Clerical assistants, including secretaries and administrative assistants, provide support for managers and staff employees through a variety of tasks related to organisation and communication. The nature of the work varies greatly by industry, employer and educational level.
Duties of a clerical assistants include managing appointments, organising files, handling travel arrangements, writing reports and disseminating information through various communications tools. They may work in schools, hospitals, corporations, government agencies, legal and medical offices.
Educational backgrounds vary greatly for clerical assistants. Entry-level jobs may only require a high school diploma. Many community colleges offer associate degrees in office management or administration. A bachelor's degree in business administration may be preferred for assistants working with high-ranking executives.
Jobs for clerical assistants are expected to increase by 11 per cent from 2008 to 2018, which is near average for all occupations. Opportunities can be plentiful for this occupation, as it is one of the largest occupations in the country, with 4.3 million jobs in 2008.
Median annual pay for clerical assistants is dependent on the setting in which the assistant is employed. In local government and school settings, median pay was £18,882 in 2008, the latest year statistics are available through the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. Ten per cent earned more than £28,106, while 10 per cent earned less than £11,986. Executive secretaries at businesses and state government earn more, with a median pay of £26,019. Median wages for legal secretaries in 2008 was £25,909.
Clerical assistants may advance within a company as they gain more experience and learn more skills. This is especially true in large organisations where there are multiple jobs in the clerical field.
There are various certifications available that may help clerical assistants advance their careers. Organizations that offer certificatiton opportunities include the International Association of Administrative Professionals; National Association of Legal Secretaries (NALS), Inc.; Legal Secretaries International, Inc; and International Virtual Assistants Association (IVAA). Certifications include National Association of Legal Secretaries member; Certified Professional Secretary; Certified Administrative Professional; Professional Legal Secretary; and Certified Legal Secretary Specialist.