Executive assistants play an essential role in the work place. Certification and specialization through the IAAP can increase the value and earnings of the employee. The following article details the educational requirements and job outlook for executive assistants.
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Executive assistants generally work with and support CEOs and other top executives. Although certification is not mandatory for this career field, professionals may seek out certification to set themselves apart.
Certification isn't available specifically for executive assistants, but the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP) offers the Certified Administrative Professional (CAP) credential and the Organizational Management (OM) specialty designation. Eligibility is based on a combination of work experience and education, with more years of experience required for individuals with less or no college education. Certified professionals are required to re-certify every five years by completing continuing education credits.
|Education||High school diploma; associate's degrees; or, bachelor's degree*|
|Experience||24-48 months, depending on education*|
|Skills Necessary||Possess good secretarial, organizational and communication skills|
|Specializations||Certified Administrative Professional (CAP) credential; Organizational Management (OM) specialty designation*|
|Other Requirements||Experience must be within the past 10 years; work experience must include at least 12 consecutive months of employment; and, professionals must recertify every five years to keep their credentials active*|
Source: *International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP).
Diploma Program Information for Executive Assistants
Executive assistant training programs prepare individuals for advanced administrative roles in corporate or legal environments. Applicants to executive assistant training programs must have a high school diploma or its equivalent. Previous courses in keyboarding, word processing applications and other secretarial topics may be beneficial.
Some technical schools and community colleges offer specific executive assistant diploma or associate's degree programs. Students in diploma programs may learn skills in the areas of customer service, transcription, accounting and office management. For students in associate's degree programs, the curriculum may include classes in basic computer applications, office procedures and business English.
Some companies seek executive assistants with a minimum of a bachelor's degree. To become more competitive, aspiring executive assistants may want to consider choosing a major in the field in which employment is sought. Otherwise, some relevant majors for this career may include office administration, business information systems or business administration.
Additional Training Information for Executive Assistants
Besides formal education, aspiring executive assistants can learn the necessary skills for their career through training offered by temporary placement agencies. Training can also be acquired on the job or through software and other vendors.
Career Outlook for Executive Assistants
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that executive administrative assistants and secretaries would see a 6% decline in employment opportunities from 2014-2024. According to the BLS, many companies are choosing to hire lower-cost administrative assistants for executive assistant roles. Executive administrative assistants and secretaries made an average yearly salary of $55,460 in May 2015, according to the BLS.
Executive assistants perform a variety of clerical and administrative duties to make the workplace operate smoothly. Certification can increase the odds of employment in a competitive hiring environment, due to the projected 6% decline in opportunities from 2014-2024.