How Do I Become an Office Assistant?

Office assistants maintain office productivity by assisting office personnel with general clerical tasks. Learn about typical job responsibilities and educational requirements. Schools offering Office Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Does an Office Assistant Do?

An office assistant performs general clerical duties for office personnel. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) groups the job as indistinguishable from administrative assistant, secretary, receptionist or office clerk (www.bls.gov). However, some companies make a subtle distinction and hire office assistants to assist senior administrative staff or to undertake a light clerical load when an experienced administrative assistant may not be necessary.

Your duties as an office assistant may fluctuate with the industry and company. The International Association of Administrative Professionals reports that office assistants do tasks such as filing, copying, faxing, routing phone calls, and sorting and preparing mail (www.iaap-hq.org). You may also type letters and e-mails, run errands, maintain break areas and inventory office supplies. Additional duties may include filling orders, maintaining customer records and inputting data. As you gain more experience, you could coordinate travel for executives, perform basic bookkeeping, create and maintain expense reports, and set appointments and meetings.

What Skills and Education Would I Need?

Most companies simply require a high school diploma, although O*Net Online reports that some do prefer a bachelor's degree (www.onetonline.org). It's important to be able to type, file and have basic computer knowledge. In some offices, you must have your own transportation to run errands. You may also interact with customers and vendors, so you need to dress professionally and have a friendly and patient demeanor.

How Could I Advance?

The BLS notes that the advancement opportunities for an office assistant vary. Some offices will hire you as an assistant and train you for other tasks, such as customer service or sales. Other companies may move you into other administrative titles such as executive assistant, office manager or human resource representative. Some companies may train you for professional positions, provided you acquire more education.

How Do I Apply?

To be an office assistant, you need a resume, and many community colleges and job assistance centers offer resume assistance. After you have a resume, you can apply to newspaper postings or online advertisements for clerical positions. However, many entry-level assistants get their start by registering with a staffing agency or temporary agency.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:

Popular Schools

  • Capella University

    Capella University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Capella University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Grand Canyon University

    Grand Canyon University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Grand Canyon University:

    Online Programs Available

  • Walden University

    Walden University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Walden University:

    Online Programs Available

  • Full Sail University

    Full Sail University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Full Sail University:

    Online and Campus-Based Programs Available:

    View All Locations
    • Anywhere: Online Campus
    • Florida: Winter Park
  • Herzing University

    Herzing University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Herzing University:

    Online Programs Available

  • Northcentral University

    Northcentral University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Northcentral University:

    Online Programs Available

  • Western Governors University

    Western Governors University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Western Governors University:

    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Sanford-Brown

    Sanford-Brown responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Sanford-Brown:

    • Bachelor Degrees

    Campus Locations:

    • Minnesota: Mendota Heights
  • University of Phoenix

    University of Phoenix responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at University of Phoenix:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees
    • Associate Programs
    • Certificates

    Online and Campus-Based Programs Available:

    View All Locations
    • Anywhere: Online Campus
    • Alabama: Birmingham
    • Arkansas: Little Rock, Rogers
    • Arizona: Tempe, Tucson
    • California: Costa Mesa, Fresno, Sacramento, San Diego, San Jose
    • Colorado: Colorado Springs, Lone Tree
    • Columbia (D.C.): Washington
    • Florida: Ft Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Orlando, Temple Terrace
    • Georgia: Augusta, Columbus, Sandy Springs, Savannah
    • Hawaii: Honolulu
    • Iowa: Des Moines
    • Idaho: Meridian
    • Illinois: Schaumburg
    • Indiana: Indianapolis
    • Kentucky: Louisville
    • Louisiana: Baton Rouge, Metairie
    • Massachusetts: Braintree
    • Maryland: Columbia
    • Michigan: Detroit
    • Minnesota: St Louis Park
    • Missouri: Kansas City, Maryland Heights
    • Mississippi: Flowood
    • North Carolina: Charlotte
    • New Jersey: Jersey City
    • New Mexico: Albuquerque
    • Nevada: Las Vegas
    • Ohio: Beachwood
    • Oklahoma: Oklahoma City, Tulsa
    • Oregon: Tigard
    • Pennsylvania: Philadelphia
    • Puerto Rico: Guaynabo
    • South Carolina: Columbia
    • Tennessee: Chattanooga, Cordova, Nashville
    • Texas: Austin, Dallas, Houston, Mission, San Antonio
    • Utah: Salt Lake City
    • Virginia: Arlington, Glen Allen, Virginia Beach
    • Washington: Tukwila
    • Wisconsin: Milwaukee
  • ITT Technical Institute

    ITT Technical Institute responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at ITT Technical Institute:

    • Bachelor Degrees
    • Associate Programs

    Online and Campus-Based Programs Available:

    View All Locations
    • Anywhere: Online Campus
    • Alabama: Bessemer, Madison, Mobile
    • Arkansas: Little Rock
    • Arizona: Phoenix, Tempe, Tucson
    • California: Clovis, Concord, Corona, Culver City, Lathrop, Oakland, Orange, Oxnard, Rancho Cordova, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Dimas, Sylmar, Torrance
    • Colorado: Aurora
    • Florida: Miami, Tallahassee
    • Georgia: Atlanta, Duluth, Kennesaw
    • Iowa: Clive
    • Idaho: Boise
    • Illinois: Oak Brook, Orland Park
    • Indiana: Fort Wayne, Indianapolis, Newburgh, South Bend
    • Kansas: Wichita
    • Kentucky: Lexington, Louisville
    • Louisiana: Baton Rouge, Saint Rose
    • Maryland: Hanover
    • Michigan: Canton, Dearborn, Grand Rapids, Southfield, Swartz Creek, Troy
    • Minnesota: Brooklyn Center, Eden Prairie
    • Missouri: Arnold, Earth City, Kansas City, Springfield
    • Mississippi: Madison
    • North Carolina: Charlotte, Durham
    • Nebraska: Omaha
    • Nevada: Henderson, North Las Vegas
    • Ohio: Akron, Columbus, Dayton, Hilliard, Maumee, Norwood, Strongsville, Warrensville Heights, Youngstown
    • Oklahoma: Oklahoma City
    • Oregon: Portland, Salem
    • Tennessee: Chattanooga, Cordova, Johnson City, Knoxville, Nashville
    • Texas: Arlington, Austin, Desoto, Houston, Richardson, San Antonio, Waco, Webster
    • Utah: Murray
    • Virginia: Chantilly, Norfolk, Richmond, Salem, Springfield
    • Washington: Everett, Seattle, Spokane Valley
    • Wisconsin: Greenfield, Madison
    • West Virginia: Huntington
  • Southern New Hampshire University

    Southern New Hampshire University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Southern New Hampshire University:

    Online Programs Available

  • Baker College Online

    Baker College Online responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Baker College Online:

    Online Programs Available

  • Azusa Pacific University College

    Azusa Pacific University College responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Azusa Pacific University College:

    Online Programs Available

  • Kaplan University

    Kaplan University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Kaplan University:

    Online Programs Available

  • Ashworth College

    Ashworth College responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Ashworth College:

    Online Programs Available