Administrative Professionals Day – April 22, 2020

Wed Apr 22

On April 22, we get to celebrate National Administrative Professionals Day! This holiday is always celebrated on the Wednesday of the last full week of April. Although it’s not observed as a public holiday this day is still important and there’s so much to celebrate. This holiday even got its own episode on “The Office.”

History of Administrative Professionals Day

During World War ll there was a shortage of people with the skills of an administrative professional. This was due to the birth-rate decline from the Depression-era and booming post-war business. In 1942, the National Secretaries Association formed in order to recognize the contributions of administrative personnel to the economy, support their development, and attract workers to the field. During their first year as an association, they created National Administrative Professionals Day. Key figures in the day’s creation include the association’s president, Marry Barrett; president of Dictaphone Corporation, C. King Woodbridge; and public relations account executives at Young & Rubicam, Harry F. Klemfuss and Daren Ball.

The designated moment of celebration was first dictated by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce Charles W. Sawyer as “National Secretaries Week,” held from June 1 through June 7. In 1955, Secretaries Week was moved to the last full week of April, with Wednesday marked as Administrative Professionals Day. In 1981, the name was changed to Professional Secretaries Week, but in the year 2000 it became Administrative Professionals Week in order to include the wide-range of responsibilities and job titles of administrative staff in the modern economy. The day has undergone many name changes but the initial goal to celebrate and recognize all the hard work administrative professionals do.

Different Administrative Professionals Jobs

The job title “administrative professional” is actually more of an umbrella term for multiple other jobs that fall under the category. In fact, with close to a hundred jobs landing under the title of administrative professional, it’s possible that a person specializing under one of these fields doesn’t even realize they’re considered administration. The International Association of Administrative Professionals defines the career path as individuals who are responsible for administrative tasks and coordinate information in order to support an office environment, and are dedicated to furthering their growth in their chosen profession. Administration includes a wide variety of duties including office management, answering the phone, clerical work, speaking with clients, data entry, and record maintenance.

Below is a list of just seven different job titles falling under the category of Administrative Professional:


Administrative Assistant – From answering phones to various clerical duties, the responsibilities of an administrative assistant is to essentially keep an office running. Some assistants might be more specialized than others, specifically if they work in a niche field such as the legal industry, the medical industry, or education. A legal administrative assistant might need thorough understanding of legal terminology and procedures and medical assistants may need to be extremely well versed in medical jargon when reading reports and informed when dealing with insurance companies. In these cases, it’s best for the administrative assistant to have an education related to the field, as they need to have an understanding of the different work and clients they will be logging and speaking to.

General job duties of an administrative assistant includes bookkeeping, planning and scheduling, and documentation. Assistants are usually put in charge of monitoring expenditures, meaning they need to be familiar with creating spreadsheets in an office bookkeeping software. Administrative assistants are often left in charge of planning events from board meetings to luncheons. This means they need to be ready to research vendor prices and feel comfortable inquiring participants about their availability. 

Human Resources Administrator – A Human Resource Administrator (commonly known as HR) manages the people in a company and helps their business gain competitive advantage. People who carry this job title work to maximize employee performance and are primarily concerned with keeping up primary policies. The overall goal of HR is to ensure the success of a business through its employees. They specialize in finding, recruiting, training, and developing employees as well as maintaining benefits. Within startups and small businesses, trained professionals will usually perform HR duties, while in a larger company, there is usually a group of people dedicated to the career path who specialize in various HR tasks and engage in decision-making processes throughout the entire business. HR began to take shape as a career path in 18 century Europe, built on an idea by Robert Owen and Charles Babbage during the industrial revolution. The two realized how crucial individual workers were to the success of a business, emphasizing that the well-being of employees led to perfect work. Human Resources became a specific career path in the early 20th century, influenced by Frederick Winslow Taylor’s “scientific management”, or Taylorism, working to improve the economic efficiency in manufacturing jobs. 


Secretary – Some companies will use the titles “administrative assistant” and “secretary” interchangeably, but the majority of places regard the two as completely different jobs, with administrative assistants having a higher degree of responsibility. The duties of a secretary encompasses supporting management and executives, through the utilization of project management, communication, and organizational skills. The secretary has similar functions to the administrative assistant in the since that they also help to manage budgets, bookkeep, answer phone calls, and prepare expense reports.


Bill and Account Collectors – Bill and account collectors specifically manage and maintain the finances of a company. They receive payments, record financial information, arrange payment for overdue bills and help debtors locate solutions for paying their overdue bills. They generally contact debtors by phone, but sometimes they’ll do it by mail. The main job of the collector is not to terrify a debtor into paying, but to find the best solution possible that is both acceptable and realistic for the debtor while also maximizing payment to the creditor. Most bill and account collectors work in a third-party collection agency instead of in-house. However, big creditors such as credit card companies or health care providers will often have their own personal in-house collectors working round the clock with their large list of debtors. 


Office Manager – Office management involves the implementation, maintenance, evaluation, and design of the process of work within an office in order to sustain and improve efficiency and productivity. It’s part of the overall administration of business and total management function as its elements include forecasting and planning, command, control and coordination, and organizing. This profession requires the technique of planning, organizing, coordinating and controlling office activities with a full and thorough view to achieve business objectives concerned with effective and efficient performance of the office space. The success of a business depends heavily on the efficiency of its office. An office manager is responsible for monitoring and reviewing systems that are usually focused on specific outcomes such as improving timescales, turnover, output, sales, and more. They may even supervise or manage a team of administrators, distributing roles, training and recruiting, and dispensing assignments and projects. 

Receptionist – Receptionists are often the very first point of contact for clients and customers. They answer phones, greet customers, and answer common questions about the organization. Their work is usually performed within the waiting area of a business, such as the lobby or front desk of an organization. The duties of a receptionist includes answering visitors’ enquiries about a company and its products, directing visitors to their destinations, sorting and handing out mail, filing, setting appointments, data entry, and performing various other office tasks. In some offices, receptionists even serve tea and coffee to guests and keep the lobby tidy. Sometimes receptionists even assume the role of a security guard by verifying employee identification, issuing visitor passes, and observing and reporting unusual or suspicious activities. 


Administrative Director  – An administrative director oversees the administrative operations within a business. The specific tasks carried out by an administrative director vary from business to business, but in a general sense, administrative directors tend to provide supervision and leadership for administrative departments such as finance, HR, and materials management.

Since administrative directors provide leadership for a large variety of administrative departments, they need to have a wide-range of knowledge about the ways these departments work and interact with each other. These professionals develop company-wide policies and initiatives, control the flow of staff and funding into each administrative department, serving as the ultimate authority for the collective administrative workforce. They serve as the point person for communication with building landlords, vendors, and other contract partners, as well as provide guidance on operating methods. They’re responsible for administrative departments’ budgets and hiring.

How to become an Administrative Professional

Depending on the specific field an administrative professional might work in, their education and skill level might differ. While some offices might only require a minimum of a GED, a more niche field might want a degree relating to the department, guaranteeing that their administrative personnel is familiar with specific jargon, practices, and situational expectations. 

Legal – An administrative professional operating within the legal field is expected to have an understanding of law practices. Therefore it’s a basic requirement for legal administrative professionals to have a certificate or associates degree in criminal justice, law, or paralegal studies.

Medical – People working to become a healthcare administrator, manager, or executive need to meet a few basic education requirement first. Healthcare administrators need at least a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science in healthcare administration, where they learn about topics such as health care finance and ethics, public health, quality management, and healthcare marketing. However, many employers prefer their healthcare administrators to have a Master of Science in Healthcare Administration or a Master of Healthcare Administration. 

Education – Working as a school administrator is a stressful, busy, and highly rewarding career path. An administrator working in education might work at a primary, secondary, or post-secondary school which might be either private or public. Primary and secondary school administrators must complete a certification program in order to be certified as an educational administrator in their respective states. It is also expected in most schools that people will complete a master’s degree program to become an administrator while teaching. Essentially, the usual requirements include a degree and teacher preparation program, state teaching license, at least two years teaching experience, a master’s degree in education administration, and a state administrator’s license.

Administrative Professionals Day vs National Receptionists Day

So what’s the difference between Administrative Professionals Day on April 22 and National Receptionists Day on May 13? Well, it’s the difference between bread and sourdough, music and alternative rock – all receptionists are administrative professionals, but not all administrative professionals are receptionists. Get it? Administrative Professionals Day encompasses different jobs from secretaries to HR, special events coordinators to bill collectors, support analysts to receptionists.

On administrative professionals day, we celebrate everyone from data entry to administrative directors. Administrative workers at all levels are recognized for their hard work behind – and directly in front of – the scenes, making sure things run smoothly throughout the entire company and supporting their staff in any way they can. 

On National Receptionists Day, we specifically celebrate the people making the first contact with clients and customers, acting as the face associated with their companies. They keep clients and customers satisfied and calm no matter the chaos happening behind the scenes, and often take the blame for circumstances out of their control. They’re hard workers whose tough job is often overlooked, which is why these administrative professionals have a whole day to themselves. 

Administrative Professionals Day timeline

1952
The Name Changes

The Name changes from National Secretaries Day to National Administrative Professionals Day.

1950
A Week Goes to a Day

The National Secretaries Association’s president teamed up with some of its members to create a holiday to honor Administrative Professionals that lasts a whole week.

1942
National Administrative Professionals Week is Formed

The National Secretaries Association’s president teamed up with some of its members to create a holiday to honor Administrative Professionals that lasts a whole week.

1942
Apart of the club

The National Secretaries Association was founded in order to gain more traction in the specific career path.

Administrative Professionals Day Traditions

Sure there aren’t any national traditions for Administrative Professionals Day, but that doesn’t mean we can’t start up our own traditions in the office. A small yearly tribute to the people who work hard to keep the company running smoothly is the least we can do to show them that we appreciate them and acknowledge just how lost we would be without them. So, from our brains to yours, here are some traditions we think might be worth setting up in your office.

Sticky Note Greeting
This one’s guaranteed to put a smile on their faces bright and early. Have everyone in the office write words of encouragement and thanks on a sticky note, and leave them all over the desk of your administrative workers for them to find in the morning. Seeing that their coworkers recognize all the hard work they put into their job on a daily basis. Sometimes, it can feel like administration is a thankless job, but knowing your coworkers see and appreciate you makes it all worth it.

Free (good) coffee
We all need coffee to break through the morning daze and jump into the hard at work mindset. One this day, everyone should get to work a but early to surprise their administrative coworkers with a cup of joe coming from the coffee shop and not from the break room machine that everyone tolerates at best. A cup of the good stuff to let them know that they, too, are good stuff.

Special happy hour
There’s no better way to spend time with your coworkers and express appreciation than buying them a few drinks and laughing with each other about tales of the office. Tell your administrative team to leave their wallets in their pockets, because tonight is about them and they don’t have to pay for a thing. As long as they don’t order the most expensive thing on the menu, then they’re on their own.

Administrative Professionals Day FAQs

Is this the same as Secretaries Day? 

It has the same fundamentals, appreciating the people you work with and the hard work they do that can sometimes go unnoticed.

Should I become an Administrative Professional?

It’s a great profession that offers a nice salary and a lot of benefits. There’s a constant need for them around the office and pursuing that career is a great idea.

What day is National Administrative Professionals Day?

National Administrative Professionals Day is celebrated on the Wednesday of the last full week of April, making it April 22 this year.

Administrative Professionals Day Activities

  1. Take Them Out to Lunch

    Spend some time getting to know your administrative crew. Make sure their work doesn’t go unnoticed.

  2. Give Them a Gift

    Show them you appreciate all that they do — because administration really does a whole lot more than what the surface implies.

  3. Appreciate Them

    A simple expression of gratitude and understanding goes a long way. Make sure to verbally thank your administration team and watch their faces light up.

5 Facts You Didn’t Know About National Administrative Professional Day

  1. Some People Think It’s Made Up

    Some people think that this holiday was created by Hallmark to sell cards and gifts.

  2. It Was Stereotyped to be Feminine

    People criticized that because the gifts were highly feminized that the holiday was only for women.

  3. There Was More Criticism

    Some people think that this holiday was meant as an office divide, but it’s meant to unite the office and understand your coworker’s roles and responsibilities.

  4. There are men secretaries

    Being a secretary is often stereotyped as “women’s work,” however there are many male secretaries as well.

  5. More than answering the phone

    Not only do administrative workers answer phones, but their obligations also include general management, speaking with clients, clerical work, and other essential office support.

Why We Love Administrative Professionals Day

  1. They Work Hard

    They do a lot of day to day work that creates a cohesive and functioning office.

  2. They Improve the Work Environment

    Not only do they bring a bright and positive energy into the office, but they help to bring an otherwise chaotic office environment to order.

  3. They Deserve More Recognition

    A lot of the hard work they do goes unnoticed but is completely essential to functional office life.