This series includes positions the duties of which are to perform or supervise clerical, assistant, or technician work for which no other series is appropriate. The work requires a knowledge of the procedures and technique involved in carrying out the work of an organization and involves application of procedures and practices within the framework of established guidelines.
The federal government employs 59,819 in this occupation of which 1,340 work overseas . The Veterans Affairs  is the largest employer with 11,426, followed by the Department of the Army with 10,340 civilians and the Department of Commerce with 9,006. All cabinet level and most large agencies employ this occupation.
Federal Government Requirements:
- You must be a U.S. citizen to apply
- The yearly salary for a GS-06 is $43,964 to $57,158 per year
Typical Duties & Occupational Profile:
Administrative assistants create and maintain filing systems.
Administrative assistants perform routine clerical and administrative duties. They organize files, prepare documents, schedule appointments, and support other staff.
Administrative assistants typically do the following:
- Answer telephones and take messages or transfer calls
- Schedule appointments and update event calendars
- Arrange staff meetings
- Handle incoming and outgoing mail and faxes
- Prepare memos, invoices, or other reports
- Edit documents
- Maintain databases and filing systems, whether electronic or paper
- Perform basic bookkeeping
Administrative assistants perform a variety of clerical and administrative duties that are necessary to run an organization efficiently. They use computer software to create spreadsheets; manage databases; and prepare presentations, reports, and documents. They also may negotiate with vendors, buy supplies, and manage stockrooms or corporate libraries. Secretaries and administrative assistants also use videoconferencing, fax, and other office equipment. Specific job duties vary by experience, job title, and specialty.
Executive administrative assistants provide high-level administrative support for an office and for top executives of an organization. They often handle more complex responsibilities, such as reviewing incoming documents, conducting research, and preparing reports. Some also supervise clerical staff.
Administrative assistants, except legal, medical, and executive is the largest subcategory of administrative assistants. They handle an office’s administrative activities in almost every sector of the economy, including schools, government, and private corporations.
High school graduates can take courses in word processing and office procedures at technical schools or community colleges. Some temporary placement agencies also provide training in word processing, spreadsheet, and database software.
Administrative assistants typically learn their skills through short-term on-the-job training, usually lasting a few weeks. During this time, they learn about administrative procedures, including how to prepare documents. Medical and legal secretaries’ training may last several months as they learn industry-specific terminology and practices.
Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations
Although not required, certification can demonstrate competency to employers.
The International Association of Administrative Professionals  offers the Certified Administrative Professional (CAP) certification. Candidates must have a minimum of 2 to 4 years of administrative work experience, depending on their level of education, and pass an examination.
Integrity. Many secretaries and administrative assistants are trusted to handle sensitive information. For example, medical secretaries collect patient data that is required, by law, to be kept confidential in order to protect patient privacy.
Interpersonal skills. Secretaries and administrative assistants interact with clients, customers, or staff. They should communicate effectively and be courteous when interacting with others to create a positive work environment and client experience.
Organizational skills. Secretaries and administrative assistants keep files, folders, and schedules in proper order so an office can run efficiently.
Writing skills. Secretaries and administrative assistants write memos and emails when communicating with managers, employees, and customers. Therefore, they must have good grammar, ensure accuracy, and maintain a professional tone.
The occupational profile information was excerpted from the Occupational Handbook (OOH) published by the Department of Labor.
Job Announcements (Vacancies)
GS-0303 Administrative Assistant (Excerpted from USA Job Announcement)
- Applying knowledge of the various types of software capabilities and functions to resolve problems and complete standard/nonstandard assignments
- Updating database as necessary to add, remove, revise, or replace equipment information and establish or modify preventive maintenance requirements
- Establishing and maintaining subject matter files for supervisor’s use in preparing recommendations for projects.
- Producing a variety of recurring reports, charts, and statistical data relating to workload, timeliness, and quality control
- Coordinating with a variety of individual inside and outside of the local organization to determine the appropriate person for responding to technical inquiries.
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections Programs)
Overall employment of administrative assistants is projected to grow 3 percent from 2014 to 2024, slower than the average for all occupations.
Employment of administrative assistants is projected to decline 6 percent from 2014 to 2024. This is largely because many executive administrative assistants can support more than one manager in an organization. In addition, many managers now perform work that was previously done by their administrative assistants. For example, they often type their own correspondence or schedule their own travel and meetings.
Many job openings are expected to come from the need to replace administrative assistants who leave the occupation.
Those with a combination of related work experience and experience using computer software applications to perform word processing and create spreadsheets should have the best job prospects.
Helpful Career Planning Tools
- Applying For Federal Jobs  (Introduction)
- Federal Employee Benefits 
- Career Development Guide for Federal Employees 
- Federal Retiree’s Job Center 
- BLS Website 
The information provided may not cover all aspects of unique or special circumstances, federal and postal regulations, and programs are subject to change. Our articles and replies are time sensitive. Over time, various dynamic human resource guidance and factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM, the postal service or any federal entity. You should consult with school counselors, hiring agency personnel offices, and human resource professionals where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages
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