a dark blue TraitLab logo
Sign up

Have an account? Sign in

Career profile Administrative Assistant

Also known as Administrative Assistant (Admin Assistant), Administrative Clerk, Administrative Secretary (Admin Secretary), Administrative Specialist (Admin Specialist), Administrative Support Assistant (ASA), Administrative Technician, Department Secretary, Office Assistant, Secretary, Staff Assistant

Administrative Assistant

Also known as Administrative Assistant (Admin Assistant), Administrative Clerk, Administrative Secretary (Admin Secretary)

Interests Profile
  • Conventional
  • Enterprising
  • Social
Pay Range
$25,630 - $59,090 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Active Listening
  • Speaking
  • Reading Comprehension
Knowledge Areas
  • Administrative
  • Computers and Electronics
  • Customer and Personal Service
Core tasks
  • Greet visitors or callers and handle their inquiries or direct them to the appropriate persons according to their needs.
  • Answer telephones and give information to callers, take messages, or transfer calls to appropriate individuals.
  • Create, maintain, and enter information into databases.
Is Administrative Assistant the right career path for you?

Would Administrative Assistant be a good fit for you?

Explore how your personality fits with Administrative Assistant and hundreds of other career paths.

Create your free account

What does an Administrative Assistant do?

Administrative Assistants perform routine administrative functions such as drafting correspondence, scheduling appointments, organizing and maintaining paper and electronic files, or providing information to callers.

What kind of tasks does an Administrative Assistant perform regularly?

Administrative Assistants are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Greet visitors or callers and handle their inquiries or direct them to the appropriate persons according to their needs.
  • Answer telephones and give information to callers, take messages, or transfer calls to appropriate individuals.
  • Create, maintain, and enter information into databases.
  • Use computers for various applications, such as database management or word processing.
  • Operate office equipment, such as fax machines, copiers, or phone systems and arrange for repairs when equipment malfunctions.
  • Set up and manage paper or electronic filing systems, recording information, updating paperwork, or maintaining documents, such as attendance records, correspondence, or other material.
  • Operate electronic mail systems and coordinate the flow of information, internally or with other organizations.
  • Schedule and confirm appointments for clients, customers, or supervisors.
  • Maintain scheduling and event calendars.
  • Compose, type, and distribute meeting notes, routine correspondence, or reports, such as presentations or expense, statistical, or monthly reports.
  • Complete forms in accordance with company procedures.
  • Locate and attach appropriate files to incoming correspondence requiring replies.
  • Make copies of correspondence or other printed material.
  • Review work done by others to check for correct spelling and grammar, ensure that company format policies are followed, and recommend revisions.
  • Open, read, route, and distribute incoming mail or other materials and answer routine letters.
  • Conduct searches to find needed information, using such sources as the Internet.
  • Learn to operate new office technologies as they are developed and implemented.
  • Train and assist staff with computer usage.
  • Order and dispense supplies.
  • Prepare conference or event materials, such as flyers or invitations.

The above responsibilities are specific to Administrative Assistants. More generally, Administrative Assistants are involved in several broader types of activities:

Working with Computers
Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Performing Administrative Activities
Performing day-to-day administrative tasks such as maintaining information files and processing paperwork.
Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work
Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.

What is an Administrative Assistant salary?

The median salary for an Administrative Assistant is $38,850, and the average salary is $40,420. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Administrative Assistant salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Administrative Assistants earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Administrative Assistants earn less than $25,630 per year, 25% earn less than $31,180, 75% earn less than $48,860, and 90% earn less than $59,090.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Administrative Assistants is expected to change by -7.6%, and there should be roughly 195,100 open positions for Administrative Assistants every year.

Median annual salary
$38,850
Typical salary range
$25,630 - $59,090
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)
-7.6%

What personality traits are common among Administrative Assistants?

Interests

Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as an Administrative Assistant are usually higher in their Conventional and Enterprising interests.

Administrative Assistants typically have very strong Conventional interests. Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

Also, Administrative Assistants typically have strong Enterprising interests. Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.

Values

People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as an Administrative Assistant tend to value Support, Relationships, and Working Conditions.

Most importantly, Administrative Assistants strongly value Support. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees.

Second, Administrative Assistants moderately value Relationships. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

Lastly, Administrative Assistants moderately value Working Conditions. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Administrative Assistants must consistently demonstrate qualities such as attention to detail, integrity, and cooperation.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Administrative Assistants, ranked by importance:

Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Integrity
Job requires being honest and ethical.
Cooperation
Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
Dependability
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Concern for Others
Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.

What education and training do Administrative Assistants need?

Working as an Administrative Assistant usually requires a high school diploma.

Administrative Assistants need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with this occupation.

Educational degrees among Administrative Assistants

  • 2.5% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 26.5% completed high school or secondary school
  • 31.2% completed some college coursework
  • 14.8% earned a Associate's degree
  • 20.5% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 3.9% earned a Master's degree
  • 0.6% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Administrative Assistants

Administrative Assistants may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as administrative, computers and electronics, or customer and personal service knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Administrative Assistants might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Administrative
Knowledge of administrative and office procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and workplace terminology.
Computers and Electronics
Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
Customer and Personal Service
Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Administration and Management
Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
Mathematics
Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.

Important Abilities needed by Administrative Assistants

Administrative Assistants must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Administrative Assistants need abilities such as oral expression, oral comprehension, and written comprehension in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Administrative Assistants, ranked by their relative importance.

Oral Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
Oral Comprehension
The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Written Comprehension
The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
Written Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
Near Vision
The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).

Critical Skills needed by Administrative Assistants

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Administrative Assistants frequently use skills like active listening, speaking, and reading comprehension to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Administrative Assistants, ranked by their relative importance.

Active Listening
Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Speaking
Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Reading Comprehension
Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
Writing
Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
Time Management
Managing one's own time and the time of others.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

If you have any questions or suggestions about this information, please send a message.