Updated December 2023
Administrative assistants are an integral part of most companies. They assist with day-to-day operations, deal with the public, and support upper-level executives.
Without office assistants, organizations simply wouldn’t run smoothly. So it’s no surprise that office assistant jobs are in demand across Canada. We did a search for "administrative assistant" in the Government of Canada Job Bank and found more than 6,300 listings.
And administrative assistant is just one of many jobs available for people trained in the right office skills.
In this post, we’ll explore four different administrative assistant careers. We’ll break down each role, responsibilities, and the average salary for each position.
At the end of the post, we'll cover training requirements to become an admin assistant and links to learn more. Let's get started.
administrative Assistant career #1: Receptionist
Receptionists are the initial point of contact for an organization. They greet customers and clients, answer phones, schedule appointments, and handle questions and concerns from the public.
This is a customer-facing role, so it’s important to have a friendly and professional attitude.
The responsibilities of a receptionist can vary depending on the industry or establishment in which they work. But there are certain key tasks that are expected across the board.
Typical responsibilities for receptionists:
☑️ Greeting and directing guests
☑️ Receiving and distributing mail
☑️ Coordinating and managing bookings for meeting rooms
☑️ Answering phones and forwarding incoming calls
☑️ Responding to emails
☑️ Taking payments and updating files
☑️ Entering information and updating databases
Median salary for receptionists in Canada: $42,000 (Source: jobbank.gc.ca)
administrative Assistant career #2: Administrative Assistant
Administrative assistants are involved with the daily operations of an office. This includes providing clerical support and maintaining office systems and records.
The role can also involve assisting with human resources, data analysis, filing, accounting, and a wide variety of other administrative duties.
Typical responsibilities for administrative assistants:
☑️ Scheduling meetings and appointments
☑️ Typing documents, reports, memos, and letters
☑️ Preparing presentations
☑️ Answering calls and responding to requests
☑️ Ordering office supplies
☑️ Printing, scanning, filing, and organizing documents
☑️ Recording, transcribing, and distributing meeting minutes
☑️ Coordinating travel and accommodations for supervisors
☑️ Working the reception desk as needed
☑️ Keeping track of important deadlines
Median salary for administrative assistants in Canada: $51,000 (Source: jobbank.gc.ca)
administrative Assistant career #3: Executive Assistant
Executive assistants support senior-level management at a company or organization.
They provide personalized one-to-one assistance to business leaders and represent their employer to clients, associates, and the public.
Experience, confidentiality, reliability, and professionalism are mandatory traits for this role.
Responsibilities for executive assistants include:
☑️ Managing professional calendars and personal schedules
☑️ Responding to requests, phone calls, emails
☑️ Screening visitors
☑️ Preparing reports
☑️ Recording meeting minutes
☑️ Writing and sending correspondence
☑️ Creating and editing presentations
☑️ Maintaining record-keeping and filing systems
☑️ Keeping track of important deadlines and providing reminders
Median salary for executive assistants in Canada: $65,000 (Source: jobbank.gc.ca)
Receptionist and administrative assistant can be entry-level roles. But executive assistant positions usually require several years of experience (which is why the salary is higher).
administrative Assistant career #4: Virtual Assistant
You can think of a virtual assistant as a home-based administrative worker with many of the same tasks as other office assistants—scheduling meetings, answering calls and emails, preparing documents, etc.
The only difference? The job is done remotely.
Virtual assistants are often contracted by startups and companies without the resources, space, or need for a full-time office assistant.
Benefits of a career as a virtual assistant:
☑️ Flexible hours
☑️ The ability to work from home (or anywhere!)
☑️ The ability to work part-time for multiple businesses at once
☑️ Your employer can be anywhere in Canada (not limited to your city)
☑️ A variety of tasks from different clients
Typical responsibilities for virtual office assistants include:
☑️ Organizing incoming mail and responding to email requests
☑️ Providing basic customer service online or by phone
☑️ Booking appointments, transportation, and accommodation for employers
☑️ Updating social media and website content
☑️ Creating and editing documents, reports, presentations
Median earnings for virtual assistants in Canada: $42,000 (Source: PayScale.com)
What kinds of organizations hire admin assistants?
There are job opportunities for administrative assistants in nearly every industry. Any business or organization large enough to need an office will usually hire office assistants.
Typical employers include:
☑️ Government agencies
☑️ Small-to-medium-sized businesses
☑️ Non-profit organizations
☑️ Educational institutions
☑️ Large corporations
☑️ Healthcare companies
What are the training requirements for admin assistants?
Admin assistants are valued for the administrative skills they bring to an organization. These include computers, written communication, organization, customer service, and organization.
A good administrative assistant training program will include hands-on training in all these areas. A typical curriculum includes instruction in:
☑️ Database management
☑️ Written communication
☑️ Microsoft Office applications (Word, Excel, Access, PowerPoint)
☑️ Time management and organization
☑️ Reception duties
☑️ Office procedures
☑️ Customer service
☑️ Professional communication
Upon graduation, you will be qualified for entry-level administrative roles at any office.
With experience, you can pursue higher-level roles, including office administrator and executive assistant jobs.
Herzing College administrative Assistant diploma program
Herzing College’s online administrative assistant program runs for seven months and includes a four-week internship in an office environment.
Courses are taught by instructors with decades of professional business experience and fully prepare students to start successful careers in administrative support.
Have more questions? Your next step is to speak with an admissions advisor. An advisor will explain how to apply, what to expect in class, financial aid options, and more.
Click below to explore the ]program in more detail and chat live with an advisor. We’re here to help!