Administrative assistants go by a number of other job titles. They have similar duties, but those duties vary from organization to organization. These duties involve clerical and reception tasks, and they are often more complex than those of receptionist or file clerk.
One of the most used alternative job titles for administrative assistant is secretary. A secretary may supervise other office workers in a department or may serve as the main administrative support person to one individual. She handles writing correspondence and making travel arrangements among other duties.
A more general category an administrative assistant fits into is that of administrative support. Administrative support personnel perform a wide range of clerical tasks. They may have reception and filing duties like lower-level office clerks, or they may have higher-level duties, such as performing bookkeeping and arranging conference calls. They may also have a combination of all of these types of tasks.
Executive secretaries are generally considered the highest level of administrative support personnel, people who provide exclusive assistance to one or just a few top-level officials in a company. They work primarily doing information management, preparing reports for distribution and other related tasks. Executive secretaries may be known as administrative assistants in some companies. In smaller companies, administrative assistants may serve the company’s president or owner as well as be the company’s general office manager.
Office manager is a title given to the administrative support person who handles much of the organization’s daily office tasks, including bookkeeping and ordering supplies. This individual may help resolve problems with vendors and customers, and is usually the go-to person in the company when dealing with clients. The public turns to office managers to help them answer billing and general product questions as well. Office managers know a little about all of the departments in the company and may serve all of them. They establish recordkeeping procedures, ensure data security, hire and terminate office personnel and supervise junior office employees as well.
2016 Salary Information for Secretaries and Administrative Assistants
Secretaries and administrative assistants earned a median annual salary of $38,730 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, secretaries and administrative assistants earned a 25th percentile salary of $30,500, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $48,680, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 3,990,400 people were employed in the U.S. as secretaries and administrative assistants.