How to Become an Administrative Assistant

Administrative Assistant

Administrative assistants work in offices to help with their day-to-day running. Professionals in this vocation will need to do a variety of tasks, from photocopying to communicating with suppliers on the phone. IT skills are essential, as administrative assistants will need to use spreadsheets and databases, and they will also need to be excellent communicators.

An administrative assistant will support an office in their day to day tasks. It is a varied role; the administrative assistant could be doing any duties that are passed down to them from other members of staff. The responsibilities of an administrative assistant can also vary depending on the industry. 

Being an administrative assistant includes tasks like: 

  • Arranging meetings, events, and conferences for both in-house members of staff and other collaborative businesses. 
  • Typing up notes from meetings.
  • Filing and photocopying essential documents.
  • Answering the phone, dealing with customer questions and putting phone calls through to the correct department.
  • Greeting visitors to the office and ensuring that they have all that they need during the stay.
  • Booking travel for staff. 

No set qualifications are necessary to become an administrative assistant, but undertaking a relevant college course will strengthen an application. Relevant courses include business and administration. Alternatively, some offices offer apprenticeships, where they will provide all of the training. Secondary qualifications are generally needed to apply for these. 

Another way to become an admin assistant is to contact recruitment agencies and request temporary administrative assistant work. This could lead to something permanent. Furthermore, some offices will accept candidates with little experience, as long as they have some secondary qualifications and can demonstrate IT and organisational skills. 

As well as excellent IT skills, administrative assistants should be excellent at time management. They will often have many tasks to complete simultaneously and should be able to arrange them in order of priority. These skills may be tested in an interview; a candidate may be given a list of tasks and should describe how they would complete them all on time.

Other essential skills for administrative assistants are teamwork but also the ability to work independently, customer service, and having attention to detail.

Career progression is likely in this field. Candidates could become an office supervisor or manager, or they could move into other departments of the office, such as payroll or HR. Depending on the industry, and with further training, could specialise in a particular field.

What degree is most commonly held by an Administrative Assistant ?

  • Bachelor of Mass Communications
  • Bachelor of Media Studies
  • Bachelors of Project Management
  • Masters Degree Accounting and Business Management
  • Bachelors of Digital Marketing

Career Transportability across Countries

Transportability: Low
Administrative assistants would generally find it quite challenging to obtain work in another country, because typically, local people would be hired in this position. However, an exception could be made for people who have a pre-existing visa for a country - for example, students in a foreign country. If an administrative assistant niches into a particular area, they may then find it easier to be employed abroad.

What is the Salary of an Administrative Assistant ?

Experience Average salary | year
Administrative Assistant 1-3 yrs $24,000 £18,500 $30,465
Administrative Assistant 3-5 yrs $38,000 £24,000 $36,000
Administrative Assistant 5-10 yrs $52,000 £40,000 $44,313

What skills are needed to become an Administrative Assistant ?

  • Customer Service
  • Microsoft Office
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • Teamwork
  • Time Management
  • Leadership
  • Communication
  • Administrative Assistance
  • Management
  • Social Media
  • Office Administration
  • Research
  • Public Speaking
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Administration
  • Event Planning
  • Sales
  • Data Entry
  • Marketing
  • PowerPoint
  • Problem Solving
  • Organization Skills
  • Project Management
  • Microsoft Outlook

Selection of online courses

Several key skills are essential for an administrative assistant, and it's a great idea to do some relevant courses to practice these. At FutureLearn, we have plenty of business courses that would be a great help to potential administrative assis
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