Executive Administrative Assistant: Employment Info & Career Requirements

Apr 21, 2019

Executive administrative assistants can be found in almost every industry across the United States, where they provide office and organizational support for senior-level executives. Continue reading to learn more about the professional responsibilities, education requirements, career outlook and salary potential for executive administrative assistants.

Career Definition of an Executive Administrative Assistant

The job duties of executive administrative assistants can vary according to the company or industry and level of experience. In general, their responsibilities exceed those of general administrative assistants, which usually involve routine bookkeeping, clerical, filing and scheduling tasks. By comparison, executive administrative assistants may conduct research, prepare reports, review paperwork and supervise lower-level staff members. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 44,560 executive administrative assistants and secretaries were employed in colleges and universities in 2018, with others working in the educational, healthcare, professional and government sectors.

Educational Requirements High school diploma typically required; job prospects may be better for those with an office administration associate's degree or certificate
Job Skills Computer literacy, basic office skills, good communication and interpersonal skills, and good sense of discretion
Median Salary (2018)* $59,340 (executive secretaries and administrative assistants)
Job Outlook (2016-2026)* -17% (executive secretaries and administrative assistants)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

Educational requirements for executive administrative assistants can also vary according to the employer and demands of the position. Most employers require a minimum of a high school diploma; candidates with some postsecondary education, such as a certificate or an associate degree in office administration, will fare better. Common courses found in a 1-year or 2-year certificate or associate degree program include training in bookkeeping, business law, keyboarding and records management, as well as the use of computer applications and software. On-the-job training is common; prior experience as a legal or medical secretary may be a plus.

Skills Required

Entry-level administrative assistants should be computer literate and have basic English and office skills. Communication, interpersonal and organizational skills are key; the ability to write accurate and grammatically correct emails and memos is also important. Executive administrative assistants who handle confidential and sensitive information should also have a keen sense of integrity.

Employment and Salary Outlook

The BLS reports that employment opportunities for executive secretaries and administrative assistants were expected to decline by 17% nationwide between 2016 and 2026. The average median wage for executive administrative assistants and secretaries in May 2018 was $59,340.

Alternate Career Options

Other options for those interested in becoming executive administrative assistants include:

Court Reporters

Court reporters are responsible for transcribing legal and trial proceedings, depositions or closed captioning for the hearing impaired, with activities and statements recorded word for word. Entry-level professionals usually complete a certificate or 2-year degree program in court reporting; those applying for legal positions may need professional certification or a state license. According to the BLS, court reporter jobs are expected to increase by 3% nationwide from 2016-2026. Court reporters who were employed in May 2018 earned median yearly wages of $57,150.

Paralegals and Legal Assistants

Paralegals and legal assistants provide licensed attorneys with recordkeeping, research and writing support and may specialize in corporate or litigation work. A 2-year degree in paralegal studies is typically required in order to obtain a position; graduates of a 4-year program in another field of study can qualify with a career certificate. Nationwide, employment prospects for paralegals and legal assistants are projected to increase by 15%, or much faster than average, from 2016-2026. Professionals employed in these positions as of May 2018 earned median annual wages of $50,940.

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