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Become An Executive Assistant

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Working As An Executive Assistant

  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Performing Administrative Activities
  • Interacting With Computers
  • Getting Information
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Mostly Sitting

  • Repetitive

  • $46,904

    Average Salary

What Does An Executive Assistant Do

Secretaries and administrative assistants perform routine clerical and administrative duties. They organize files, prepare documents, schedule appointments, and support other staff.

Duties

Secretaries and administrative assistants typically do the following:

  • Answer telephones and take messages or transfer calls
  • Schedule appointments and update event calendars
  • Arrange staff meetings
  • Handle incoming and outgoing mail and faxes
  • Prepare memos, invoices, or other reports
  • Edit documents
  • Maintain databases and filing systems, whether electronic or paper
  • Perform basic bookkeeping

Secretaries and administrative assistants perform a variety of clerical and administrative duties that are necessary to run an organization efficiently. They use computer software to create spreadsheets; manage databases; and prepare presentations, reports, and documents. They also may negotiate with vendors, buy supplies, and manage stockrooms or corporate libraries. Secretaries and administrative assistants also use videoconferencing, fax, and other office equipment. Specific job duties vary by experience, job title, and specialty.

Executive secretaries and executive administrative assistants provide high-level administrative support for an office and for top executives of an organization. They often handle more complex responsibilities, such as reviewing incoming documents, conducting research, and preparing reports. Some also supervise clerical staff.

Legal secretaries perform work requiring knowledge of legal terminology and procedures. They prepare legal documents, such as summonses, complaints, motions, and subpoenas under the supervision of an attorney or a paralegal. They also review legal journals and help with legal research—for example, by verifying quotes and citations in legal briefs.

Medical secretaries transcribe dictation and prepare reports or articles for physicians or medical scientists. They also take simple medical histories of patients, arrange for patients to be hospitalized, or process insurance payments. Medical secretaries need to be familiar with medical terminology and codes, medical records, and hospital or laboratory procedures.

Secretaries and administrative assistants, except legal, medical, and executive is the largest subcategory of secretaries and administrative assistants. They handle an office’s administrative activities in almost every sector of the economy, including schools, government, and private corporations. For example, secretaries in schools are often responsible for handling most of the communications among parents, students, the community, teachers, and school administrators. They schedule appointments, receive visitors, and keep track of students’ records.

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How To Become An Executive Assistant

High school graduates who have experience using computer software applications, such as word processing and spreadsheets, usually qualify for entry-level positions. Although most secretaries learn their job in several weeks, many legal and medical secretaries require additional training to learn industry-specific terminology. Executive secretaries usually need several years of related work experience.

Education

High school graduates can take courses in word processing and office procedures at technical schools or community colleges. Some temporary placement agencies also provide training in word processing, spreadsheet, and database software.

Some medical and legal secretaries learn industry-specific terminology and practices by attending courses offered at community colleges or technical schools. For executive secretary positions, employers increasingly prefer to hire those who have taken some college courses or have a bachelor’s degree.

Training

Secretaries and administrative assistants typically learn their skills through short-term on-the-job training, usually lasting a few weeks. During this time they learn about administrative procedures, including how to prepare documents. Medical and legal secretaries’ training may last several months as they learn industry-specific terminology and practices.

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

Executive secretaries can gain experience by working in administrative positions that have less challenging responsibilities. Many secretaries and administrative assistants advance to higher level administrative positions.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Although not required, certification can demonstrate competency to employers.

The International Association of Administrative Professionals offers the Certified Administrative Professional (CAP) certification. Candidates must have a minimum of 2 to 4 years of administrative work experience, depending on their level of education, and pass an examination.

Legal secretaries have several certification options. For example, those with 1 year of general office experience, or who have completed an approved training course, can acquire the Accredited Legal Professional (ALP) certification through a testing process administered by NALS (previously known as National Association of Legal Secretaries). NALS also offers the Professional Legal Secretary (PLS) certification, considered to be an advanced certification for legal support professionals.

The Certified Legal Secretary Specialist (CLSS) certification is conferred by Legal Secretaries International in areas such as intellectual property, criminal law, civil litigation, probate, and business law. Candidates typically need to have 5 years of legal experience and pass an examination to become certified.

Advancement

Secretaries and administrative assistants generally advance to other administrative positions with more responsibilities, such as office supervisor, office manager, or executive secretary.

With additional training, many legal secretaries become paralegals or legal assistants.

Important Qualities

Integrity. Many secretaries and administrative assistants are trusted to handle sensitive information. For example, medical secretaries collect patient data that is required, by law, to be kept confidential in order to protect patient privacy.

Interpersonal skills. Secretaries and administrative assistants interact with clients, customers, or staff. They should communicate effectively and be courteous when interacting with others to create a positive work environment and client experience.

Organizational skills. Secretaries and administrative assistants keep files, folders, and schedules in proper order so an office can run efficiently.

Writing skills. Secretaries and administrative assistants write memos and emails when communicating with managers, employees, and customers. Therefore, they must have good grammar, ensure accuracy, and maintain a professional tone.

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Executive Assistant Jobs

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Executive Assistant Career Paths

Executive Assistant
Office Administrator Accounts Payable Clerk Specialist
Account Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Program Manager General Manager
Chief Executive Officer
8 Yearsyrs
Chief Executive Officer President/Chief Executive Officer Business Developer
Chief Operating Officer
11 Yearsyrs
Executive Assistant To President Office Administrator Marketing Director
Director Of Communications And Marketing
9 Yearsyrs
Office Manager General Manager
District Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Manager Store Manager General Manager
Food Service Director
9 Yearsyrs
Office Manager Operations Manager
General Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Human Resources Coordinator Human Resource Specialist Human Resources Generalist
Human Resources Business Partner
10 Yearsyrs
Project Coordinator Business Analyst Product Manager
Marketing Director
7 Yearsyrs
Manager General Manager Account Executive
Marketing Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Operations Manager Branch Manager Account Executive
Office Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Construction Manager Operations Manager
Operations Director
9 Yearsyrs
Executive Assistant/Office Manager Human Resources Coordinator Specialist
Operations Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Senior Executive Assistant Chief Executive Officer Human Resources Generalist
Payroll Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Chief Executive Officer Adjunct Professor Senior Project Manager
President Of Operations
11 Yearsyrs
Executive Assistant/Office Manager Chief Executive Officer
President/Chief Executive Officer
10 Yearsyrs
Human Resources Coordinator Human Resources Generalist
Senior Human Resources Generalist
7 Yearsyrs
Office Administrator Human Resources Coordinator Project Manager
Senior Project Manager
12 Yearsyrs
Operations Manager Account Executive Assistant Vice President
Vice President And Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Project Coordinator Program Manager Business Developer
Vice President, Business Development
13 Yearsyrs
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Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Top Employers Before
Internship 4.4%
Secretary 3.5%
Assistant 2.1%
Top Employers After
Manager 2.4%
Internship 2.3%

Do you work as an Executive Assistant?

Executive Assistant Demographics

Gender

Female

85.0%

Male

12.9%

Unknown

2.1%
Ethnicity

White

59.6%

Hispanic or Latino

17.3%

Black or African American

11.7%

Asian

7.6%

Unknown

3.8%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

53.3%

French

12.0%

Italian

4.5%

Mandarin

4.0%

Chinese

3.8%

German

3.7%

Portuguese

3.5%

Russian

3.0%

Japanese

2.2%

Arabic

2.0%

Cantonese

1.5%

Korean

1.4%

Hindi

0.8%

Polish

0.7%

Tagalog

0.7%

Greek

0.7%

Hebrew

0.7%

Vietnamese

0.6%

Armenian

0.5%

Urdu

0.5%
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Executive Assistant Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

23.7%

Strayer University

5.6%

New York University

5.3%

Northern Virginia Community College

5.2%

Liberty University

5.1%

George Mason University

4.6%

University of Maryland - University College

4.3%

Southern New Hampshire University

3.9%

Florida International University

3.8%

University of Houston

3.8%

Kaplan University

3.8%

Northeastern University

3.8%

San Francisco State University

3.7%

Ashford University

3.6%

Fashion Institute of Technology

3.6%

Florida State University

3.3%

Howard University

3.3%

American InterContinental University

3.3%

Arizona State University

3.1%

Georgia State University

3.1%
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Majors

Business

34.9%

Communication

7.4%

Psychology

6.4%

Marketing

4.8%

Accounting

4.7%

Management

4.4%

English

4.1%

Human Resources Management

3.6%

Liberal Arts

3.4%

Political Science

3.1%

Health Care Administration

3.0%

Criminal Justice

3.0%

Legal Support Services

3.0%

Education

2.6%

Finance

2.2%

General Studies

2.1%

Sociology

2.0%

Public Relations

1.9%

Fine Arts

1.8%

Nursing

1.7%
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Degrees

Bachelors

42.5%

Other

25.0%

Masters

13.1%

Associate

11.5%

Certificate

5.2%

Doctorate

1.1%

Diploma

1.1%

License

0.5%
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Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Real Executive Assistant Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Executive Assistant Dun & Bradstreet, Inc. Short Hills, NJ May 19, 2014 $185,000
EA To Head of Upstream Technology BP America Inc. Houston, TX Jul 14, 2014 $182,160
Executive Assistant (Communications Specialist) Facebook, Inc. Menlo Park, CA May 27, 2013 $157,576
Executive Assistant Pexagon Technology Inc. Branford, CT Aug 15, 2016 $120,000
Executive Assistant To Managing Member Malachy Enterprises LLC New York, NY Mar 21, 2011 $110,000
Manager-EAS Grant Thornton LLP San Francisco, CA Aug 24, 2012 $105,000 -
$120,000
PPQ Manager-EA-CTD GE Medical Systems, LLC Milwaukee, WI Jan 25, 2013 $98,000 -
$108,000
Project Manager and Executive Assistant Bazmark INQ LLC New York, NY Sep 16, 2013 $95,000
Executive Assistant Intrepid Aviation Management, LLC Stamford, CT Oct 12, 2016 $88,232
Marketing Operations Analyst-EA Interactive Electronic Arts, Inc. Vista, CA Jan 09, 2012 $87,000
Manager and Executive Assistant Canberra Concrete Pumping of North America New Castle, CO Jun 15, 2011 $86,216
Executive Assistant Open Society Institute New York, NY Oct 17, 2016 $56,800
Executive Assistant Kansai Japanese Restaurant, Inc. Oakland, CA Nov 24, 2014 $55,598
Executive Assistant GFI Development Company LLC New York, NY Nov 01, 2016 $55,000
Accountant and Executive Assistant Heller Manus, Inc. San Francisco, CA Nov 01, 2011 $54,492
Executive Assistant Travelex Currency Services Inc. New York, NY Apr 01, 2011 $53,000 -
$55,245
Executive Assistant Pexagon Technology Inc. Branford, CT Dec 31, 2016 $52,832
Executive Assistant Keith D Cronin Gig Harbor, WA Mar 01, 2012 $52,175
Executive Assistant-Marketing and Ecommerce Bloomingdale's By Mail Ltd. New York, NY Jul 02, 2012 $44,616 -
$52,500
Executive Assistant Management and Marketing Two Twelve Management and Marketing New York, NY Jun 01, 2011 $44,000
Executive Secretaries & ADM. Assistants Perdikaris Constantine Developers Inc. NY Oct 18, 2011 $43,827
Bilingual Executive Assistant Button Associate LLC Chicago, IL May 01, 2015 $43,827 -
$48,001
Executive Assistant Filmnation Entertainment LLC New York, NY Sep 25, 2012 $42,784
Executive Assistant Interior Design Scheman & Grant Inc. New York, NY Oct 01, 2012 $42,784
Executive Assistant Filmnation International LLC New York, NY Dec 01, 2011 $42,784

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Top Skills for An Executive Assistant

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  1. Office Supplies
  2. Financial Statements
  3. Data Entry
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Maintained inventory and ordered office supplies.
  • Generated monthly financial statements and tracked expenses in the banking and entertainment divisions.
  • Performed data entry work, prepared administrative and financial insurance reports for collection.
  • Maintained department budget, administered payroll and reconciled bi-weekly reports * Facilitated monthly corporate-level senior leadership meetings.
  • Developed and maintained up-to-date client tracking database utilizing MS Access * Developed and maintained PowerPoint Presentations.

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Top Executive Assistant Employers

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