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If you like working in an office but want to have more responsibility, you may wish to become an executive assistant. These administrative professionals support higher management in the daily operations of a company and may even supervise lower-level clerical staff. Different levels of executive assistant training range from on-the-job learning to an associate degree program. Certifications allow a more competitive advantage in seeking employment. Continued education is usually necessary for maintaining technology skills in a rapidly changing environment.
Seeking an executive assistant training program that emphasizes office administration or business management will help prepare you for the responsibility you will assume. If you have a bachelor's degree in the company's field, you may have an advantage since you'll be familiar with terminology, procedures and other industry-specific elements. Business and technical schools, as well as community colleges, typically offer one to two-year administrative programs.
Some companies hire high school graduates with office skills, so if a technical executive assistant training program isn't available you may obtain entry-level employment and advance to the position. It may take longer to reach your goal this way, but if you plan to stay with the company for a number of years, you will typically become familiar with its products and culture, a definite asset to supporting its executives. You may have to deal with vendors and manage travel and meeting arrangements even at a lower level, which will add to your store of experience.
Some of the classes you can expect to take during executive assistant training include computer applications, accounting procedures and customer service. Business English and communications courses can help improve your written and verbal skills. Once you've graduated, you'll usually need continued education to remain competitive, especially with computers. Often software vendors of databases and other complicated programs offer instructional seminars on their products. Independent training companies do this also, and your company may pay the tuition.
In large companies and law offices, high-level personnel may have their own secretaries who only handle their activities. A smaller company may have an executive assistant who manages several at once, and even oversees and instructs receptionists and the general clerical staff. Any supervisory experience you have supplements your executive assistant training and should definitely be included on your resume.
A Certified Administrative Professional (CAP) certification from the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP) can boost your credentials. Eligibility is based on experience and education, and the CAP is obtained through examination. Membership in various professional organizations offers networking opportunities, continued education and will help keep you up to date on what employers are looking for. In addition to executive assistant training, you may also seek accreditation in paralegal or medical coding for work in those fields.
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