What Are the Duties of an Administrative Secretary?

Your role as an administrative secretary can involve working with managers, executives, and other personnel in a business or organizational office setting. Being a medical or legal administrative assistant is more specialized and may require additional training. Read on to learn more about the training and career opportunities in this field. Schools offering Administrative Assistant degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Duties and Responsibilities

An administrative secretary, commonly known as administrative assistant, usually works in one of three areas: general business, legal profession, or the medical field. In a general office environment, your duties will typically consist of data entry, word processing, office management, documents preparation and filing, presentation creation, and performing basic office accounting tasks.

As a medical administrative assistant, you will work in doctor offices, clinics, and hospitals. Besides general office duties, your tasks in this field typically include health record management, medical coding, and insurance billing. The duties of an administrative assistant in the legal field include general office practices, as well as legal document preparation and legal research.

Important Facts About Administrative Secretaries

Required Education High school diploma, or equivalent
On-the-Job Training Typically short-term, lasting a few weeks
Key Skills Excellent writing, reading, and speaking ability, active listening, time management, service oriented, critical thinking, decision making
Similar Occupations Information clerks, court reporters, general office clerks, paralegals, legal assistants, receptionists, bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks

Education and Training

Many schools offer administrative assistant programs where you can obtain an associate's degree or a certificate. Coursework you can expect to take in this type of program includes writing and composition, business math, basic accounting, computer applications, keyboarding, and business communications. If you choose a program that provides medical administrative training, you can expect to take additional courses, such as medical documentation and procedures, medical transcription, anatomy, coding, and medical billing. If you pursue a legal administrative program, you will also take classes in legal terminology, legal document preparation, and legal research methods, and you may also complete an internship in a law office.

Certification

Professional certification is available for administrative assistants through a variety of organizations. One such certification is the certified administrative professional, which is offered by the International Association of Administrative Professionals (www.iaap-hq.org). The National Association of Legal Secretaries offers certification for accredited and professional legal secretaries (www.nals.org) and the American Association of Medical Assistants offers certification for those who provide administrative and clinical assistance in medical settings (www.aama-ntl.org). Certification typically requires completion of an accredited training program, experience working as an administrative assistant, and passage of a certification examination.

Job Outlook and Salary

Available positions for administrative assistant should grow, due in part to current workers leaving this particular field, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov). The employment of secretaries and administrative assistants could increase by 3% between 2014 and 2024, according to the BLS, which is about average compared to all other occupations. Certain industries, such as the medical field, should provide avenues for new employment, therefore increasing the need for administrative assistants. Because technology will continue to grow as well, those who are proficient in computer and software use may find more employment opportunities.

The BLS stated that as of May 2014, the mean annual wage for an administrative assistant was $34,500, excepting medical, legal, and executive administrative assistants. Medical assistants earned an average of $31,220 as of May 2014, per the same source.

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