Certified Administrative Professional Education Requirements

Sep 09, 2019

A Certified Administrative Professional is an optional credential for administrative professionals. Get some quick facts about the education and experience necessary to qualify for the Certified Administrative Professional credential.

Certified administrative professionals can work in a variety of office settings, and their roles can vary from assistant to managerial. An administrative professional who is interested in improving their resume may want to consider taking the Certified Administrative Professional exam. To pass the exam, applicants must have a basic business understanding and should be comfortable with office communication, technology and interpersonal relations.

Essential Information

Administrative professionals assist in all areas of business, carrying out a variety of administrative tasks. Certified administrative professionals can include secretaries, administrative assistants, office managers, office coordinators, office supervisors and more - ranging from entry-level positions to executive assistant positions to managerial positions. Earning this credential requires from a high school diploma to a bachelor's degree, depending on your job title, and up to four years of job experience, as well as being a member of the International Association of Administrative Professionals.

Required Education Variable; a high school diploma and on-the-job training OR an administrative professional certificate or associate's degree OR a bachelor's degree in business or liberal arts
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)* 7% decline (for secretaries and administrative assistants)
Median Annual Salary (May 2018)* $38,880 (for secretaries and administrative assistants)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Certified Administrative Professional Overview

Certified administrative professionals require advanced leadership, planning and administrative abilities. These abilities include spreadsheet, accounting or project management skills. Certified administrative professionals generally have a higher earning potential than their uncertified counterparts and tend to climb up the promotion ladder more quickly, partly due to the pursuit of continuing education implied by the certification.

Educational Requirements

High school graduates who possess basic computer and office skills can qualify for entry-level administrative positions. Many high schools offer vocational training in administrative work, as well as temp and placement agencies that provide training to qualified applicants. Students who wish to become certified administrative professionals can also complete administrative professional programs at vocational schools and community colleges. For those interested in executive or managerial administrative positions, a bachelor's degree is usually necessary. Business degrees or degrees related to the field in which the professional will work are recommended. Liberal arts degrees that emphasize writing, communication and technology are also useful. Administrative professionals who wish to work in more specialized fields, such as medical or legal administration, may be required to seek additional training.


To receive certification, individuals must pass the Certified Administrative Professional (CAP) exam, which is offered through the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP). The exam tests applicants in areas like office administration, office systems, technology, management, human relations and communication. In addition, certain work experience and educational criteria must be met for certification. The exam is offered only to members of the IAAP. Administrative professional applicants with bachelor's degrees need to have two years of experience working as executive assistants to qualify for membership. Applicants with associate degrees need three years of work experience, and those with high school diplomas need four years.

Certified administrative professionals are expected to have organizational, managerial, and accounting skills. There is no established minimum education requirement for this field, but for the serious administrative professional, obtaining certification and further education is one way to increase job mobility and salary.

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