Administrative professionals plan, coordinate and direct a myriad of services aimed at ensuring that a company operates smoothly. These activities may range from those as basic as drafting correspondence, answering telephones and scheduling meetings to those more involved such as managing a staff of junior and mid-level administrative and operations professionals. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, administrative assistants and secretaries held approximately 4.3 million jobs, and administrative services managers held 259,400 jobs in 2008.
Many entry-level administrative jobs require candidates to only possess a high school diploma or its equivalent. Many who enter the field receive vocational training at a junior college or proprietary school. Increasingly, employer hiring executive and management-level administrators give preference to applicants who possess a college degree. In addition, job seekers may increase their competitiveness by obtaining one of many industry certifications, including the Certified Professional Secretary (CPS) and the Certified Administrative Professional (CAP) credentials.
Typical Work Environment
Administrative professionals exist in all industries. These individuals typically work in office environments, sitting for long periods of time typing on keyboards and looking at computer monitors. As a result, eyestrain, stress and ailments such as carpal tunnel syndrome are often suffered by those in this field. Management level administrators may spend part of their day visiting various areas of the facility and supervising other employees, such as groundskeepers and custodial staff.
Alternatively, some administrative professionals work as virtual assistants. In this capacity, an administrator sits in a home office, performing tasks for supervisors in remote locations. Approximately 50 percent of those in this field work a standard 40-hour work week. This other 50 percent works longer hours.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median yearly salary paid to secretaries and administrative assistants in May 2008 was $29,050. The lowest 10 percent of these workers earned less than $18,440, while the highest 10 percent earned in excess of $43,240. The middle 50 percent earned salaries ranging from $23,160 and $36,020.
Alternatively, administrative professionals at the management level were paid a median wage of $73,520. The lowest and highest 10 percent of this group earned less than $37,430 and more than $129,770, respectively. The middle 50 percent earned between $52,240 and $98,980.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on December 17, 2009, that employment of secretaries, administrative assistants and administrative services managers is expected to increase at a rate "about as fast as average. During the decade encompassing 2008 and 2018, employment is anticipated to increase at a rate of 11 percent for junior and mid-level administrators and at a rate of 12 percent for those at the management level. Those employed by management services and consulting firms are expected to be in most demand as a result of companies increasingly looking "to outside specialists to handle a myriad of administrative tasks that have become increasingly complex and expensive," according to the BLS.
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