Business Assistant: Pros and Cons
Business assistants, sometimes known as administrative assistants or secretaries, help companies succeed by taking care of a number of everyday needs. You can learn various pros and cons to becoming a business assistant by reading below.
|Business Assistant: PROS|
|Various industries to choose from for employment (government agencies, medical facilities, offices, schools, etc.)*|
|Minimal education requirements*|
|Work in a comfortable environment*|
|Schedule will include normal working hours*|
|Business Assistant: CONS|
|Certain industries are expected to see less employment growth for business assistants*|
|Working at desks and computers for long periods of time can cause issues like carpal tunnel and back pain*|
|Some advancement opportunities require additional education*|
|Assistants may need to gain additional knowledge in a specific field, such as business, law or medicine*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Business assistants help with the day-to-day operations of a business. You might be assigned to help a specific individual in your employer's business, or you might work for several people. Generally, you'll handle all incoming and outgoing messages. This includes those sent by e-mail, regular mail and over the phone. You could be asked to type up important information or copy documents that are essential to the business. You'll proofread these documents to make sure that the information is accurate and the spelling is correct. Your employer might assign additional tasks based on the needs of the business that day.
Business assistants (excluding legal, executive and medical) had average hourly earnings of about $16.00, which resulted in a yearly income of $34,000, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in May 2014. The top-paying states for business assistants were reported to be Connecticut, New Jersey, California, Massachusetts and the District of Columbia. If you're an executive business assistant, your average annual salary is about $53,000.
The BLS reported that business assistants might see employment growth of 12% from 2012 to 2022. This is as fast as the average when compared to other vocations. The job outlook might vary from industry to industry, depending on what business you get involved in. However, as business assistants transfer to other jobs or retire, openings will become available to replace them.
Education and Training
A GED or a high school diploma is the bare minimum amount of education you'll want as a business assistant. While you're in high school, you can benefit from taking classes in English, business and computer technology. There are also formal postsecondary educational programs you can benefit from at universities, technical schools and community colleges. These programs generally involve taking business and administrative courses. Some employers assist with on-the-job training for new business assistants to get them familiarized with the office environment.
What Do Employers Want?
Business assistants are expected to have excellent organizational talents. Employers want business assistants who can keep track of schedules and files in order to keep the business running smoothly. Interpersonal skills are also important to employers since business assistants are often interacting with important clients and customers. Finally, since computers are used a great deal in business operations, you'll be expected to have some knowledge of business programs. You can learn more about what it takes to work at a business from job postings below.
- A dental business in California requires a business assistant with a year of experience in insurance work. Applicants will need to answer the phone and schedule appointments. Confidentiality and integrity are also necessary. Applicants must have experience working with insurance and medical billing. Strong customer service skills are required.
- A Pennsylvania company is looking for a business assistant who can develop positive relationships with co-workers and clients.
- CPR certification is required for a business assistant opening with an employer in Texas. Applicants must have two years of work experience, and Spanish speaking skills are a plus.
- A background in medical research is preferred by employers looking for business assistants in Florida. Tasks include setting appointments and completing office tasks. The job requires individuals to work nights and weekends.
How to Stand Out
The Association of Executive and Administrative Professionals (AEAP) offers many member benefits to business assistants that can help them stand out amongst their peers. There is a job search service with the organization that can help you find employment opportunities. You also have the chance to talk with other professionals in your field and learn about the latest trends in business assistance.
Another way you can differentiate yourself from other business assistants is by pursuing a professional certification with the International Association of Administrative Professionals. To qualify for the Certified Administrative Professional designation, you will need a mixture of work experience and education. If you have no degree, then you need four years of experience. If you have an associate's degree, then you only need three years of experience. Finally, if you have a bachelor's degree, you can get by with two years of experience. After you've met all the necessary prerequisites, you have to pass an examination to receive your certification.
Other Career Choices
If you'd rather work in a legal arena, consider becoming a legal assistant. You help lawyers by examining cases and conducting research on laws and legal proceedings. After collecting this information, you'll present it to your employer, who then looks over it and uses it in her or his legal cases. The BLS in May 2011 reported that legal assistants had an average yearly income of around $50,000. From 2010 to 2020, legal assistants were expected to see an employment growth of 18%.
If you want to apply your business assistance skills to a healthcare field, look into being a health information technician. You'll help manage and organize data in electronic systems and paper formats. This is done for medical records and insurance information. In May 2011, the BLS found that health information technicians earned about $36,000 on average annually. Health information technicians could see a 21% growth in employment from 2010 to 2020.