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Average Salary: $35,330

Expected Lifetime Earnings: $1,475,000

Here’s the thing: Entry-level qualifications for an administrative assistant include a high-school diploma and computer skills. Considering that every high school student out there is about as skilled with computers as some Silicon Valley programmers, there are a lot of qualified people out there. This means that entry level salaries will be hovering around the $25,000-30,000 mark (Source).

Fret not, because with the addition of skills, certifications or specializations, the money can jump substantially. In fact, medical and legal Administrative Assistants regularly earn almost twice that–so about $45K a year on average.

But that’s average; you can do better! Those that put in the time and learn the workings of the organization can rise to the ranks of office manager, supervising other Administrative Assistants. Combine this with being the right hand of the boss, and living in a highly urban area, and salaries can leap into the $80K-$100K range (Source).