Studying to be a secretary or administration assistant

By Anne Sexton - Last update

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The secretary or administrative assistant is the heart of any office. Hardworking administrative staffers are always in demand, and executive assistants are well-paid, valued team members.

A personal assistant (PA) normally works with and for senior management. PAs have varied responsibilities. These include arranging appointments, writing correspondence and reports and also helping the day-to-day flow of business.

In addition, there are a number of specialised administration roles. Legal administrators help with the smooth running of law offices. Medical administrators work in doctors’ offices or hospitals. Specialised administration assistants such as these do not need legal or medical training, although they must understand the jargon. This work can be sensitive. Therefore, specialised administration assistants should be discreet and diligent.

There are new challenges every day. Secretarial work encompasses arranging meetings and conferences, liaising with clients and colleagues. They are also problem-solvers and the go-to person for answers.

Why do it?

If you are an efficient, conscientious person who enjoys being busy, you’ll excel at this work. You should also be a teamplayer, a clear communicator and a people-person.

Secretaries can work in a vast array of industries. This is one reason this work is so attractive to many people. Businesses always need administrative assistants. Consequently, this career is generally recession-proof.

What does it involve?

First of all, you will need to take a secretarial or administrative assistant course. Fortunately, there are many, many different courses. Administrative management courses take around 220 hours of flexible study to complete.

Secondly, all administrative assistants need office computer skills. The Microsoft Office suite is especially relevant to secretaries and administrators. Since Microsoft Office is so important to many businesses, there is a huge array of courses available. Students can learn these skills over six weeks of full-time study, or 152 hours of flexible study. A course like this is ideal for beginners or anyone hoping to start in a junior role.

Finally, administrators who wish to upskill should consider doing an advanced administration courses for office specialists.

At a glance

Secretaries and administrative assistants are vital to businesses and organisations. This work is ideal for efficient team players. Courses range from short programmes teaching computer office skills to more advanced diplomas for office specialists.

Anne Sexton

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