Who is not familiar with the office secretary? Traditionally, a secretary used to be a conservatively-dressed women buzzing around in the office performing a whole gamut of tasks that ranged from making coffee to scheduling appointments.

However, with improvements in technology, the role of a stereotypical secretary or “administrative assistants” as they are now called has undergone a facelift. It has become a lot more sophisticated over the years and much of the work that was earlier the reserve of managerial staff is now being entrusted with administrative assistants.

This obviously means that the future looks promising for these professionals. In fact, the Department of Labor ranks this profession as one with the largest number of job openings over the next few years.

Duties of an Admin Assistant

Administrative assistants are the men and women who shoulder the responsibility of ensuring optimum operations in an organization. They are the eyes and ears of an organization and perform a range of clerical and administrative duties including, but not limited to:

  • Planning and scheduling meetings
  • Organizing and maintaining files
  • Planning and coordinating events
  • Fixing appointments and interviews
  • Conducting research and managing projects
  • Making travel arrangements for staff
  • Making preparations for corporate guests
  • Communicating with the office staff
  • Taking care of business correspondence
  • Making food and transport arrangements
  • Stocking and maintaining inventory

Safe to say, administrative assistants and secretaries are the proverbial cogs in the wheel that keep a business running smoothly and efficiently.

Career Paths for an Admin Assistant

Under the broad title of administrative assistant are a number of professionals who have very specific duties either on account of the industry they work in or due to the nature of admin support they provide. If you’re interested in a career as an admin assistant, you may also want to explore these careers within:

Executive Assistant: They perform a combination of ordinary and complex administrative and secretarial tasks for a high-ranking executive or a group of executives in an organization. Their duties include reviewing reports, preparing meeting agendas and statistical reports and other such tasks.

Legal Assistant: They perform highly specialized jobs that require knowledge of legal jargon. Under the supervision of lawyers and/or paralegals, legal secretaries prepare legal documents, conduct research, review journals, etc.

Medical Assistant: In addition to the usual administrative tasks like transcribing dictations and maintaining patient records, medical assistants are also qualified to perform basic clinical duties in a doctor’s office, hospital and other healthcare facilities.

Virtual Assistant: The job profile of a virtual assistant is virtually the same as an administrative assistant with the only difference that they work remotely from a home office.Virtual assistance is emerging as one of the more popular telecommuting jobs out there!

Personal Assistant: These professionals provide support to an individual within an organization, hence the title. Personal assistants or personal aides assist an individual in business as well as personal tasks.

Project Assistant: Project assistants are hired to provide support for a specific project. They perform a variety of administrative and project-related tasks from the time it goes on floor until its successful completion.

Accounting Assistant: As the name suggests, these professionals support the finance department of an organization by performing a variety of accounting related tasks.

Receptionist: Often the first person an employee and/or visitor encounters on entering an office, the main job of a receptionist is to answer phone calls, greet guests and direct them to their destination, and respond to queries about the organization.

How to become an Admin Assistant

The path to becoming an administrative assistant is pretty straightforward. Although there are no formal educational requirements and even high school graduates may qualify for some entry-level positions, but that may be easier said than done in today’s job environment.

The best shot a person has at becoming an admin assistant is by completing a post-secondary administrative assistant training program. Vocational schools and community colleges offer such training programs that provide the skills for the job.

In addition to administrative assistant training, individuals may also benefit by taking Microsoft Office courses as job prospects are projected to be best for those who are efficient at using computer software applications.

Legal, accounting and medical secretaries may need to take additional courses that provide them the knowledge of industry-specific terminology. Specialized certifications are also available for these professionals as well as virtual assistants and secretaries that can help them secure the bright future this profession promises!

Author's Bio: 

Nancy is a 35-year old stay at home mom of two. She worked as a medical assistant for five years before taking a break to be with her children. Her experience as a medical assistant gave her valuable insights in to the medical billing and coding industry, which she likes to share with others through her writing. Medical billing and coding programs often find mention in her writings. Her expertise in Medical billing and coding training stems from her extensive research on the subject.

Her other interests include gardening and baking. She stays in Cleveland, OH with her husband and two daughters.