What Does an Office Assistant Do?

The term 'office assistant' refers to a variety of office jobs, including administrative assistant, secretary, clerk, or executive assistant. Generally, they are responsible for the routine tasks that keep an office running. Schools offering Office Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Overview

While most office assistants work for corporations and privately-owned business, they can also be found working for the government, not-for-profit agencies, and educational institutions. Some jobs require a specific skill set, but all office assistants do general, routine tasks. These tasks include:

  • Greeting visitors
  • Scheduling meetings and appointments
  • Maintaining paper and electronic records
  • Answering the phone
  • Posting outgoing mail
  • Sorting and distributing incoming mail
  • Arranging travel
  • Transcribing notes
  • Taking dictation

Important Facts About Office Assistants

Required Education High school diploma, or equivalent
On-the-Job Training Post-employment training will be required
Professional Certification Optional certification offered through the International Association of Administrative Professionals
Similar Occupations Court reporters, information clerks, medical transcriptionists, paralegals, receptionists

Specialized Skill Sets

An employer may require an office assistant to have particular or specialized skills. The most common specialized offices are in the legal and medical profession. However, specific skills are also used in educational institutions, engineering and scientific offices, and government agencies.

  • Legal Office Assistants prepare routine legal documents for attorneys. These include subpoenas, complaints, summonses, responses, and motions. They may also help with legal research and review legal journal articles.
  • Medical Office Assistants work for a doctor, hospital, or other medical providers and are responsible for organizing, maintaining, and updating patient records. They help arrange the logistics for inpatient and outpatient treatments. Often, medical office assistants fill out billing information and deal with insurance companies.
  • Technical Office Assistants who work for engineers and in the offices of other technical professions must be familiar with subject area to help with correspondence and research. They may also be responsible for maintaining technical databases and libraries.
  • Educational Office Assistants working for educational institutions, keep track of student records, class schedules, and teachers' calendars. They may have an added responsibility of organizing communication between students, parents, and teachers.
  • Government Office Assistants often need to be able to explain the function of their agency to the public. They answer questions and provide information. They also need to understand government regulations and procedures in order to fill out forms and organize information.

Salary Info and Job Outlook

According to PayScale.com, the majority of office assistants earn between $19,284 and $37,845 a year, as of September 2015. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov) projects that the employment of secretaries and administrative assistants in general will grow by approximately 12% between 2012 and 2022. More specifically, the BLS published the following rates of employment growth or decline for job categories considered related to office assisting: executive secretaries and administrative assistants, little to no growth; medical secretaries, 36%; legal secretaries, -3%; and general office clerks, 6% from 2012 to 2022.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Kaplan University

    Kaplan University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Kaplan University:

    Online Programs Available

  • Strayer University

    Strayer University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Strayer University:

    • Master
    • Associate Programs
    • Certificates

    Online Programs Available

  • Widener University

    Widener University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Widener University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Saint John's University

    Saint John's University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Saint John's University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Benedictine University

    Benedictine University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Benedictine University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Keiser University

    Keiser University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Keiser University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees
    • Associate Programs

    Online Programs Available

  • Grand Canyon University

    Grand Canyon University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Grand Canyon University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Virginia College

    Virginia College responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Virginia College:

    Online Programs Available

  • Colorado Technical University

    Colorado Technical University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Colorado Technical University:

    • Doctoral
    • Bachelor Degrees
    • Associate Programs

    Online Programs Available

  • Capella University

    Capella University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Capella University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. Next »