Secretaries and Administrative Assistants: Salary, career path, job outlook, education and more

Education Required
High school graduates can take courses in word processing and office procedures at technical schools or community colleges. Some temporary placement agencies also provide training in word processing, spreadsheet, and database software.
Training Required
Secretaries and administrative assistants typically learn their skills through short-term on-the-job training, usually lasting a few weeks. During this time they learn about administrative procedures, including how to prepare documents. Medical and legal secretaries’ training may last several months as they learn industry-specific terminology and practices.
Job Outlook
The projected percent change in employment from 2016 to 2026: -5% (Decline)
(The average growth rate for all occupations is 7 percent.)
Median pay: How much do Secretaries and Administrative Assistants make?
$37,230 Annual Salary
$17.90 per hour

Secretaries and administrative assistants perform routine clerical and administrative duties. They organize files, prepare documents, schedule appointments, and support other staff.

What do Secretaries and Administrative Assistants do?

Secretaries and administrative assistants typically do the following:

  • Answer telephones and take messages or transfer calls
  • Schedule appointments and update event calendars
  • Arrange staff meetings
  • Handle incoming and outgoing mail and faxes
  • Prepare memos, invoices, or other reports
  • Edit documents
  • Maintain databases and filing systems, whether electronic or paper
  • Perform basic bookkeeping

Secretaries and administrative assistants perform a variety of clerical and administrative duties that are necessary to run an organization efficiently. They use computer software to create spreadsheets; manage databases; and prepare presentations, reports, and documents. They also may negotiate with vendors, buy supplies, and manage stockrooms or corporate libraries. Secretaries and administrative assistants also use videoconferencing, fax, and other office equipment. Specific job duties vary by experience, job title, and specialty.

The following are examples of types of secretaries and administrative assistants: 

Careers for Secretaries and Administrative Assistants

  • Accredited legal secretaries
  • Administrative assistants
  • Administrative leads
  • Administrative office assistants
  • Administrative office specialists
  • Administrative professionals
  • Administrative specialists
  • Administrative support specialists
  • Administrative technicians
  • Alumni secretaries
  • Business office assistants
  • Business support assistants
  • Certified legal secretary specialists
  • Clerical specialists
  • Clerical supervisors
  • Clerks
  • Corporate administrative assistants
  • Corporate office services managers
  • Corporate secretaries
  • Dental secretaries
  • Department secretaries
  • Division secretaries
  • Executive administrative assistants
  • Executive administrators
  • Executive assistants
  • Executive office administrators
  • Executive secretaries
  • Executive secretaries and executive administrative assistants
  • Hospital secretaries
  • Law secretaries
  • Legal administrative assistants
  • Legal secretaries
  • Management assistants
  • Medical secretaries
  • Office administrative assistants
  • Office coordinators
  • Office secretaries
  • Office specialists
  • Office support secretaries
  • Personal secretaries
  • Principal secretaries
  • Project associates
  • Psychiatric secretaries
  • Real estate administrative assistants
  • School attendance secretaries
  • School secretaries
  • Secretarial assistants
  • Secretaries and administrative assistants, except legal, medical, and executive
  • Staff assistants
  • Support specialists
  • Support staff specialists
  • Virtual assistants
  • Virtual secretaries

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