What Administrative Job Is Best for You?

Comparing Clerical and Office Support Occupations

Administrative Worker
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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.

The chart below shows the median salaries for a few entry-level jobs, which is a key component in deciding which career path is right for you.

6 Administrative Jobs to Kickstart Your Career

Below you will be able to compare job descriptions, education requirements, and median salary for clerical and office support occupations in law, medicine, and other professions.

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. 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.

Comparing Administrative Jobs
Minimum Education License Median Salary (2015)
Human Resources Assistant H.S. Diploma none $38,100/yr. or $18.32/hr.
Library Assistant H.S. Diploma none $24,480/yr. or $11.77/hr.
Medical Assistant 1-year Medical Assisting Program none $30,590/yr. or $14.71/hr.
Medical Secretary Specialized Training none $33,040/yr. or $15.89/hr.
Medical Transcriptionist 1-year Certificate Program none $34,890/yr. or $16.77/hr.
Paralegal On-the-job training, Bachelor's or Associate Degree, or Paralegal Studies Certificate none $48,810/yr. or $23.47/hr.


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).

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