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Administrative Assistant

Administrative assistants perform administrative duties ranging from general office tasks to acting as special assistants in particular departments.

Also Known As:Administrative Support Personnel, Clerical Assistant, Information Clerk, Office Personnel, Secretary
NOC Number(s):1411
Minimum Education:1 year post-secondary education/training
Employment Outlook:Job openings: turnover plus new jobs due to below average growth in occupation in Alberta 2013-2017
Interests:O M i

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Administrative Assistant


Duties | Working Conditions | Personal Characteristics | Education | Employment | Salary | Other Information | Related Occupations | Related School Subjects | Related Field of Study

Duties

Technology is constantly changing and so are administrative assistants' duties. However, in general, administrative assistants may:

  • use word processing, spreadsheet, database or presentation software to prepare invoices, reports, memos, letters, financial statements and other documents
  • answer telephones, greet visitors, meet with clients, and handle business and administrative details
  • arrange and organize meetings
  • prepare meeting agendas, attend meetings, and record and transcribe minutes
  • open, sort and distribute correspondence (including faxes and electronic mail) and respond to routine inquiries
  • draft correspondence and reports
  • schedule appointments and meetings using electronic calendar systems
  • make travel arrangements, prepare expense reports, order and maintain office supplies
  • develop or maintain a records management system (including classifying and coding electronic and hardcopy files)
  • train staff members in computer applications and troubleshoot hardware and software problems
  • research information on the Internet, prepare Intranet documents and assist in the maintenance of company websites
  • handle basic bookkeeping duties such as accounts payable and receivable and the reconciliation of accounts
  • operate office equipment such as fax machines, photocopiers, voice mail messaging systems and computer scanning equipment
  • transcribe material from handwritten notes or digital dictation
  • edit or format documents for executives
  • use specialized software to create forms
  • manage projects
  • manage events (for more information, see the Special Event Co-ordinator profile)
  • supervise, manage or train other staff members.

Working Conditions

Administrative assistants work in office environments. They usually work standard office hours but overtime may be required to meet deadlines.


Personal Characteristics

Administrative assistants need the following characteristics:

  • good oral and written communication skills
  • good interpersonal skills
  • good organizational and time management skills
  • the ability to work independently or as part of a team.

They should enjoy working with people, using computer applications, and compiling and organizing information.


Educational Requirements

Most employers, particularly in specialized fields, require administrative assistants to have related post-secondary education and computer skills.

In Alberta, a number of colleges, technical institutes and private vocational schools offer post-secondary programs related to office administration:

Prospective students should investigate the suitability and reputation of training programs with employers before enrolling in a program. Courses and programs vary considerably in content, length, admission requirements and cost. In general, a high school diploma or mature student status is required for admission. However, admission to some programs requires a minimum average in specified courses such as English Language Arts 30-1 or 30-2, Social Studies 30 or 33, or a Grade 11 math course.

Continuing education programs may be offered on an as needed basis. eCampusAlberta provides information about online courses and programs offered by Alberta post-secondary institutions, including provincially accredited certificates, diplomas and applied degrees.

For current information about programs, admission requirements and mature student admission policies, please check post-secondary calendars or websites.

Section revised January 2014

Employment and Advancement

Administrative assistants may be employed in any industry. Some are self-employed and work from home as virtual assistants.

Experienced administrative assistants may advance from routine clerical tasks to a skilled specialty or to supervision of other office assistants.

Administrative assistants are part of the larger National Occupational Classification 1411: General Office Clerks. In Alberta, 81 per cent of people employed in this classification work in the following industries:

The employment outlook in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the industries listed above)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • size of the occupation.

Over 3,000 Albertans are employed in the General Office Clerks occupational group which is expected to have an annual below average growth of 1.9 per cent from 2013 to 2017 in Alberta. It is forecasted that about 57 new positions will be created each year in addition to job openings created by employment turnover. (Note: Since administrative assistants form only a part of the larger occupational group on which this forecast is based, only a portion of the new positions created will be for administrative assistants.)

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Section revised October 2013

Salary

Salaries for administrative assistants vary depending on the responsibilities of the position and the qualifications of the worker.

According to the 2011 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans in the General Office Clerks occupational group earned on average from $17.14 to $28.85 an hour. The mean wage for this group was $22.17 an hour.

For more detailed information, see WAGEinfo.

Section revised February 2012

Other Sources of Information

Post-secondary institution calendars and websites (see Educational Requirements above)

EDinfo website: www.alis.alberta.ca/edinfo

eCampusAlberta website: www.ecampusalberta.ca

International Association of Administrative Professionals website: www.iaap-hq.org


Related Occupational Profiles
Accounting Technician
Chiropractic Assistant
Health Information Management Professional
Legal Assistant
Medical Office Assistant
Receptionist
Unit Clerk

Related High School Subjects
Business, Administration, Finance and Information Technology (Information Processing; and Management and Marketing); English Language Arts; and Social Studies

Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
Clerical and Administrative Support

Produced October 2011
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For more information on career planning, occupations and educational programs, visit the Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS) website at alis.alberta.ca, call the Alberta Career Information Hotline toll-free at 1-800-661-3753 or 780-422-4266 in Edmonton or visit an Alberta Works Centre near you.

The information contained in this profile was current as of the dates shown. Salaries, employment outlook and educational programs may change. Please check the information before making any career decisions.


Government of Alberta, Human Services