What Are the Requirements for a Career As an Administrative Assistant?

Nurturing a career as an administrative assistant usually demands more than common clerical skills. While the specific requirements for individual positions vary, this article provides a general idea of the education needed for a career as an administrative assistant. Schools offering Administrative Assistant degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Essential Information

Administrative assistants are largely responsible for managing the flow of information within an organization. They might be asked to answer telephones and send faxes or emails, schedule meetings, and maintain an office's filing system. Additional job duties can vary depending on an administrative assistant's work environment. Some additional responsibilities could include providing assistance with legal research, maintaining patient medical records and supervising other office staff.

Important Facts About Administrative Assistants

Work Environment Legal offices, schools, private corporations, government agencies, hospitals; some individuals also work from home
Similar Occupations Court reporter, accounting clerk, receptionist
Median Salary (2018) $38,880 (for secretaries and administrative assistants)*
Job Outlook (2016-2026) -5% (for secretaries and administrative assistants)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Basic Training for an Administrative Assistant

Good communication skills, both written and oral, are indispensable for even entry-level administrative assistant positions. A high school diploma or GED may indicate a sufficient level of competence in this area. In some cases, you can gain the necessary skills through high school coursework. Some temporary placement agencies may provide introductory training as well. Whatever the source, documentation of the following skills is useful:

  • Word processing
  • Desktop publishing
  • Spreadsheet production
  • Database management

Further Administrative Assistant Training

Certificate and Associate's Degree Programs

There are a number of ways to secure better computer skills and strengthen a grasp of general office procedures. Administrative assistant certificate programs are available from business schools and vocational-technical schools. Such certificates can often be earned in a year. Associate's degree programs are available from community colleges, business schools, and some four-year colleges and universities. These degrees, usually requiring two years to complete, can prepare you for the following administrative support careers:

  • Administrative assistant
  • Executive assistant
  • Office management specialist
  • Legal administrative assistant
  • Medical administrative assistant

Bachelor's Degrees

A few administrative assistant positions demand a four-year degree. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, administrative assistants who work one-on-one with executives may need a bachelor's degree. Sometimes a bachelor's degree may be earned while working.

Continuing Education for Administrative Assistants

Continuing education is necessary to sustain a career as an administrative assistant. As technology develops, administrative assistants can stay up-to-date through a combination of online coursework, vendor-provided training, and informal instruction by fellow staff. Professional skills may also be enhanced by earning certification. Examples of such certification include the following:

  • Certified Administrative Professional
  • Accredited Legal Professional
  • Professional Legal Secretary
  • Certified Legal Secretary Specialist
  • Certified Medical Assistant

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

  • Saint Leo University

    Saint Leo University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Saint Leo University:

    • Bachelor Degrees
    • Associate Programs

    Online Programs Available

  • Southern New Hampshire University

    Southern New Hampshire University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Southern New Hampshire University:

    Online Programs Available

  • Penn Foster

    Penn Foster responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Penn Foster:

    • Certificates

    Online Programs Available

  • Liberty University

    Liberty University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Liberty University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Ashford University

    Ashford University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Ashford University:

    Online Programs Available

  • Colorado Christian University

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

    Popular programs at Colorado Christian University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees
    • Associate Programs

    Online Programs Available

  • Trident University

    Trident University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Trident University:

    • Doctoral
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Regent University

    Regent University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Regent University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Purdue University Global

    Purdue University Global responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Purdue University Global:

    Online Programs Available

  • Full Sail University

    Full Sail University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Full Sail University:

    Online Programs Available

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. Next »