How to Become an Administrative Assistant With No Experience [2021 Guide]

Are you wondering how to become an administrative assistant with no experience?

Administrative Assistant With No Experience

A college degree isn’t often required for most administrative assistant positions, but employers tend to look for a certain skill set.

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An administrative assistant certificate or associate degree program can help you gain specialized training and give you a competitive edge in the workforce.

How to Become an Administrative Assistant with No Experience

Become an Administrative Assistant

Many administrative assistant positions only require a GED or a high school diploma. The industry is becoming more competitive, though, so furthering your education can have its benefits.

The administrative assistant role is expanding to include duties like writing website copy, managing social media, and even representing the boss in meetings.

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If you have a lack of experience but still want to become an administrative assistant, you may want to consider the following steps:

  • Work on developing your skills. This may include taking courses in accounting, bookkeeping, or communication.
  • Pursue a certificate program. Pursuing certification can teach you the administrative skills that are valued in this field.
  • Consider further education. You may qualify to earn more money with an associate or bachelors degree. A degree can also open the door for more specialized work as an administrative assistant.
  • Network. You can take the time to intern, work as a receptionist, or do temp work. Making connections in the field may assist you when you’re trying to find a job.

For some positions, an associate degree or certificate is often required.

3 Things You Can Do with an Administrative Assistant Certificate or Diploma

Administrative Assistant Certificate

The duties of an administrative assistant can vary according to their industry, geographic location, and work experience. Working as an office assistant or providing administrative support can be a strategic place to start. Administrative assistant positions can be entry-level or specialized.

Here are a few examples of administrative careers.

1. Office Manager

An office manager assures that the entire office runs smoothly every day. They organize meetings, arrange appointments, manage correspondence, and deal with client complaints or inquires. In large firms, they may oversee other employees or hire and fire.

An administrative assistant with a good amount of work experience may qualify for an office manager position.

2. Legal Administrative Assistant

Administrative Assistant Diploma

A legal administrative assistant will often have specialized training in order to understand legal terms and procedures. They often work in law offices, performing administrative and specialized tasks.

Because of their specialized knowledge, legal secretaries and administrative assistants often earn higher wages than general administrative assistants.

3. Executive Secretary

Executive secretaries are highly skilled supportive staff. Experienced administrative assistants may qualify for this role. Executive secretaries provide many of the same duties as other administrative assistants but for the top-level executives of a firm.

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They may also manage calendars of meetings, conferences, appointments, and travel. They can also conduct industry-specific research and draft important supporting documents for conferences, presentations, and meetings.

Administrative Assistant Careers & Salaries

Administrative Assistant Careers & Salaries

You can work in a wide variety of industries and fields as an administrative assistant. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary of secretaries and administrative assistants is $40,990.

Careers Annual Median Salaries
Executive Secretaries and Executive Administrative Assistants $63,110
Legal Secretaries and Administrative Assistants $48,980
Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerks $42,410
Financial Clerks $41,520
General Secretaries and Administrative Assistants $38,850
Medical Secretaries and Administrative Assistants $37,350
Information Clerks $36,920
Customer Service Representatives $35,830
General Office Clerks $35,330
Receptionists $31,110

Training as an administrative assistant can allow you to develop useful, versatile skills that can be applied in a variety of industries.

Administrative Assistant Skills

Administrative Assistant Skills

Administrative assistants are usually highly organized, proficient professionals. Pursuing an associate degree or certificate program can help you develop the skills needed to pursue a job in your chosen field.

  • Computer literacy. It’s necessary to know how to use the company’s software program, along with general computer programs, such as Word Processor and Excel.
  • Communication skills. Administrative assistants have to speak professionally, both verbally and in writing, with clients, customers, coworkers, employees, and management.
  • Human relations skills. It’s important to maintain professional relationships with coworkers, employees, management, and customers.
  • Organizational skills. It’s beneficial to be highly organized and able to independently prioritize tasks.

The administrative assistant is often the hub of an organization. In this role, you may be pulled in many directions, so it’s helpful to be able to stay calm and flexible while solving everyday office problems.

Administrative Assistant Internship Opportunities

An internship can be a beneficial way to gain experience as an administrative assistant. It may also introduce you to professionals within the industry you hope to work in.

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At the very least, you will get to know the people at the business or organization you intern for. Your supervisor may even put in a recommendation for you as you pursue paid employment.

When it comes to finding an internship, you may consider the following ideas:

  • Start with businesses or organizations you frequent. These might be places like the library, bookstores, gyms, clubs, and even your school student center.
  • Consider nonprofit organizations. Nonprofit organizations are often looking for volunteers.
  • Small offices often appreciate the extra help from an intern. Small offices can include dentists, psychologists, counselors, accountants, and vets.
  • Larger firms often have the budget and staff to take on interns. You can check with law firms, accounting firms, hospitals, manufacturers, and sales offices.

If you lack experience, an internship can act as a stepping stone, not only providing you with experience but also connecting you to other people in the industry.

What Is an Administrative Assistant?

administrative assistant professional

An administrative assistant is a professional who performs administrative tasks, such as data entry, record keeping, communications, and scheduling. Administrative assistants can be employed by small businesses, individuals, big firms, nonprofits, or organizations.

They keep the day-to-day tasks of an office flowing smoothly. Administrative assistants often act as liaisons between employees and high-level management as well as between customers and staff.

Depending on their specialization, an administrative assistant can work as a receptionist, secretary, legal secretary, medical secretary, executive assistant, or general administrative assistant.

What Does an Administrative Assistant Do?

Administrative Assistants

Administrative assistants are the glue of an organization. An administrative assistant is often the first to greet customers, coworkers, and employees. They are generally the one who everyone turns to for help. They can provide support to everyone within an organization, from the customer to the top-level executive.

Some duties an administrative assistant may perform include:

  • Managing phones, emails, social media, and other forms of communication
  • Scheduling appointments, meetings, and travel
  • Editing and preparing memos, invoices, and reports
  • Maintaining databases and files

Administrative assistants keep everything running smoothly in organizations.

How Much Does an Admin Assistant Make?

Admin Assistant salary

An administrative assistant’s salary depends on their industry, experience, and geographic location. Some industries, such as professional, scientific, and technical services, tend to pay more than others.

Education and experience also plays a role in how much an administrative assistant makes. Executive secretaries and administrative assistants tend to have more experience, earning a median annual salary of $63,110 (Bureau of Labor Statistics).

Legal secretaries and administrative assistants typically have specialized training through a certificate or associates degree. The median annual salary for this position is $48,980. The median annual salary for general secretaries and administrative assistants is $38,850, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

What Qualifications Do You Need to Be a Admin Assistant?

Admin Assistant qualifications

It is possible to land an entry-level admin job with a GED or high school diploma, but further education will increase your chances of finding gainful employment. Most employers prefer a candidate with some training.

In an administrative assistant certificate program, you may take classes in communication, computer, and office skills. A certificate program may also let you specialize in the legal or medical fields. Alternatively, you can pursue an associate or bachelors degree.

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You can also pursue professional certification by taking the Certified Administrative Assistant (CAA) exam.

Do You Need Experience to Be an Administrative Assistant?

Administrative Assistant experience

You do not necessarily need experience to become an administrative assistant. Many entry-level positions can be trained on the job.

Most employers, though, will want you to demonstrate skills in communication, research, scheduling, organization, and office administration. If you are lacking any of these skills, you may consider taking a few courses, volunteering, or interning.

An entry level administrative assistant may also work as a secretary, receptionist, or bookkeeper. If you are looking for something a little more specialized, you can consider pursuing a certificate or associate degree

What’s the Difference Between an Administrative Assistant vs. Secretary?

A secretary is one type of an administrative assistant, but there are some differences between the two.

Secretary Administrative Assistant
  • Strictly clerical
  • Performs duties such as typing, answering the phones, and making appointments
  • Cannot make decisions
  • Not strictly clerical
  • Can perform secretarial duties as well as supervise other staff, prepare reports, and arrange meetings between executives
  • Can make decisions

The main differences between a secretary and an administrative assistant is the type of duties that they perform and the level of autonomy permitted in each position.

What’s the Difference Between an Administrative Assistant vs. Executive Assistant?

An executive assistant is also a type of an administrative assistant. The biggest difference between the two is in the duties that are performed.

Executive Assistant Administrative Assistant
  • Performs specialized tasks
  • Can perform administrative duties but also do research and supervise other staff
  • Can make decisions
  • Performs generalized tasks
  • Performs duties like managing the phones, managing the schedules, editing documents, and preparing reports
  • Can make decisions

An executive assistant often possesses a higher level of education and performs more specialized duties specifically for the top-level executives in an organization.

Get the Online Training You Need to Become an Admin Assistant

Admin Assistant online training

Technological advances require administrative assistants to know so much more than they ever did in the past.

There are traditional classroom-based programs in addition to the growing number of online administrative assistant certificate or online administrative assistant degree programs that can help you develop a versatile skill set when it comes to administrative tasks and office procedures. You do not need experience or a college degree to become an administrative assistant, but this field is becoming highly competitive.

Some employers may prefer candidates who have professional training. If you’re wanting to enter this competitive field, earning an administrative assistant certificate or associate degree from an accredited institution can demonstrate your skills and qualifications in the field.

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Shannon Lambert
WRITTEN BY
Shannon Lambert
Shannon has a Bachelor of Science in Social Work, from Bemidji State University, along with a minor in both Psychology and Sociology. Shannon loves motivating and empowering people to dream big and go after what they want in life.