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Career and Education Opportunities for Administrative Assistants in Columbia, South Carolina

There are many career and education opportunities for administrative assistants in the Columbia, South Carolina area. There are currently 14,130 working administrative assistants in South Carolina; this should grow 15% to 16,310 working administrative assistants in the state by 2016. This is better than the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for administrative assistants are expected to grow by about 12.8%. In general, administrative assistants provide high-level administrative support by conducting research, preparing statistical reports, handling information requests, and performing clerical functions such as preparing correspondence, receiving visitors, arranging conference calls, and scheduling meetings.

A person working as an administrative assistant can expect to earn about $17 per hour or $36,880 yearly on average in South Carolina and about $19 hourly or $40,030 yearly on average in the U.S. as a whole. Administrative assistants earn more than people working in the category of Secretarial generally in South Carolina and more than people in the Secretarial category nationally.

There are twenty schools of higher education in the Columbia area, including three within twenty-five miles of Columbia where you can get a degree to start your career as an administrative assistant. The most common level of education for administrative assistants is some college courses. You can expect to spend a short time studying to be an administrative assistant if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Administrative Assistant

Administrative Assistant video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, administrative assistants provide high-level administrative support by conducting research, preparing statistical reports, handling information requests, and performing clerical functions such as preparing correspondence, receiving visitors, arranging conference calls, and scheduling meetings. They also may also train and supervise lower-level clerical staff.

Administrative assistants file and retrieve corporate documents and reports. They also ready invoices, reports, memos, letters, financial statements and other documents, using word processing or presentation software. Equally important, administrative assistants have to open and distribute incoming correspondence, including faxes and email. They are often called upon to perform general office duties, such as ordering supplies, maintaining archives management database systems, and performing basic bookkeeping work. They are expected to answer phone calls and direct calls to appropriate parties or take messages. Finally, administrative assistants read and analyze incoming memos and reports to establish their significance and plan their distribution.

Every day, administrative assistants are expected to be able to see details at a very fine level of focus. They need to read and understand documents and reports. It is also important that they articulate ideas and problems.

It is important for administrative assistants to ready agendas and make arrangements, such as coordinating catering for luncheons and other meetings. They are often called upon to schedule and direct office services, such as archives and housekeeping, to assist executives. They also furnish clerical support to other departments. They are sometimes expected to conduct research and ready papers for consideration and presentation by executives, committees and boards of directors. Somewhat less frequently, administrative assistants are also expected to perform general office duties, such as ordering supplies, maintaining archives management database systems, and performing basic bookkeeping work.

Administrative assistants sometimes are asked to make travel arrangements for executives. and oversee and maintain executives' schedules. And finally, they sometimes have to process payroll data.

Like many other jobs, administrative assistants must have exceptional integrity and be thorough and dependable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Columbia include:

  • Medical Secretary. Perform secretarial duties utilizing specific knowledge of medical terminology and hospital, clinic, or laboratory procedures. Duties include scheduling appointments, billing patients, and compiling and recording medical charts, reports, and correspondence.
  • Municipal Clerk. Draft agendas and bylaws for town or city council; record minutes of council meetings; answer official correspondence; keep fiscal records and accounts; and prepare reports on civic needs.
  • Office Machine Operator. Operate one or more of a variety of office machines, such as photocopying, photographic, and duplicating machines, or other office machines.
  • Procurement Clerk. Compile information and records to draw up purchase orders for procurement of materials and services.
  • Production Proofreader. Read transcript or proof type setup to detect and mark for correction any grammatical, typographical, or compositional errors.
  • Secretary. Perform routine clerical and administrative functions such as drafting correspondence, scheduling appointments, organizing and maintaining paper and electronic files, or providing information to callers.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Administrative Assistant Training

Midlands Technical College - West Columbia, SC

Midlands Technical College, 1260 Lexington Drive, West Columbia, SC 29170-2176. Midlands Technical College is a large college located in West Columbia, South Carolina. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 11,157 students. Midlands Technical College has 2 areas of study related to Administrative Assistant. They are:

  • Medical Administrative/Executive Assistant & Medical Secretary, less than one year which graduated 6 students in 2008.
  • Administrative Assistant and Secretarial Science, less than one year and associate's degree which graduated twelve and twenty-two students respectively in 2008.

Centura College - Columbia, SC

Centura College, 7500 Two Notch Road, Columbia, SC 29223. Centura College is a small college located in Columbia, South Carolina. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs and has 165 students. Centura College has a less than one year program in Administrative Assistant and Secretarial Science which graduated sixteen students in 2008.

Orangeburg Calhoun Technical College - Orangeburg, SC

Orangeburg Calhoun Technical College, 3250 Saint Matthews Rd, Orangeburg, SC 29118-8299. Orangeburg Calhoun Technical College is a small college located in Orangeburg, South Carolina. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 2,605 students. Orangeburg Calhoun Technical College has a less than one year and an associate's degree program in Administrative Assistant and Secretarial Science which graduated sixteen and nine students respectively in 2008.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Columbia, South Carolina

Columbia, South Carolina
Columbia, South Carolina photo by Akhenaton06

Columbia is located in Richland County, South Carolina. It has a population of over 127,029, which has grown by 9.2% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Columbia, 86, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Columbia cost $142,700 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, four hundred thirty-four new homes were built in Columbia, down from seven hundred the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Columbia are educational services, health care, and public administration. For men, it is educational services, public administration, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 18 minutes. More than 35.7% of Columbia residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 14.3%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Columbia is 16.1%, which is greater than South Carolina's average of 12.0%.

The percentage of Columbia residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 41.6%, is less than both the national and state average. Progressive Church, Bishop Memorial African Methodist Episcopal Church and Lutheran Seminary are among the churches located in Columbia. The largest religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the United Methodist Church and the Catholic Church.

Columbia is home to the Booker T Washington Center and the Longstreet Annex as well as Irwin Park and Columbia Historic District II. Shopping centers in the area include Five Points Shopping Center, Market Place Shopping Center and Columbiana Centre Shopping Center. Visitors to Columbia can choose from Marriott Columbia, Hampton Inn Columbia-SE-Fort Jackson and Embassy Suites Hotel for temporary stays in the area.