Administrative Assistant Duties and Required Skills
Administrative assistants are primarily responsible for coordinating the operational tasks of any office, ranging from medical and legal firms to schools and . The specific duties and required skills of an administrative assistant change based on their place of employment and level of expertise, but generally include a combination of clerical and managerial tasks.
The advent of technology in the modern office has greatly expanded the role of the administrative assistant, and many employers now expect job applicants to possess strong computer skills along with basic administrative training. In the past, the majority of administrative assistants honed their skills through on-the-job experience. However, with the demand for administrative assistants currently booming, interested candidates should master the basic duties of an administrative assistant prior to looking for employment.
Basic Duties & Skills
The basic duties of an administrative assistant have remained largely unchanged since the professionals were known as “secretaries”. Their main responsibility is to keep their place of employment running smoothly, thus all of their duties relate back to the operational proceedings of an office. These duties may include scheduling meetings, answering phones, managing databases, disseminating information (through email and internal memos), creating spreadsheets, generating reports, ordering equipment, and working with clients or customers.
The basic skills of an administrative assistant are directly related to the tasks they will be expected to perform. The most essential skill for an administrative assistant is communication. Successful administrative assistants are highly-skilled in typing, writing, grammar, punctuation, and oral communication (which means speaking clearly and correctly on the telephone). Interpersonal skills and client relations are also of paramount importance. Administrative assistants should also be highly organized individuals – their entire job is based around organization! Other skills include good judgement, punctuality, initiative, a good work ethic, and managerial skills.
In addition, employers now expect administrative assistants to have extensive knowledge of computer software. Programs may vary based on the employer, but usually cover word processing, desktop publishing, report generation, project management, and other such relevant applications. Individuals interested in a career as an administrative assistant should brush up on their computer skills in order to make a good impression during the application period! The most versatile candidates are the most attractive to employers.
Specific Duties & Skills
Administrative assistants enjoy a large amount of flexibility in their career path. Just as there are many different kinds of offices, there are many types of administrative assistants with expertise in a particular field. The specific duties of certain types administrative assistants are directly related to the professionals they serve. Though their duties are often clerical in nature, the tasks require a more precise skill set to perform. The most major fields that require administrative assistants with specialized training are medicine and law.
Medical administrative assistants must be aware of medical terminology and procedures in order to effectively do their job. They must be knowledgeable of medical ethics, billing, equipment, and other such operational tasks inherent to the medical field. As assistants to physicians and medical scientists, medical administrative assistants are skilled in researching, writing, preparing reports, and creating presentations as well.
Legal administrative assistants, like their medical counterparts, work in a highly specialized field and therefore must have working knowledge of the law and legal procedures in order to gain employment. They assist lawyers and other legal professionals by composing legal papers such as briefs, motions, and subpoenas. These technical documents can only be prepared by an administrative assistant with a solid background in legal terminology and proceedings.
Top Administrative Assistant Schools
Newbridge College, established in 1976, provides high-quality, career specific training and an emphasis on practical skills required by today’s employers.
- Santa Ana
- Medical Billing and Coding/Office Management
Concorde Career College
With over 15 years of experience in preparing adults for rewarding careers, Concorde is a recognized leader in training Healthcare Professionals. We offer short, manageable programs with day and evening classes to fit your busy schedule.
- Garden Grove
- North Hollywood
- Medical Office Administration
Elmira Business Institute
While teaching relevant business skills is what we do, Elmira Business Institute (EBI) is more interested in your success. In fact we’re celebrating over 146 years of helping people succeed. Our helpful faculty continues to instruct our students in some of the most relevant and rewarding careers in business today.
- General Office Assistant
- Medical Office Assistant
- Office Technologies
A college education is important in today’s workforce. Kaplan College gives you the right mix of professional experience and classroom instruction in our accelerated programs to help you succeed in your new career! Kaplan College can help you train for a new career with diploma programs ranging in just a few months. Take advantage of all the benefits Kaplan College offers today!
- El Paso
- Medical Assistant Clinical/Clerical
Heald College provides hands-on educational programs that can help students prepare for careers in healthcare, business, legal and technology. Heald takes a very personal approach to career education, offering small classes, intimate work groups and support systems designed to help students succeed both inside and outside the classroom. Even after students graduate, Heald provides career services assistance for life. We help locate employment opportunities anytime throughout our graduates’ careers. Financial aid is available for those who qualify. High school diploma or GED required.
- Office Skills
West Virginia Junior College
Our programs are designed for you to be job-ready in months with career-focused, hands-on training in a friendly, small-school environment where you receive individual attention.
As a WVJC student, you will have access to modern classrooms and laboratory equipment, individualized attention in a small class setting, and job placement assistance.
Along with academic credentials and certifications, our faculty brings industry knowledge to the classroom, helping students understand both theory and real-world experiences.
- Legal Office Assisting
Bay State College
Bay State History & Mission
For more than 60 years, Bay State College has been guided an enduring set of core values—Quality, Respect and Support. Over time, these values have brought us growth and success, and continue to do so today for our students.
Bay State College is a private college whose mission is to provide students with a quality education that prepares them for professional careers and increasing levels of higher education. Bay State College accomplishes this mission by providing a learning environment where teaching excellence and student services are blended to support the uniqueness of individual students, preparing them to achieve their full potential as ethically and socially aware citizens.
- Bay State College Online
- Associate of Business Administration