Administrative assistants work in almost every sector of the economy, including schools, government and private corporations, but there are certain tasks common to almost all administrative assistants:
Open and distribute mail
Schedule meetings and appointments
Update department calendars
Operate office machinery such as fax and copy machines
Draft routine memos
In larger organizations, administrative assistants may work for a specific department like engineering, human resources or marketing. They may also work in specialized fields such as law or medicine and will be asked to perform tasks specific to that field. A legal assistant may be asked to conduct research on legal precedents, and a medical assistant needs to be familiar with medical terminology and billing procedures.
There are also opportunities for human resource (HR) administrative assistants who want to work with human resources departments within specific companies. Human resources administration involves assisting with the hiring process, payroll, benefits administration, unemployment claims, and terminations.
The minimum requirement for this position is a high school diploma, but additional course work in business or computer skills or an associate's degree can help get the job. For specialized positions such as human resources, legal, or medical, familiarity with the vocabulary of the field and certification through a recognized organization makes a candidate more marketable. Some HR administrative assistant positions require completion of human resource courses.
Administrative Assistant Job Market
Overall employment of administrative assistants in coming years is expected to grow 12 percent, which is the average for all occupations. Employment of medical secretaries and assistants is projected to grow 36 percent in the same time period, which is much faster than average for all occupations. Human resources (HR) administrative assistant positions should increase by nearly 1 percent. The employment of legal administrative assistants is expected to decline 3 percent during that time.
Nationally, the annual median salary for an administrative assistant is $39,000 with a salary range from $32,000 to $54,000. An HR administrative assistant typically earns between $25,090 and $54,960 per year.