Career Advancement for Executive Assistants

Jan 27, 2020

The skills and work experience required for an executive assistant can open doors to a variety of career advancement opportunities. Four options are reviewed here, including their job requirements and expectations.

Career Advancement for Executive Assistants

Executive assistants provide integral, organizational support for top executives. They are effective communicators, skilled at resource management, and often possess strong writing and decision-making skills. Their varied responsibilities can include staff supervision, preparation and review of reports, research, and more. While some executive assistants have a bachelor's degree or have completed some college courses, others just have several years of relevant experience. With these attributes and work experiences, a motivated executive assistant has a variety of advancement options. Four opportunities are reviewed in this article, spanning the training, analysis, and managerial fields.

Job Title Median Annual Salary (2018)* Job Growth (2018-2028)* Qualifications
Training and Development Specialist $60,870 9% Bachelor's degree; training and development experience
Management Analyst $83,610 14% Bachelor's or master's degree; specialized experience
Administrative Services Manager $96,180 7% Bachelor's degree common; relevant work and management experience
General or Operations Manager $100,930 7% Bachelor's or master's degree; extensive management experience

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Career Information

Training and Development Specialist

An executive assistant with experience in assessing and training office or corporate staff may find the role of training and development specialist a fitting career move. Training and development specialists equip employees with important knowledge and skills. Their responsibilities span from determining training needs to creating learning materials to actually performing the training. Training can take the form of in-person discussions, lectures, and exercises, or it could be done through technology-driven platforms. A bachelor's degree in human resources, instructional design, or a similar field is a common requirement for a training and development specialist. Experience in training and development is also essential, including an understanding of various mobile and e-learning technologies.

Management Analyst

An executive assistant with a track record of finding and correcting corporate inefficiencies may prefer a move to the role of management analyst. The responsibilities of a management analyst are varied but generally include conducting a thorough analysis of a business's problem or procedure followed by giving corrective recommendations. Specialization is common; management analysts often focus on one area of business, such as eliminating corporate reorganization inefficiencies, or on a specific industry, such as healthcare. They can work as independent consultants or as part of a larger consultant group. At minimum, an applicant should have suitable work experience and a bachelor's degree, though some employers prefer a master's degree in business administration. Certification isn't required to work as a management analyst, but earning Certified Management Consultant (CMC) certification may provide an advantage.

Administrative Services Manager

A strong aptitude toward directing multiple, simultaneous support services is a key skill for an executive assistant. The same skills are required of an administrative services manager. The key goal of an administrative services manager is to make sure the organizational area under their direction is running efficiently. This includes managing records, supervising personnel, monitoring and allocating facilities, and overseeing other operational issues. Though not always required, a bachelor's degree in facility management, business, or similar field is common. More importantly, candidates for the administrative services manager role should have work experience in management, record keeping, cost estimation, and other relevant areas. Completion of a relevant certification program may also give candidates an advantage in this competitive field.

General or Operations Manager

An executive assistant who has advanced into a management role may move another step up the career ladder to become a general or operations manager. Responsible for overall corporate maintenance, these managers oversee facilities, staff, and corporate policies on a broad scale. This can include project completion oversight, work schedules and assignments, facility maintenance, and budgeting. Competition is strong for this high-profile, high-paying job. A common educational requirement for applicants is an MBA, though this can vary depending on the field. Extensive management experience, including facility and staff oversight, is essential. Current managers wishing to advance should also take advantage of any training offered by their company, as the knowledge provided could set them apart from the competition.

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