Secretaries and Administrative Assistants

Annual Earnings Percentiles

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  • Social: 59
  • Purpose: 54
  • Supported: 20
  • Analytical: 17
  • Creative: 14

What Secretaries and Administrative Assistants Do

Secretaries and administrative assistants perform clerical and administrative duties. They organize files, prepare documents, schedule appointments, and support other staff.

Work Environment

Although secretaries and administrative assistants work in nearly every industry, many are employed in schools, hospitals, governments, and legal and medical offices. Most work full time.

How to Become a Secretary or Administrative Assistant

High school graduates who have experience using computer software applications usually qualify for entry-level positions. Although most secretaries learn their job in several weeks, many legal and medical secretaries require additional training to learn industry-specific terminology. Executive secretaries usually need several years of related work experience.

College Majors

Showing data from the American Community Survey for the following US Census occupation categories:

  • Secretaries and administrative assistants

Bachelor's degree majors are shown.

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    Job Outlook

    Employment of secretaries and administrative assistants is projected to grow 3 percent from 2014 to 2024, slower than the average for all occupations. Many job openings will result from the need to replace workers who leave the occupation. Those with work experience, particularly experience using computer software applications to do word processing and create spreadsheets, should have the best job prospects.

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    Growth & Trends

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    This occupation supported 3,947,000 jobs in 2012 and 3,976,700 jobs in 2014, reflecting an increase of 0.8%. In 2012, this occupation was projected to increase by 12.2% in 2022 to 4,426,700 jobs. As of 2014, to keep pace with prediction, the expected number of jobs was 4,042,900, compared with an observed value of 3,976,700, 1.6% lower than expected. This indicates current employment trends are about on track with the 2012 trend within this occupation. In 2014, this occupation was projected to increase by 3.0% in 2024 to 4,095,600 jobs. Linear extrapolation of the 2012 projection for 2022 results in an expected number of 4,522,600 jobs for 2024, 10.4% higher than the 2014 projection for 2024. This indicates expectations for future employment trends are much worse than the 2012 trend within this occupation.