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I want to be an administrative professional. What will my salary be?

Don't call them secretaries. In this role there are variety of tasks and there's room for mobility

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This is part of Globe Careers' series of stories looking at specific jobs, with their qualifications, descriptions, responsibilities and current salaries.

Job:

Administrative professional

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Salary:

From $34,000 to more than $80,000, depending on the company and your role.

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Education:

Postsecondary, with strong computer and organization skills.

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The role:

Don’t call them secretaries. The people who answer phones, file paperwork and co-ordinate meetings in offices across the country are called administrative professionals, and they have a lot more power than you might think.

“They are the backbone of all organizations,” says Hanna Vineberg, Central Ontario vice-president of Ranstad Canada, a staffing and recruitment firm.

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Challenges:

Being an administrative professional today requires more skills than in the past, when a high school diploma and some typing skills were considered enough to get an administrative position.

Companies are increasingly looking for administrative professionals with a postsecondary degree and, in some cases, experience in human resources and marketing, Ms. Vineberg said.

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Why they do it:

There is decent job security and the role can also lead to other roles within a company or industry.

“It’s a great foot-in-the-door job,” said Ms. Vineberg. While they aren't usually glamorous, administration roles are rarely boring, given the variety of work these professionals are asked to do.

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Job Prospects:

The demand for administrative professionals is also growing. Ranstad Canada saw a 41-per-cent rise in administrative roles in 2012.

What's more, these positions are rarely cut in company downsizing, since administrative roles are often needed in daily operations.

There are also a lot of job opportunities for administrators, given that the role is essential in companies of all sizes, and across all sectors.

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Misconceptions:

“Most people think of it as the typist in the Mad Men series. It’s not that any more,” Ms. Vineberg says.

“The traditional secretarial role no longer exists as it did 15 or 20 years ago. … They are doing some typing and filing; however they are doing thinking, making decisions and managing large agendas.”

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Give us the real scoop:

Are you an administrative professional in Canada?

Write a note in the comments area and tell us what you would tell others who are interested in the profession, or e-mail your comment to careerquestion@globeandmail.com

Want to read more stories from our salaries series? Go to tgam.ca/salaries

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