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Being the frontliners in offices, administrative assistants are nonetheless in demand. As a matter of fact, there are over four million people holding this particular career post in the United States back in 2006. The trend is expected to rise by approximately 9% in the next decade according to US Bureau of Labour Statistics. It is not surprising though as many sections are being integrated in the organizational framework not to mention the emergence of new corporate entities. In particular, it comes in many different jobs such as accounting assistant, personal assistant, project assistant, production assistant, clerk, and receptionist.
An administrative assistant handles an array of functions hence multi-tasking happens to be the key virtue. More often than not, it includes business correspondence, file management, making and answering calls, and other clerical functions. Budgeting, bookkeeping, and scheduling comprise another set of relevant competencies. To make the discharge of duties even more efficient, there are office devices and facilities that aid in the performance of daily work such as computer, facsimile machine, photocopier, telephone, etc. In the same way, knowledge and skills of operating these machines are imperative to optimization of these resources.
Consequently, the administrative assistant or secretarial profession started in the Renaissance period. The term secretary even originated from a Latin word “secernere” meaning “to set apart” which further connotes to something private. In turn, someone who manages confidential affairs for powerful people such as King or Pope in the old times is given the designation secretarius. In the 20th century, it has been regarded as a professional career upon the establishment of academic courses such as typing, stenography, MS applications, etc. Also, relevant organizations have been founded such as National Secretaries Associations and International Association of Administrative Professionals. Not so long after the commencement of these organizational bodies, the Certified Professional Secretaries Examination has been introduced to provide standardized testing to office workers.
The growing demand for professional office assistants compelled the academe to provide relevant academic curricula. More often than not, these are in form of two-year training programs for accounting office assistant, administrative medical assistant, executive office assistant, legal administrative assistant, and office technology professional. Further specializations consist of event planning, travel counselling, and accounting. There are also online associate degree programs accessible such as Associate of Applied Science in Office Administration and Associate of Applied Science in Office Management. Upon conferment of Associate’s diploma, the four-part professional exam may be taken to achieve Certified Administrative Professional designation. Although not compulsory, such recognition can provide competitive advantage to applicants.
An array of employment opportunities awaits administrative assistant professionals. Numerous multinational companies from many different industries comprise an attractive career niche such as accounting and auditing, business and finance, and health and medicine. Governments can also provide secretarial posts for various offices under its comprehensive organizational structure. Academic institutions are also looking for competent professionals eligible for the teaching profession not to mention their administrative personnel demands. Moreover, small offices within the locality such as medical clinic, law firm, and manpower agencies can tender job placements, too. General responsibilities are clerical and administrative in nature although discretionary functions are awarded to skilled executive assistants.