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

Concorde Career College

We believe hands-on experience is the best way to learn. And at Concorde, you’ll find that a “learn by doing” approach to healthcare training will get you the skills you need to succeed – and get you into the workforce quickly.

Even in today’s economy, the demand for skilled healthcare professionals shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Career Guide to Industries (2010-2011 Edition), the healthcare industry will generate .2 million in new wage and salary jobs between 2006 and 2016 – more than any other industry.

Now’s a great time to get started – and to move toward a rewarding healthcare career.

Campus
  • Portland
  • North Hollywood
  • Dallas
  • Jacksonville
  • Miramar
Programs
  • Medical Office Administration

Harrison College

Since 1902, Harrison College has provided thousands of students with the opportunity to learn market-relevant skills and acquire market-relevant knowledge to prepare careers in Business, Criminal Justice, Information Technology, Health, Veterinary Technology and Culinary.

Campus
  • Indianapolis - Downtown
Programs
  • Office Assistant
  • Administrative Professional

Charter College

Charter College is a private, independent institution of higher education that follows a new direction. Charter College is neither a liberal arts college, a university, nor a vocational school. Instead, Charter College borrows certain elements from each of those respected educational institutions to create a unique and innovative experience for our students.

We offer career training programs in the growing fields of health care, business, law, criminal justice, information technology, and select trade careers. We strive to provide our students with a career-focused education that is both relevant in today’s workspace and cutting-edge in technology and focus.

Campus
  • Fife
Programs
  • Certificate - Office Administration

Westwood College

Westwood College is an institution of higher learning founded in Denver, Colorado in 1953. Today, Westwood has 14 campuses across California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois and Virginia and an online campus. Westwood offers a unique hands-on, career-focused curriculum providing three-year bachelor’s degrees in high-growth fields. We have over 8,000 students enrolled in one of our degree programs in technology, healthcare, business, design, justice and industrial services. To date, nearly 30,000 Westwood graduates have transformed their lives by obtaining the skills, tools, experience and connections necessary to achieve meaningful careers.

Campus
  • Online
Programs
  • Medical Office Management (A)