Skip to main content
administrative assistant

What does an Administrative Assistant do?

While specific responsibilities vary according to the needs of the employer, an Administrative Assistant is a person who provides various kinds of support to individuals or groups, particularly in a business setting. Most often, the term Administrative Assistant is a formal title, although it can also simply be a designation for the role that person plays in the organization.

Administrative Assistants can be found in many industries, including government agencies, corporations, legal and medical offices, hospitals, schools and universities.  They are often critical to ensuring that everything runs smoothly within an organization.

Some of the duties an Administrative Assistant might perform include:

  • Coordination and communication between departments
  • Scheduling of meetings, interviews and events
  • Handling sensitive information and communications
  • Data entry and note taking
  • Resolving day-to-day operational issues in an administrative role
  • Assisting with various aspects of management, logistics, and inventory

Training & Education

While a formal education is not always necessary, a degree is sometimes required and will help an applicant in negotiating for a higher salary. For most entry-level Administrative Assistant positions, a high school diploma or GED along with some office skills are all that is necessary. Exceptionally strong communication and time management skills are required for most administrative assistants. Vocational programs exist that will help in training for administrative support positions, as they teach the specific skills required for such a role.

Employers hiring Executive Assistants are more likely to seek out candidates with a college degree, especially one closely related to the business or industry the executive works in.


While applicants with a formal education are usually at an advantage, experience and location will play a role in salary, as will the type of administrative assistants position. For example, office support positions usually pay significantly less than executive assistant roles.

What does an Executive Assistant do?

At the end of April every year, we celebrate and recognize the individuals who make business around the world run more smoothly: administrative and executive assistants. The profession has changed a lot since the 1950s, and taking dictation is mainly a thing of the past.

executive assistant

Today’s executive assistants come from all walks of life, but they have many things in common: they usually have a solid educational background, very good computer skills, are highly organized, have perfected the art of multi-tasking, are excellent problem-solvers, are diplomatic and professional and can work well under pressure. As demands for the job have shifted, many executive assistants have taken on duties that were once reserved for professional or managerial staff, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Educational requirements

According to the BLS, applicants with extensive knowledge of computer software applications should have the best chances for success, so be sure you have solid working knowledge of software and hardware if you are thinking about becoming an executive assistant. Many times, the executive assistant solves the exasperated boss’s computer problems and/or knows whom to call when things aren’t working as they should.

Many employers prefer to hire applicants with college degrees. A bachelor’s degree can usually be completed in four years of full-time study. For more entry-level secretarial positions, a vocational program at executive assistant schools is usually sufficient. These programs last from a few months to two years and are offered by vocational-technical schools and community colleges. Many executive assistants specialize in specific areas, such as legal or medical.

The future for executive assistants

We have good news: the BLS projects en employment growth of 11 per cent for executive assistants (also called exacutive secretaries). Job growth is expected to be particularly solid in a variety of industries, such as scientific and professional services. There is virtually no sector or industry in which executive assistants are not needed, so your options should be wide-ranging.

Do toy factories need executive assistants? How about clothing designers, law firms, non-profits, colleges, medical offices and government contractors? You bet they do! The BLS lists the top-paying industries as the postal service, the computer industry and the federal executive branch. The sectors that have the highest amount of employed professionals on this career path are the financial industry and the real estate business.

Does this ever-changing and always-in-demand profession sound like a good fit for your skills, abilities and interests? If it does, then have a look at the different educational programs available in your area and start working toward a fulfilling and challenging career.

What does a Manager do?

A manager is an employee at a company that holds an organizational management title. Managers will often be the head of a department or branch of an organization, overseeing other employees and general production. Managers can be hired directly or promoted from within a company.

While many companies offer management opportunities, two popular positions include marketing managers and administrative services managers. Administrative services managers plan and oversee a wide variety of services that let companies operate resourcefully, such as facilities maintenance and record management. Marketing managers, on the other hand, will often work directly with the advertising and public relations departments to create a promotional plan for a company.


Educational requirements for a manager

While a large variety of educational backgrounds are found among managers, several companies prefer employees with college degrees. The most common degrees for marketing managers include marketing and business administration.

An individual pursuing an administrative services manager position at a small company with few responsibilities may only need a high school diploma or associate degree. Larger companies will often prefer an administrative services manager with a bachelor’s degree.

Career paths for a manager

In most companies, there is someone in charge of the marketing efforts, making a marketing manager a competitive position. The majority of marketing manager positions is filled through the promotion of existing personnel, meaning employees will often work in a similar field before becoming manager.

Administrative services manager positions are specific to individual companies. Organizations with several departments have a larger need for these types of managers. Administrative services managers are often promoted from technical positions within a company or transferred from different departments.

Job outlook for a manager

The job outlook for a marketing manager is expected to grow as fast as the national average. Since most companies employ marketing specialists, high competition is expected for this position.

The outlook for administrative services managers is also expected to grow as fast as the national average, However, as technology grows and administrative processes become streamlined, there may be less of a need for several administrative services positions at one company.