Certified Professional Assistant Education Requirements and Career Info
A certified professional assistant typically works in an office, supporting the efforts of other staff members, keeping records and contacting clients or setting up appointments. There are many certifications available for professional assistants from a variety of organizations. Most do not require any specific education, though employers are more likely to hire those with a college education.
Certified Professional Assistant Job Description
A certified professional assistant is responsible for maintaining order in an office through clerical tasks such as organizing company files, making necessary phone calls and providing support in various ways to other staff members. Depending primarily on the industry and the size of office, as well as experience and title, assistants can carry out daily functions ranging from producing and maintaining all essential documents and records - both paper and electronic - to contacting clients and assisting other office personnel when required.
Certified professional assistants are generally expected to have the ability to work independently because the bulk of their workload requires duties such as reviewing memos and arranging meetings - duties that typically require only one person. Assistants in more specialized fields may perform less clerical tasks and work more on industry specific duties, such as those in the legal field who sometimes handle legal papers (complaints, subpoenas, etc.) and may aid with legal research.
Education and Certification Requirements
Employers often prefer that certified professional assistants have some kind of post-secondary education, but becoming a certified professional assistant may not require a college degree. Because of the nature of their work, however, professional assistants must have excellent communication, reading and writing skills, must be competent in handling finances and must have excellent interpersonal skills.
There are many certifications available for professional assistants. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, some of the available certifications are the Certified Professional Secretary (CPS) and the Certified Administrative Professional (CAP), available through the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP). These can be earned by meeting experience or educational requirements and passing an examination.
The National Association of Legal Secretaries (NALS) awards an Accredited Legal Secretary certification and a Professional Legal Secretary certification. The Certified Legal Secretary Specialist certification is available from Legal Secretaries International. The International Virtual Assistants Association (IVAA) also offers three certifications, Real Estate Virtual Assistant, Ethics Checked Virtual Assistant, and Certified Virtual Assistant.
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