Duties of an Executive Assistant

Executive assistants require little formal education. Learn about the training, job duties and voluntary certification to see if this is the right career for you.

View 15 Popular Schools »

Essential Information

The duties of executive assistants are in a middle ground between the roles of business executives and clerical workers. As offices become more automated, their jobs become more varied and sophisticated. Some entry-level positions may call for only a high school degree, but applicants can often benefit from a college education, specialized training or certification.

Required Education High school diploma or equivalent; post-secondary program for better job prospects
Other Requirements Voluntary professional certification
Projected Job Growth (2012-2022) -1% for executive secretaries and executive administrative assistants*
Median Annual Salary (2013) $49,290 for executive secretaries and executive administrative assistants*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Executive Assistant Career Duties

Also known as executive secretaries, executive assistants are technically knowledgeable administrative workers responsible for cataloging and distributing information, assisting top-level business staff and arranging schedules. Typically, the job involves less clerical work than found in general secretary positions.

An executive assistant's duties vary by employer, but tasks may include screening and prioritizing mail and phone calls, researching and writing memos. They may maintain executive calendars and meeting agendas, prepare materials used in executive presentations and make travel arrangements. They can also organize and maintain files and office libraries of books, papers and digital media.

Executive assistants are increasingly called to do jobs once exclusively handled by executives, such as the research and preparation of reports. Often they perform tasks once reserved for lower- and middle-level managers, such as negotiating with suppliers, purchasing supplies, maintaining leased equipment and managing stockrooms. They also train new staff members.

Organization and flexibility are important skills for executive assistants, along with the abilities to multi-task, meet deadlines and work as part of a team. They are highly accountable and often responsible for safeguarding confidential information. Familiarity with computers and common business applications are necessary in the modern business office. They should have well-developed communications and reading skills and knowledge of grammar, spelling and punctuation.

Employers may prefer executive assistants who have specific knowledge in their field of business through a degree or past experience. Assistants with a relevant background may have a greater understanding of business operations and may make a greater number of informed decisions.

Certification

Workers who can demonstrate knowledge of office administration, management, technology and systems may want to obtain Certified Professional Secretary (CPS) or Certified Administrative Professional (CAP) status by taking a three-part exam offered by the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP). Certification is not required for executive assistants, but it may lead to improved job opportunities or increased responsibility.

Show me popular schools

Related to Duties of Executive Assistant

  • Related
  • Recently Updated
  • Popular
Certified Executive Assistant: Education Requirements and Career Info

Executive assistants provide administrative and clerical support in a variety of office settings and often work directly for...

Executive Assistant Career Info

Discover what type of work an executive assistant performs. Learn about skills that are necessary in addition to academic...

Executive Admin Assistant Diploma Program Overview

Research diploma programs for aspiring executive administrative assistants. Read about requirements, courses, career prospects...

Executive Assistant: Career Education Overview

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become an executive assistant. Get a quick view of the requirements as well...

Executive Assistant Certificate: Program Overview

Popular Schools

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    School locations:
    • Online Learning
    • Florida (1 campus)

    Online and Classroom-Based Programs

    What is your highest level of education?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    What is your highest level of education completed?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    Which degree level do you plan to pursue?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    What is your highest level of education?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    • Currently not accepting applications from Texas residents
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    Online Programs

    • Associate
        • Associate of Science - Business Studies

    Which subject are you interested in?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Masters degree applicants must have a Bachelors degree
    • Doctorate degree applicants must have a Masters degree
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    Online Programs

    What is your highest level of education?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    School locations:
    • Online Learning
    • Alabama (1 campus)
    • Arkansas (2)
    • Arizona (2)
    • California (5)
    • Colorado (2)
    • Columbia (D.C.) (1)
    • Florida (4)
    • Georgia (4)
    • Hawaii (1)
    • Iowa (1)
    • Idaho (1)
    • Illinois (1)
    • Indiana (1)
    • Kentucky (1)
    • Louisiana (2)
    • Massachusetts (1)
    • Maryland (1)
    • Michigan (1)
    • Minnesota (1)
    • Missouri (2)
    • Mississippi (1)
    • North Carolina (1)
    • New Jersey (1)
    • New Mexico (1)
    • Nevada (1)
    • Ohio (1)
    • Oklahoma (2)
    • Oregon (1)
    • Pennsylvania (1)
    • Puerto Rico (1)
    • South Carolina (1)
    • Tennessee (3)
    • Texas (5)
    • Utah (1)
    • Virginia (3)
    • Washington (1)
    • Wisconsin (1)

    Online and Classroom-Based Programs

    • Master
        • Master of Health Administration/Master of Business Administration
    • Bachelor
    • Associate
        • AA in Business Fundamentals
    • Non-Degree
        • Undergraduate Certificate in General Management
        • Undergraduate Certificate in Business Administration

    Do you prefer online or campus based learning?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must complete an application online and submit transcripts for their highest degree earned.
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    Online Programs

    What is your highest level of education?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must live within close proximity to school locations
    • Must be graduated from high school by 2011
    School locations:
    • Minnesota (1 campus)

    Classroom-Based Programs

    • Bachelor
        • Bachelor of Science - Business Management

    What is your highest level of education?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be at least 16 years old and have a high school diploma or GED.
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    Online Programs

    • Bachelor
        • B.S. Business Management

    What is your highest level of education?

Popular Schools

Avg. Wages For Related Jobs

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics