Becoming an Administrative Assistant: Education Options

July 28th, 2014


In part three of ABR’s five part series on How to Become an Administrative Assistant, we examine education options and the job duties commonly associated with these degree types. 

Now that you know an administrative assistant position is right for your, what education and skills do you need to succeed in the field? According to the article, Decide If Becoming an Administrative Assistant Is Right for You there are several ways to go about getting your education and the necessary skills needed to be a great administrative assistant.

First you will need a high school diploma or equivalent. This will ensure you have the basic grammar, reading, and typing skills to qualify for a legal secretary position. Furthermore, if you want to pursue more education towards becoming an administrative assistant, a high school diploma is a prerequisite. If you’ve already made it through high school, you should consider higher education. From here, you can take several different tracks.

You can either pursue a vocational or technical school, two or four year community college, or a four-year undergraduate program. With most admin programs, you can take classes online or on campus.

Vocational/Technical School

The most basic way to further your education and hone your skills is with a few courses at a vocational or technical school. The training program will usually include:

  • Letter writing
  • Business communications
  • Introduction to Information Technology
  • Data entry
  • Transcription
  • Professional Standards
  • Office Management

The length of each program varies, but usually ranges from two months to 12 months of classes and hands-on training. With this type of program, you would earn an Administrative Assistant Diploma or certificate.

Two-Year Community College Program

By taking another year to earn your degree, you’ll gain more knowledge and skills to apply to your work. This will make your job easier and your resume more impressive. In addition, you’ll be in higher demand by employers, open more potential for job growth, and earn more money.

Typically in a two-year program to become an administrative assistant, you pursue an Associate’s Degree in Administrative Assistant and Secretarial Science or an Associate’s Degree in Office Skills. Courses are similar to the ones at a technical school, but are more in-depth and include additional applicable classes. Examples include:

  • Principles of Business Law
  • Office Machines Operation
  • Public Relations
  • Secretarial Accounting
  • Report Preparation
  • Records Management

Bachelor’s Degree

If you truly want to be a stellar applicant and earn more money, consider pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree. More than ever, employers are demanding undergraduate degrees from potential administrative assistants. Those with a specialized education are easier to train, produce better work, have spent more time working in teams, have fine-tuned their communication skills, and are more apt to be promoted and hired at a higher salary.

Bachelor’s of Administrative Assistant and Secretarial Science or Office Skills are two of the more popular paths to follow because, like the one- and two-year programs, they focus on office assistance. These programs, however, offer an array of classes that can be applied to a wider range of workplace duties. You can also pursue applicable degrees like Economics or Business Administration. Furthermore, you can specialize in specific areas such as information technology, human resources, finance, etc. Some of the coursework includes:

  • Presentation Skills
  • Professional Standards and Ethics
  • Policy and Regulation
  • Marketing
  • Billing
  • Project Management

By getting familiar with these important topics, you become a world-class administrative assistant. Your résumé will stand out and you will be comfortable with the responsibilities of the job. A degree will also serve as a platform to advance to other arenas like Office Manager, Human Resources, Marketing, or Finance.

Getting Certified

In addition to earning your degree, there’s a parallel path many admins take — certification. Certification is optional for administrative assistants, but many choose to pursue it for a better chance at employment or advancement. For more on the value of certification, read our article about certification benefits for admins. To qualify for a certificate, an Administrative Assistant with a bachelor’s degree needs two years administrative experience, an applicant with an associate degree needs three, and an applicant with no college degree needs four. Certification is available through the International Association of Administrative Professionals.

Are you ready to begin your career as an administrative professional? Start your career with ABR Employment Services. Browse our open administrative opportunities and apply online today.

Affordable Care Act Update

July 21st, 2014


It may seem like the Affordable Care Act keeps changing with new rules and mandates to follow. However, there are several key updates that affect the staffing industry.

In an article on The Staffing Stream’s website: Affordable Care Act Updates and the Law’s Impact on Staffing, there will be several impacts to the staffing industry:

  1. More delays for the employer mandate. The employer mandate was supposed to require employers with 50 or more full-time employees to provide coverage to those employees starting January 1, 2015. However, based on the “final” employer mandate regulations released in February, employers with 50-99 employees can delay compliance until 2016. To qualify for this delay, they must certify that they have not dropped their workforces below 100 full-time employees to put off compliance.
  2. Reporting requirements simplified. Minimum Essential Coverage (MEC, or Section 6055) and Applicable Large Employer (ALE, or Section 6056) reporting have been combined onto one form so self-insured employers don’t have to duplicate information. Information required of employers in Section 6056 has also been simplified.
  3. Relief for companies that DO have to provide insurance in 2015.Those with 100 or more employees will only need to offer healthcare insurance to 70 percent of their workforce in 2015.  In 2016, they will have to offer 95 percent of their employees as originally written in the proposed rules. Also, the penalty for not offering coverage will be $2,000 per employee minus the first 80 employees if even one employee gets a federal premium credit to purchase insurance through The Marketplace. Only 30 employees will be excluded from the calculation starting in 2016, as the proposed regulations had required.
  4.  Non-compliant plans can continue to be renewed under a new extension.  Millions of Americans received cancellation notices from their insurance carriers last year because their plans did not meet the ACA’s minimum essential coverage requirements. President Obama announced in November that health insurance issuers could renew the non-compliant policies through 2014 under a transition relief policy.  That policy has now been extended through Oct. 1, 2016.

As an added benefit to our clients, ABR will be responsible for distribution of all required ACA materials to our Talent.  More updates will follow as regulations become finalized. To stay up to date on all of the changes on the Affordable Care Act, please visit

How To Tell If An Administrative Career Is Right For You

July 15th, 2014


This is part two of a five part series on How to Become an Administrative Assistant.

Now that you know more about the administrative assistant field, could this be the perfect job for you?

Being an administrative assistant takes a very special person that is dedicated and loves what they do. Administrative assistants must be organized, tactful and willingness to learn.  According to the article, Decide If Becoming an Administrative Assistant Is Right for You on Admin Secrets’ website there are a series of questions you can ask yourself to see if an administrative assistant position is for you:

Do you like the environment of a business office? Big or small ?

Do you like greeting and helping people? In person and over the phone?

Do you like organizing and filing?

Can you keep close track of confidential information?

Are you comfortable with English grammar, punctuation and usage?

Are you willing to learn technical and office terminology?

Can you multitask with great accuracy and attention to detail?

Does working with a team and supporting many people excite you?

If you answered “Yes” to most of these questions, then becoming an administrative assistant might be the career for you!

To learn more about not only administrative assistant positions, but also all of the other careers that fit your interests, check out ABR JobConnect.  ABR JobConnect has free resources that can help you choose a career based upon not only your interests, but also your work values. Use our Assess page to find careers that best utilize your skills in order to find the perfect career for you!



ABR Brookfield To Hold Open House, Ribbon Cutting

July 14th, 2014


ABR Employment Services  is hosting a ribbon cutting and open house at our office located at

500 Elm Grove Road, Suite 107, Elm Grove, WI on August 12th from 3:30 pm to 5:00 pm.

Deidre Garrett, Branch Manager, cordially invites area business leaders, community leaders and professionals to attend the ribbon cutting, meet her and her staff,  and network with industry peers. Light hors d’ oeuvres’ will be served and raffle drawings will be held during the event.

“ABR is dedicated to becoming an integral part of the greater Brookfield community and connecting great local companies with skilled Work ready Talent.” said Jim McNett, CEO of ABR Employment Services. “We are establishing a presence in the area to offer award winning services to area companies in need of supplemental or permanent office, call center, light industrial and skilled industrial talent.”

Providing our clients with superior service and high caliber employees is ABR’s  number one goal. Of the 6,672 placements made last year, less than 2% of ABR Talent did not meet our client expectations.

If you have any questions about the event or to register, please contact ABR Brookfield at 262-787-1730 or via email at


I Am Excited To Start My New Job; Thank You!

July 10th, 2014


ABR regularly receives testimonials and letters of thanks from our Talent. We recently received the following from Samantha Roets:

I had been searching for a new position for almost a year with little progress. After noticing multiple job postings by ABR, I decided to submit my resume. I wasn’t sure what to expect. Then I got a call from the local ABR office.

From the onset, every member of the ABR staff I spoke with was friendly and helpful. During my initial interview, I received tips and suggestions to help me stand out from other applicants. Then I was referred to an ABR Representative who was helping a client fill an accounting/inventory clerk position. She is not only enthusiastic but also a great listener. When I said I wanted to find a company I could “call home,” she knew just the place. My resume was sent to the client. The next day, she called me to set up an interview.

After my interview with the client, my ABR Representative made sure to keep in touch with me and kept me posted. Her thoughtfulness and open communication, more than anything,  impressed me most. All too often, I had gone on interviews, only to never hear from the company again. In many ways, being left in the dark is worse than being rejected. However, with ABR, I never had to worry about unreturned phone calls and emails. Good news or bad, she would let me know. As it happened, the news was fantastic. When the client extended the job offer, she let me know immediately.

I am excited to start my new job, and words cannot express my gratitude for everything ABR has done to help me reach this point. Thank you!


Samantha Roets

My Experience With ABR Has Been Fantastic

July 10th, 2014



ABR regularly receives testimonials and letters of thanks from our Talent. We recently received the following from Jacob McAllister:

My experience with ABR has been fantastic. This is my first time working with a temporary staffing agency and it has been a very positive experience. And that was how I first got involved with ABR as opposed to the other agency in town. I had heard a lot of good things about ABR from other people. The thing that I really appreciated from the company was the courtesy of the people in the office – that’s probably what makes or breaks any company. They treated me as an individual person and cared about me as such, giving any of their time if needed without hesitation. Very friendly and easy to work with. I had an amazing job opportunity through ABR with a phenomenal company and it has been nothing but an absolute pleasure to be a part of it. Thanks so much for the opportunity!

– Jacob McAllister

I Thank You From The Bottom Of My Heart

July 10th, 2014


ABR regularly receives testimonials and letters of thanks from our Talent. We recently received the following from Colleen Kavanaugh:

This is just a quick note to thank you for finding me temporary jobs that suit my job skills and my personality.

It is a pleasure to know in advance that the employer has been vetted, and that if I am sent to a job, it’s a good match.  One or two job matches might simply be luck, but you have consistently and repeatedly found me suitable jobs, with good pay and good job conditions.

Temporary work is not always easy to find or amenable, but you have the knack of suiting the job to the candidate and vice versa. Working with ABR, I know in advance that I can trust your judgment and your selection.  I am grateful that ABR has the wit and wisdom to have you working for it.  I thank you from the bottom of my heart for the benefits that I have received because of it.

– Colleen Kavanaugh

On-Site Staffing Services from ABR Employment Services

July 9th, 2014


Researching the Field: Is An Administrative Career For Me?

July 7th, 2014

Office worker


This is part one of series on How to Become an Administrative Assistant.

Thinking of breaking into or making the transition into office work? How do you know if an administrative assistant or clerical position is right for you?

Start by looking at projected job growth, job duties, salary and education:

Job Growth:

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that by 2022 employment for administrative assistants will grow by 15.7 percent. While there were more than 2 million administrative assistants in 2012, the BLS reports an additional 308,000 positions will need to be filled in the next decade.

With the amount of administrative assistant positions growing in the U.S., administrative assistants must be in high demand. So what are they doing that makes them vital to companies and organizations?


Administrative assistants perform routine clerical and administrative duties such as organizing files, drafting messages, scheduling appointments, and supporting other staff.

According to the U.S. News article, Best Business Jobs: Administrative Assistant, administrative assistants wear many hats and perform several important duties that allow the entire office to perform at its best.

In addition to performing clerical and administrative duties, administrative assistants are a valuable asset to companies and businesses for several reasons according to Admin Secrets website ranging from managing office technology, meeting preparation, professional and behavioral image to project coordination and time management.


Median annual wages for secretaries and administrative assistants in May 2012 were as follows:

  • $47,500 for executive secretaries and executive administrative assistants
  • $42,170 for legal secretaries
  • $31,350 for medical secretaries
  • $32,410 for secretaries, except legal, medical, and executive


College degrees aren’t necessarily required, but many employers consider assistants with college degrees, and certifications can be a plus. The number of certifications, programs, webinars, seminars and professional organizations for administrative assistants has grown just as the job itself has adapted over time. Gaining “real world experience” is also a crucial part of training for this position.

Next week, we’ll outline the type of skills needed to become an administrative assistant.

Did you know ABR places office and clerical staff at client companies in need of office support? Search for office and clerical jobs by branch location and apply online.