Administrative Assistants See Stable Job Security in Recession

Even during gloomy job outlooks and rising unemployment, administrative assistants are seeing stable growth in opportunities. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 362,000 new jobs are forecasted to be created between 2006 and 2016. And that’s not counting jobs created when existing employees leave their positions. If you’re looking for job security, an administrative assistant position may be a strong choice.

Jobs for Administrative Assistants: The Lowdown.

It’s tough to think of an industry that doesn’t need administrative assistants. They can be found everywhere, from health care to business to nonprofits. But not all administrative assistants will see the same levels of job growth. In general, in industries that are currently thriving, opportunities for administrative assistants will thrive as well.

Perhaps the fastest-growing subset of administrative assistants includes those who work in health care and social assistance. The health care field as a whole is seeing astounding levels of growth and expansion due to a rapidly aging Baby Boom generation and increases in health facilities to provide for their care. As health care facilities grow and expand and new practices are established, administrative assistants and medical secretaries will be needed to keep medical offices running smoothly.

Executive secretaries are also expected to see an increase in employment opportunities, perhaps because of the business growth projected in the coming decade.

The best job opportunities out there will be for experienced administrative assistants and those with the ability to use critical software applications and office technologies.

Becoming an Administrative Assistant: How to Get Started

Word processing and filing used to make up a large part of an administrative assistant’s job functions. While these basic skills are still needed, the role of administrative assistants has evolved. Today’s employers increasingly look for job applicants who can handle software applications including desktop publishing, spreadsheets and databases, and project management programs.

While applicants with only a high school degree may be able to land some entry-level administrative positions, many employers favor applicants with a two-year or four-year degree. Associate’s and Bachelor’s degrees in administrative assistance can be found online at a variety of schools.

If you’re planning to look for a less specialized job as an administrative assistant, you may be able to land a job after going through a high school or community college vocational program offering training in office management skills. Temp agencies also sometimes offer training in these areas.

While it’s not necessarily required to earn a degree specifically in administrative assistance to start your career in this field, it does set you apart from other applicants. In addition to general degrees in administrative assistance, there are more focused programs available in legal and medical administrative assistance. These programs teach aspiring medical and legal secretaries the specific language and requirements of these highly specialized industries, and employers will likely expect similar training or equivalent experience in the applicants they hire.

If you want to become an executive secretary, you’ll likely need a four-year degree—preferably in the industry where you plan to search for work. These administrative professionals are typically involved in using software and dealing with business operations on a more complex basis.

Certifications are available in the field, and they can also make your resume stand out from the crowd. There are many certifications available through different professional organizations. The most well known include the Certified Professional Secretary (CPS) designation and the Certified Administrative Professional (CAP) credential, both of which can be earned by passing through an educational program and passing a standardized test. Most certification programs require a certain amount of professional experience before testing.

Legal secretaries can get certified as an Accredited Legal Secretary (ALS) or Professional Legal Secretary (PLS) through the National Association of Legal Secretaries (NALS). These certification programs ensure knowledge of legal language and software programs applicable to the job. The Certified Legal Secretary Specialist (CLSS) certification ensures knowledge of legal fields including criminal law, probate, intellectual property, business law, and civil litigation, and candidates must have at least five years of legal experience before being allowed to test.

Administrative assistants are expected to enjoy job security and opportunity growth for years to come. With a Bachelor’s degree, experience and certification in the field, you should be able to land an administrative assistant position in virtually any industry.