Executive Assistant Job Description, Salary Info and Career Options
Learn about the education and preparation needed to become an executive assistant. Get a quick view of the requirements and details about training, job duties and salary expectations to find out if this is the career for you.
Executive assistants are advanced administrative professionals who work with top-level executives in various industries. Their job duties can include organizing meetings, arranging travel, and training staff members. Employers often look for executive assistants with experience and education in their specific industry as well as strong communication, organizational and computer skills. The ability to work a varied schedule is also a plus.
Executive assistants provide administrative support for presidents, CEOs, chairpersons and other company executives. Executive assistants may answer phones, file and manage paperwork, mail letters, and purchase office supplies; however, their duties go far beyond these administrative tasks. They often coordinate meetings, prepare reports and other confidential materials, arrange travel, manage expenses and train other support staff. Executive assistants may be authorized to make business office decisions in the occurrence that executives are unavailable.
According to executive assistant job listings on Careerbuilder.com, employers prefer applicants with bachelor's degrees and three or more years of administrative experience specific to the business's industry. Organizational, computer, and interpersonal skills are also necessary for this profession. Executive assistants must maintain a professional demeanor in all situations and be able to withhold confidential information. They may also be required to work nights and weekends.
In May 2015, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that executive assistants earned, on average, $55,460 per year. Specific wages varied by industry. Most assistants worked in colleges and other post-secondary schools, earning on average $52,580 per year; however, the highest-paying positions were in beer, wine, and liquor stores, which offered a mean annual wage of $74,020, according to the BLS.
According to the BLS, secretaries and administrative assistants made up one of the country's largest professions in 2015, filling approximately 4 million jobs. They're needed in all types of businesses in a variety of industries, including colleges, retail and manufacturing businesses, trade firms, and construction companies. The BLS projects an increase of 3% in employment for executive assistants from 2014-2024.
An executive assistant helps top executives in a company by handling a variety of administrative duties that keep the office running smoothly.