Administrative Assistant Career Path

Are you thinking of becoming an Administrative Assistant or already started your career and planning the next step? Learn how to become an Administrative Assistant, what skills you need to succeed, how to advance your career and get promoted, and what levels of pay to expect at each step on your career path. Explore new Administrative Assistant job openings and options for career transitions into related roles.

How To Become an Administrative Assistant

An administrative assistant is responsible for clerical tasks, usually on behalf of an organization leader, such as coordinating calendars, sending emails, receiving phone calls and messages, preparing for large presentations and meetings, taking notes during meetings, and other related duties. Here are four steps on how to become an administrative assistant.
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1

Earn a degree or have a high school diploma or GED.

To become an administrative assistant at the entry-level, you'll be required to have a minimum of a high school diploma or your General Education Development certificate. Requirements will vary by employer, however, and some may require an associate's degree or even a bachelor's degree in any field. Some employers prefer a specific discipline related to the administrative assistant field, such as finance or government relations.

If you have a high school diploma but wish to continue your education, you can take technical courses related to administrative assistant responsibilities. These include documentation, business writing, data processing, filing and organization, and bookkeeping. This experience may be satisfactory for the replacement of educational requirements when entering the job field.

What type of degree should you pursue to become an Administrative Assistant?

40% of people working as an Administrative Assistant earned a Bachelor's Degree

What skills do you need to be an Administrative Assistant?

  • Office 365
  • Excellent Customer Service
  • Written Communication
  • Microsoft Office Suite
  • Active Directory
  • Attention To Detail
  • Exchange Online
  • PowerShell
Based on resume data from Glassdoor users who reported working as an Administrative Assistant in the United States.

2

Find an entry-level administrative assistant job and gain relevant experience.

After you've gotten the necessary education to enter the field, you can begin applying for entry-level jobs as an administrative assistant. Prepare your resume to include your highest level of education and any relevant work history. List your previous job responsibilities and any achievements you've earned.

Questions in an administrative assistant interview may include:

  • How do you organize your daily work to maximize your time?
  • How have you improved upon your time management skills?
  • What is an important goal that you've reached within the last year?

Employers will be looking for potential employees with the following qualities:

  • Great communication skills
  • Attention to detail
  • Ability to manage time efficiently
  • Ability to create and maintain professional relationships
  • Have good problem-solving skills
  • Ability to learn quickly

3

Seek certifications.

As an administrative assistant, there are specific certifications you can obtain to make you more valuable to your current or future employers. Two common certifications teach and test the professional skills needed as an administrative assistant:

  • Certified Administrative Professional. This exam was created by the International Association of Administrative Professionals and covers six relevant topics. These include organizational communication, technology and information, record keeping, business documentation and writing, project and event management, and business functions. This 200-225 question multiple-choice test takes approximately three hours to complete. You can find preparation material on the IAAP website.
  • Microsoft Office Specialist. This certification will assess the technical Microsoft application skills that administrative assistants commonly use. An associate-level certification is available for each specific application, including Excel, PowerPoint, and Word. To become a specialist, you must complete each exam.

4

Continue your education.

If you wish to further your career as an administrative assistant, you may need to continue your education. Obtaining an associate's or bachelor's degree can open up various higher-paying career opportunities. To make yourself more valuable, specialize in a field such as legal or healthcare administration. Some community colleges and vocational schools offer associate's degrees in Administrative Assisting and provide office and computer skills needed to become an expert.

Seniority Levels

L2

Administrative Assistant

2 - 4Years of Experience
$67,714 /yrTotal Pay
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17% advanced to

L3

Senior Administrative Assistant

2 - 4Years of Experience
$78,559 /yrTotal Pay
Learn More

L4

Administrative Assistant IV

5 - 7Years of Experience
$82,450 /yrTotal Pay
Learn More

Total Pay Trajectory

Administrative Assistant Career Path

$180K
$148K
$115K
$83K
$50K
L2
L4
L6
L8
Seniority Levels

Related Careers in the Administrative Industry

Interested in other Administrative careers? Below are occupations that have high affinity with Administrative Assistant skills. Discover some of the most common Administrative Assistant career transitions, along with skills overlap.