What Administrative Job Is Best for You?

Comparing Clerical and Office Support Occupations

Administrative Worker
Administrative workers spend a lot of time at a desk. Cultura/Maskot / The Image Bank / Getty Images

Supporting professionals like doctors, human resources specialists, librarians and lawyers, are people who assist them in their work by performing clerical duties. Those who hold these administrative jobs keep their workplaces organized, do research, file and help maintain schedules.

Educational requirements and training vary for these careers. You need only a high school or equivalency diploma and perhaps some on-the-job training to work in a few of these occupations.

Others require post-secondary education, including a certificate, associate degree or bachelor's degree.

Human Resources Assistant

Human resources assistants keep track of salaries, benefits, address changes and changes to job titles as well as any other information contained within an organizations' personnel records.

While you can get a job with only a high school or equivalency diploma some employers will only hire job candidates who have an associate or bachelor's degree.

Human resources assistants earned a median annual salary of $38,100 and median hourly wages of $18.32 in 2015.
Learn More About Becoming a Human Resources Assistant

Library Assistant

Library assistants help librarians and library technicians do their jobs by performing clerical duties in a public, school, college or special library. They check in and check out books, process new material, return books and other items to shelves and collect fines.

Employers will hire you if you have a high school or equivalency diploma. Some will even hire those who haven't graduated. They will provide on-the-job training to new employees.

In 2015, median earnings were $24,480 per year or $11.77 hourly.
Learn More About Becoming a Library Assistant

Medical Assistant

Medical assistants perform administrative and clinical tasks in physicians' offices.

Many are responsible for both, but others only tend to one type of task. 

You can attend a one-year medical assisting program at a community college, vocational or technical school or college to prepare to work in this field. Alternatively, you can earn an associate degree from a community college. 

Medical assistants earned a median annual salary of $30,590 and median hourly wages of $14.71 in 2015.
Learn More About Becoming a Medical Assistant

Medical Secretary

Medical secretaries prepare reports, organize medical records, process insurance claims and schedule appointments in medical offices. They also make arrangements for patients' surgeries and hospitalizations.

In addition to a high school diploma, you will also need specialized training in medical terminology if you want to do this job. Some employers prefer job candidates who have taken courses in office procedures.

In 2015, medical secretaries' median earnings were $33,040 annually and $15.89 per hour.
Learn More About Becoming a Medical Secretary

Medical Transcriptionist

Medical transcriptionists create written documents from doctors' or other medical professionals' dictated recordings. Some work in physicians' offices and have additional clerical duties.

You can prepare to become a medical transcriptionist by completing a one-year certificate program at a vocational school or community college. There are also associate degree programs available.

Medical transcriptionists earned a median annual salary of $34,890 in 2015. They earned median hourly wages of $16.77.
Learn More About Becoming a Medical Transcriptionist

Paralegal

Paralegals assist lawyers by helping them with a variety of tasks including preparing for trials, hearings and closings.  They also do research and draft legal documents.

You can choose from one of several routes if you want to become a paralegal.

You can look for a law firm that will offer on-the-job training. That is the simplest and least expensive way to prepare to work in this occupation. If you want to increase your chances of getting hired, you can get formal training. If you haven't yet earned a college degree, you can get an associate or bachelor's degree from a paralegal studies program. If you have already graduated from college, you can get a certificate in paralegal studies.

Paralegals earned a median annual salary of $48,810 and median hourly wages of $23.47 in 2015.
Learn More About Becoming a Paralegal

Sources:
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/ and
Employment and Training Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, O*NET Online, on the Internet at http://www.onetonline.org/ (visited June 14, 2016).

Explore more Careers By Field or Industry

Comparing Administrative Jobs
 Minimum EducationLicenseMedian Salary (2015)
Human Resources AssistantH.S. Diplomanone$38,100/yr. or $18.32/hr.
Library AssistantH.S. Diplomanone$24,480/yr. or $11.77/hr.
Medical Assistant1-year Medical Assisting Programnone$30,590/yr. or $14.71/hr.
Medical SecretarySpecialized Trainingnone$33,040/yr. or $15.89/hr.
Medical Transcriptionist1-year Certificate Programnone$34,890/yr. or $16.77/hr.
ParalegalOn-the-job training, Bachelor's or Associate Degree, or Paralegal Studies Certificatenone$48,810/yr. or $23.47/hr.

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