Approximately 1,841,020 administrative assistants staffed offices and businesses in May 2010, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The bureau's occupational employment and wages report revealed that the mid-range salary for these support professionals was $30,830. Administrative assistants earning at the 10th percentile received $19,690 while those in the 90th percentile bracket took in $46,430 annually nationwide.
In a typical day, administrative assistants may act as a schedulers, supply coordinators, correspondence clerks, personal assistants, greeters and data entry clerks, with duties varying by the industry in which they are employed. That industry of employment can have a significant effect on an administrative assistant’s salary, with categories that employ the most assistants paying less than those who hire just a fraction of the workforce.
Elementary and secondary schools employed more than twice as many administrative assistants than any other category profiled in the bureau’s study, as well as paid a slightly higher-than-average wage of $32,790. The next-largest employer of administrative assistants, local government, paid an even higher wage of $35,090. But the postal service paid its administrative assistants the highest salaries, with wages of $54,150. The number of postal service administrative assistants was miniscule compared to those employed by schools – 950 to 218,600. Administrative assistants employed by the federal executive branch of the government, numbering 23,250, received the second-highest wages, at $46,930.
Capital-area administrative assistants earned the highest salaries, with District of Columbia wages at $48,240 per year. Salaries in Massachusetts were the second-highest, at $39,180, followed by administrative assistants in Alaska, earning $38,690. Connecticut placed fourth on the bureau’s highest salary list, with administrative assistant wages of $38,560, and Minnesota closed out the top five with statewide rates of $37,340 for the profession.
The states that topped the bureau’s list of having the highest employment for administrative assistants didn’t always pay the highest wages. New York, which was first on the bureau’s list for employment level for the field, had higher-than-average wages for administrative assistants at $34,780. Texas, with the second-highest employment level, fell just below the national rate with wages at $29,220. Florida, in third place for employment level, just topped Texas with a rate of $29,700, but was still below the national wage. California, with the fourth-highest employment level of administrative assistants, had an above-average rate of $36,940, while Pennsylvania, in fifth place, was just under the national rate at $30,650.