On April 24, 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.”
When is Administrative Professionals Day 2024?
Administrative Professionals Day is observed annually on the Wednesday of the last full week in April. A strong administration is absolutely essential for maintaining office decorum and seamless day-to-day operations.
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 was 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 — Mary Barrett, the president of Dictaphone Corporation — C. King Woodbridge, and the 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 has remained.
Different Administrative Professionals Jobs
The job title ‘administrative professional’ is actually more of an umbrella term for multiple 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 in one of these fields doesn’t even realize they’re considered administration. The International Association of Administrative Professionals defines administrative professionals as individuals who are responsible for administrative tasks and coordinate information in order to support an office environment, and who 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 responsibility 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 a thorough understanding of legal terminology and procedures, while a medical assistant might need to be extremely well versed in medical jargon when reading reports, and they need to be well informed when dealing with insurance companies. In these cases, it’s best for the administrative assistant to have some training in the specific field, as they need to have an understanding of the different work and clients they will be logging and speaking to.
The general job duties of an administrative assistant include 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 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 asking 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 a 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 18th 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 include 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 sense 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 healthcare 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 the 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 the 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 include answering visitors’ inquiries 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, controlling the flow of staff and funding into each administrative department, and serving as the ultimate authority for the collective administrative workforce. They also function as the go-to 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.
401(k) Administrator – For many employees, participating in a 401(k) is straightforward. But to make things look easy, there’s a lot that goes on under the hood, from day-to-day administration to compliance requirements. That’s where 401(k) administrators come in. Tasked with handling all aspects of plan administration, an administrator may either be an internal member of the company or a third party.
First, some terminology. A 401(k) administrator is tasked with managing an employer’s retirement plan. Given the long list of responsibilities and liability risks, this duty is often outsourced to a third-party administrator (TPA) like LT Trust.
Plan administrators manage a company’s 401(k) plans behind the scenes. From the onset, the administrator is there to help your company structure its offerings. Will you offer both traditional and Roth 401(k) accounts? Who’s eligible to participate? Depending on their level of involvement, an administrator may also advise you on plan design to ensure your 401(k) is both competitive and compliant. This can mean working with your company to design your profit sharing and/or employee matching program as well.
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 require a degree relating to the department, guaranteeing that their administrative personnel is familiar with the 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 associate’s 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 requirements 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 healthcare 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 and busy, yet 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 educational administrators 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, a state teaching license, at least two years of 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 and National Receptionists Day on May 13? Well, it’s the same as the difference between bread and sourdough or 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, and support analysts to receptionists.
On Administrative Professionals Day, we celebrate everyone from data entry personnel 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
The National Secretaries Association is founded in order to gain more traction in this specific career path.
The National Secretaries Association teams up with corporate groups to create a holiday in June to honor administrative professionals that lasts a whole week.
National Secretaries Week is moved to the last full week of April, with Wednesday designated as Administrative Professionals Day.
Professional Secretaries Week is renamed Administrative Professionals Week to include the increasing responsibilities and extensive range of job titles of administrative support staff in the modern economy.
Administrative Professionals Day Traditions
Sure, there aren’t any national traditions for Administrative Professionals Day, but that doesn’t mean we can’t start 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 and see that their co-workers 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 co-workers 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. On this day, everyone should get to work a bit early to surprise their administrative co-workers with a cup of joe from a coffee shop and not from the break-room vending machine that everyone tolerates. Give them 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 co-workers and express your appreciation for them than buying them a few drinks and sharing some banter 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, of course.
Administrative Professionals Day By the Numbers
22 million – the estimated number of administrative professionals working in the U.S.
$20,000 – the average worth of purchasing decisions made by administrative professionals.
42% – the percentage of administrative professionals who have been with their company for more than six years.
85% – the percentage of administrative professionals who are female.
40 – the average age of an administrative professional.
45% – the percentage of administrative professionals who double as human resources.
78% – the percentage of administrative professionals who feel appreciated.
1st – the ranking of Andrea from “The Devil Wears Prada” as the most favorite TV administrative professional.
2nd – the ranking of Pam from “The Office” as the most favorite TV administrative professional.
25% – the percentage of administrative professionals who prefer the title Executive Assistant.
Administrative Professionals Day FAQs
When did Secretary Day change to Administrative Professionals Day?
In 1955, the National Secretaries Association changed the dates of the holiday to the current celebration during the last full week of April. It has the same fundamentals, appreciating the people you work with and the hard work they do that can sometimes go unnoticed.
What is considered an administrative professional?
The International Association of Administrative Professionals defines administrative professionals as individuals who are responsible for administrative tasks and coordination of information in support of an office-related environment and who are dedicated to furthering their personal and professional growth in their chosen profession. 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 every year.
How To Celebrate Administrative Professionals Day 2021
Take them out to lunch
Spend some time getting to know your administrative crew. Make sure their work doesn’t go unnoticed.
Give them a gift
Show them you appreciate all that they do — because administration really does a whole lot more than what can be seen on the surface.
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 Professionals Day
Some people think it’s made up
Some people think that this holiday was created by Hallmark to sell cards and gifts.
It was stereotyped to be feminine
People complained that, because the gifts were highly feminized, the holiday was only for women.
There was more criticism
Some people think that this holiday aimed to create an office divide, but it’s meant to unite the office and understand your coworkers' roles and responsibilities.
There are men secretaries
Being a secretary is often stereotyped as “women’s work,” however there are many male secretaries as well.
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
They work hard
They do a lot of day-to-day admin that creates a cohesive and functioning office.
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.
They deserve more recognition
A lot of the hard work they do goes unnoticed but is completely essential to functional office life.
Administrative Professionals Day dates