When asked about their dream job, not many people respond with Administrative Assistant. What does Administrative Assistant even mean? Specifically, what does it mean to be an Administrative Assistant in today’s business world?
Not many people see the position of Administrative Assistant as one that is particularly rewarding or exciting. However, when you look at what an Administrative Assistant really does, it actually has many of the attributes that we hear when people talk about a dream job – flexibility, variety, a solid starting salary with lots of room for growth, and the ability to help people.
Do you want a job in which you get to interact with different people, where no two days are ever exactly the same, where you get to learn new things and assist in making sure that an office runs smoothly and efficiently? Do you want to work directly with managers, supervisors, executives, and directors and to actually be an integral part of seeing a business succeed?
At West Tennessee Business College, our Administrative Assisting program provides students with the tools and expertise necessary to be an Office Professional. Although the term “administrative assistant” is frequently associated with the idea of what used to be called a Secretary, our program is really quite comprehensive. Although our students do learn things like proper telephone etiquette and communication skills, they also end the program equipped with a thorough knowledge of Microsoft Office, Word, Excel, Power Point and Access. They can balance books, design spreadsheets, create brochures, file and organize paperwork, deal with billing and payroll, and do most of the necessary tasks to see that an office is successful!
Average pay for an administrative assistant is near $13 per hour, but many administrative assistants who work hard, learn new skills, and remain with a company are able to advance to more executive positions and many times end up in supervisory roles earning closer to $20 – $30 per hour! According to many articles, skill level is the biggest differentiator in pay. Students who complete our program have many of the skills that are in high demand in today’s job market – things like being able to design an Excel spreadsheet or create a newsletter, prepare a Power Point presentation, or conduct a virtual meeting using the right technology. In fact, successful businesses rely heavily on well trained, highly skilled administrative professionals.
One final tip: Follow your interests to specialize in a particular area. Are you fascinated by legal issues? Interested in the world of medicine? Insurance? By focusing on a particular field and learning all that you can, the likelihood is increased that you will earn more in a faster period of time and actually enjoy your work. There is a great variety out there, and chances are, if you accept a position in a field that you enjoy, you can become indispensable to a company, business, or firm.
WTBC student Brandon Pearson