What Technical Skills Do Administrative Assistants Need?

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Administrative assistants are needed for every type of business that exists.

Individuals who want to become administrative assistants need to have the required skills. Additionally, having experience with a variety of computer applications is a plus.

The Administrative Assistant Training program at Southern Careers Institute can help you develop administrative assistant skills and give you the ability to use them as an extern.

Admins perform routine clerical and administrative duties in every industry you can imagine including hospitals, schools, doctor’s offices, lawyers’ offices, small businesses and governmental offices.

If you are organized and are comfortable with multi-tasking, a job as an administrative assistant may be the perfect career for you. With this hands-on training, you can then attract potential employers.

Skills Required for Administrative Assistants

Aside from basic office skills, administrative assistants (also referred to as secretaries), need to be able to efficiently run a busy office, so organization is the most important trait. 

Having experience using computer software to create and manage spreadsheets, reports, documents, databases, filing systems, and correspondence, in addition to good writing skills is a must.

Admin assistants must be able to type quickly and use office equipment like fax machines and video conferencing machines.

Furthermore, communication and customer service skills are needed to work with the public, fellow employees, and other staff. They should also possess leadership and negotiation skills and have a firm grasp of business accounting. 

Decision-making skills are also a plus as an administrative assistant may have to make decisions on the employer’s behalf. Lastly, they are often required to manage stockrooms, purchase supplies, and see that the office is kept clean and orderly.

These following key skills determine how well you are suited to becoming an administrative assistant:

  • Organizational Skills   
  • Interpersonal Skills   
  • Bookkeeping Skills       
  • Writing Skills 
  • Communication Skills 
  • Computer Skills
  • Decision-Making Skills 
  • Customer Service Skills
  • Negotiating Skills 
  • Leadership Skills                             

Expected Duties for Administrative Assistants

The job description and job duties of an administrative assistant may vary depending on the type of office she or he works in. For instance, an individual needs a specialized administrative experience to work in a legal office. 

The main job duties of an administrative assistant include the following:

  • Answering telephones, taking messages, and forwarding calls
  • Handling correspondence
  • Scheduling appointments and maintaining calendars
  • Arranging staff meetings and company events
  • Setting up and maintaining electronic and/or paper filing systems and databases
  • Invoicing clients and paying bills
  • Performing basic bookkeeping
  • Preparing memos and reports
  • Editing documents

As mentioned, depending on the industry, additional job duties may be required. For example, executive administrative assistants provide high-level support to the top executives in an organization. They may also need to conduct research, attend top-tier meetings and events, and supervise staff.

Legal secretaries must have a working knowledge of legal procedures and terminology. Additionally, they review legal journals and help with research by verifying quotes and citations for legal briefs. And they also prepare legal documents like subpoenas, summonses, complaints, and motions.

Medical administrative assistants need to be familiar with medical terminology, codes, records, hospital procedures, and laboratory tests. They are also required to transcribe dictation, prepare reports, take patients’ medical histories, process insurance transactions, and arrange for patients to be hospitalized.

School secretaries schedule appointments, receive visitors, and keep track of students’ records. Additionally, they are responsible for handling communications with parents, students, teachers, school administrators, and the community.       

Administrative Assistant Training

In order to develop the required skills set needed for employment as an administrative assistant, it is important that you first receive the proper training. Specialized instruction in office procedures, business communication, and computer applications is also paramount.

Students in the accredited administrative assistant program at SCI will study the following:

  • Keyboarding I & II
  • Accounting Foundations
  • Business Communication
  • Word Processing
  • Application Presentation and Sharing
  • Spreadsheets
  • Office Procedures I & II
  • Executive Assisting
  • Integrated Applications
  • Communication
  • Customer Service
  • Administrative Assistant Externship
  • Career Readiness  

It is also important to note that a full-time student can complete the program in and be ready for entry-level work in as little as 27 weeks.

Administrative Assistant Certifications

An administrative assistant can become certified through the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP). A Certified Administrative Professional (CAP) credential and an Organizational Management (OM) specialty certification are offered. In order to obtain these certifications, an individual must have experience and pass a written examination.

Basically, the CAP exam is a 300 to 350 question multiple-choice test that covers office technology, administration, and management.  Additionally, the OM test measures analytic, creative, and critical responses to a variety of scenarios.

SCI-trained administrative assistants are also eligible for certification in the following Microsoft applications:

  • Excel
  • Outlook
  • Word
  • PowerPoint

In addition to your business administration skills, certifications can help you earn more and qualify for promotions. 

Acquiring the Skills You Need

To begin acquiring the skills you need for a rewarding career as an administrative assistant, contact Southern Careers Institute. Classes are offered online and at the Brownsville, Harlingen, San Antonio-South, and Pharr campuses. Our professional and knowledgeable admissions team is standing by to help you with enrollment, course scheduling, and financing options.

We offer graduates access to career services. There you will receive assistance with resume building, interviewing techniques, and career readiness. We also partner with local businesses to match their needs to our students’ skills. Just like your own family, the SCI family is here for you. 

Get the fresh start you deserve and train for a new career path! Get started today!


  • https://www.bls.gov/ooh/office-and-administrative-support/secretaries-and-administrative-assistants.htm#tab-2
  • https://www.iaap-hq.org/? 

Blog Disclaimer: Information stated in this blog is for general information purposes only. SCITexas.edu does not assume or guarantee income earning potential or salary expectations based on the programs offered at Southern Careers Institute. Career and program information stated in this blog does not guarantee that programs and specifics are offered at Southern Careers Institute.

This article was published on: 04/1/20 11:30 PM

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