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How To Become An Administrative Assistant

How To Become An Administrative Assistant

Administrative assistants are the beating heart of any office or working environment, helping as they do to ensure the smooth-running of all operations. There’s also plenty of scope for an admin assistant to earn a pretty impressive salary and even specialize if they want to. 

For the most part, you will be expected to have some level of experience behind you when applying for a job as an administrative assistant. But, if you’re career planning without any relevant experience, it is still possible to get your foot in the door. Do so by signing up for a certificate program that can prove you have the right skill set. 

To help you on your way to becoming a successful administrative assistant, we’ll walk you through a standard administrative assistant job description and explain what qualities you’ll be required to have in your new job role. 

Administrative assistant job description 

If you want a career as an administrative assistant, your position will be mostly clerical, like a secretary’s. Secretaries and administrative assistants have similar job roles, although the latter tend to take on more of a supervisory role and will have a hand in project management.  

The responsibilities you’re likely to see listed on a job description for an admin assistant include: 

  • Answering phone calls and corresponding with clients. 
  • Scheduling appointments. 
  • Researching and writing reports. 
  • Recording minutes. 
  • Filing and bookkeeping. 
  • Managing long-term projects. 

Underpinning all of these tasks will be your organizational skills and a company’s information systems, which you’ll have to get to grips with. 

Administrative assistant salary 

The annual salary for an administrative office assistant starts at around $34,000. So, even if you don’t have the right background, you could earn good money from the very beginning! However, doing administrative assistant certificate programs could get you a better starting salary. 

Over time, as you work your way up, you could soon start earning the median $43,000 annual salary for your administrative assistant job. And, if you’re good enough to become an executive administrative assistant, you could end up earning as much as $67,000 a year. Clearly, then, you can live a more than comfortable life with this career path. 

Required qualifications 

You will require a certain level of education to become an administrative assistant. But, while most places won’t ask for more than a high school diploma, other organizations will be on the lookout for a certified administrative assistant. In those cases, you may be expected to have a college degree or an online admin assistant certificate. 

Education level notwithstanding, it is possible to become an administrative assistant with no experience. Just as long as you can prove you have the appropriate skills to carry out your responsibilities well, you should have no trouble getting a good entry-level job. 

Administrative assistant skills 


Administrative professionals work in a wide variety of sectors, specialties, and roles, including: 

  • Legal administrative assistant. 
  • Corporate administrative assistant. 
  • Business marketing. 
  • Human resources management (HRM). 
  • Computer science. 
  • Data entry. 
  • Office manager.  

There are some key skills that link pretty much all administrative assistant careers. They may not be explicitly listed in a job description but they will be essential to getting a good job in the field. 

For one thing, potential employers will be looking for great self-management skills. In your job role, you will be required to manage your and others’ time to a tee and to ensure your colleagues are adequately supported at all times. It’s important that your administrative assistant resume can offer absolute proof of proactive self-management skills. 

Similarly, writing and grammar skills will be important because the paperwork you prepare should always be of the highest standard. Online programs can help you brush up on your writing, although if you become a certified administrative assistant your skills in this area will be evident anyway. 

Finally, you must understand how to work collaboratively, even with difficult people, because you will be acting as the hub of the office. However, you will also have to learn to be assertive to keep things running as they should. In addition to these key skills, there are a few other requirements you’ll have to be sure you can fulfill in your new role. 

The importance of looking the part 

Clearly, there’s more to being an administrative assistant than understanding standard office procedures. The duties of an administrative assistant job also extend to your appearance. You see, since you’ll be the first point of contact for many clients, you’ll be expected to make a good first impression. 

So, whether you’re an administrative office assistant or an executive assistant, you should always dress to impress. Remember that you represent your office and administrative team, so what you wear will need to reflect that.

The key to good communication 

Your communication skills should be up to scratch if you want to succeed as an administrative assistant. For starters, becoming a better listener will be crucial. You can do so by asking the right questions at the right times and actively listening to the responses people offer you. 

In addition, just as an administrative assistant needs to look the part, they should also be aware of the messages their body language and appearance are giving off to colleagues and clients alike. 

Putting professionalism first 

To be a certified administrative professional, you have to be able to put professionalism first at all times. As with customer service representatives, this is particularly important when you’re dealing with clients. 

As a professional, it will be up to you to prove your competence at every turn and fill others with confidence in your ability to do your job well, putting them at ease. This will mean learning to deal with stress effectively and even saying no respectfully when you already have enough on your plate. Specifics will, however, vary depending on the company you work for.

Advancing your career 

There are several different career paths you could potentially go down as an administrative assistant. During your job search, you should look out for entry-level positions that will set you up for the future. Plan accordingly and set the right goals and you could go from doing office administration to earning as much as executive administrative assistants do.  

While there are a number of administrative assistant careers for you to choose from, remember that they generally all require the same skill sets. So, prove that you have the appropriate expertise in your resume and cover letter by signing up for administrative assistant certificate programs before you apply. 


How to become an administrative assistant with Courses for Success? 

Earn your administrative assistant certificate with Courses for Success to improve your chances of getting the most desirable entry-level administrative assistant positions and advancing your career options. With a dedicated administrative assistant education on your resume, you’re far more likely to stand out from other applicants. 

Our administrative assistant course can be completed at your own pace and in your own time, with course materials available 24/7. And, if you want to specialize further down the line, you can also sign up for a legal secretary course or executive assistants online courses on our site.

Why Courses for Success? 

Courses for Success offers over 10,000 online courses, all of which aim to help you in your personal development and career progression. Every course we offer is created to be as accessible as possible. You can be sure that all of them, from our coding courses and trading courses to design courses and developer courses, will help to boost your prospects, no matter who you are.

Beyond just the education itself, students will be issued with a certificate online after successful completion of each of the learning courses they do. Our Skills for the Administrative Assistant Online Certificate courses are no exception. Our online administrative assistant certificates are recognized by industry leaders. You could really make a name for yourself in the business sector by signing up for a Courses for Success short course today.

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