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.
In smaller organizations, the Administrative Assistant is responsible for the regular maintenance of office equipment and scheduling repairs when needed. They are also responsible for maintaining an adequate stock of basic office supplies and often have the authority to negotiate with the vendor.
Additionally, Administrative Assistants prepare presentations, operate videoconferencing equipment and make travel arrangements.
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 legal or medical, familiarity with the vocabulary of the field and certification through a recognized organization makes a candidate more marketable.
Job Market for Administrative Assistants
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.
The employment of Legal Administrative Assistants is expected to decline 3 percent during that time.