and testing, you can move up in the industry and earn a higher salary.

Ready to find out if you have what it takes? Keep reading to find out what it's like to be an administrative assistant and if it's right for you.

What Does an Admin Assistant Do?

An average day for an admin assistant starts with getting to the office first. You'll be there before the others, so you can open the office and get everything set up. This could be a medical office, law firm, government agency, etc.

As an entry-level admin assistant, you'll be answering phone calls and emails. You might be scheduling appointments, booking travel plans, and ordering office supplies.

Many admin assistants take notes during meetings. They also plan presentations, transcribe audio, and act on behalf of the boss. It sounds mundane, but you may also be picking up the boss's dark roast coffee every day.

As you move up in the position, you could start doing some bookkeeping. Some admin assistants help with payroll and cash balancing. You could also get involved in the hiring process of other employees.

What Are the Requirements?

While the barrier of entry to this job is low, you do need some skills and qualifications. You're expected to be very organized and great at time management. You should be professional and friendly over the phone and email.

Some workplaces will make you take a typing test. This job can involve lots of typing, so it's crucial your speed is up to par.

To be an administrative assistant, you need to be a people person. You don't need to be the most extroverted in the room, but you have to enjoy talking and working with others. It's especially important you listen to instructions and execute them well.

Do You Need Higher Education?

There are different levels of administrative assistant work you can apply for. At the very basic level, it's receptionist work. For this position, you don't always need further education besides a GED.

For higher roles in the administrative assistant field, you'll need further education. The most common programs are one and two-year vocational programs.

To be an executive assistant, you need a college diploma. This position has the best salary and benefits, but it also involves a lot more work than lower positions.

On the Job Training

Although most administrative assistant positions require some education, not all do. In some cases, you can start as a receptionist and work your way up.

But, it's much easier if you do attain higher education.

On the job training is extremely valuable in this line of work. You learn how to work with people, handle busy schedules, and stay organized. What you learn in one position transfers to your future positions.

Is There Room for Growth?

As mentioned, there is often plenty of room for growth as an administrative assistant. You can get promoted to a higher level of assistant and take on new roles.

But, sometimes the promotion isn't in the title or the role. As you become good at your job, you're given more tasks and responsibilities. The more you do for the company outside your role, the more you can ask for in salary.

Perks of the Job

There are tons of awesome perks to being an administrative assistant. For one, you get to work regular business hours. Most offices work the normal 9 to 5 hours.

This job is great for parents and those with dependents at home. Since you get weekends off, you're able to plan your holidays more effectively. There could be the occasional weekend shift or late night, but it's not common.

Another perk of having normal business hours is that you know what to expect. People who enjoy routine and structure can embrace this career. Every day you wake up and know what you'll be doing the following eight hours.

Many administrative assistants receive benefits along with their salary. These can include, medical, dental, and more. Since office work can be hard on the spine, many employees get a massage package in their benefits.

Although it can be hard on your back, it's nice to sit down for your shift. No running around or doing tasks that are really hard on the body. As long as you take care of your back and have a good posture, you shouldn't notice adverse effects.

Many offices will have ergonomic tools and settings in place. Your chair and desk are at a specific height for comfortability. Headsets can replace regular phones to reduce neck strain.

What's the Salary?

Entry-level receptionist positions usually earn the minimum wage. Depending on your state, that can vary. It also depends on the field you're in and your location.

On average, admin assistants in the United States make around $40 000 per year. But, the longer you work at your place of employment, the more chances of promotions and raises you have.

And, higher levels of administrative assistants can make more. A level four assistant can make up to $72 000 per year. Executive assistants can make more than that.

Ultimately, if you're good at this job, your salary should reflect it. There's always room to grow in this field.

Interested in Learning More About Being an Administrative Assistant?

If you're looking for a career that offers stability, security, and room for growth, look no further. Administrative assistants are the superheroes of every office. They make sure every day runs smoothly and everyone stays organized.

This could be a great job for someone who wants regular working hours. And, the possibility to move up in their role.

For more information on becoming an administrative assistant or finding the right career for you, check out the National Jobs Blog.