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Personal assistant training is available from a wide range of community and career colleges. This program is available in two different packages: dedicated personal assistant training or administrative assistant program with additional courses in personal assistant training. A personal assistant typically works for an executive or senior manager of a large corporation. In this role, he or she is responsible for managing the schedule and correspondence for the executive.
Dedicated personal assistant training programs are typically 12 to 18 months in length. These programs focus on a combination of computer skills, conflict resolution, interpersonal, and communication skills. Almost all personal assistants are expected to have valid driver’s licenses, but this training is typically not included in a college training program. The computer skills provided include the use of all standard office productivity software, as well as schedule manager programs and related devices.
Conflict resolution and communication skills are a very important aspect of this job. It is important to remember that the personal assistant acts on behalf of the executive. He or she needs to be able to solve problems, share information, and manage relationships in a way that reflects positively on the executive, while meeting the primary objective. For example, many executives will relay an issue or problem to the personal executive with instructions to “fix it.”
Personal assistant courses that are part of an administrative assistant program is typically three or four courses focused on communication, interpersonal skills, and discretion. This type of personal assistant training assumes that these tasks are a minor aspect of the administrative assistant position. Look at the depth of material presented in these courses by reviewing the course description. It is impossible to know in advance what type of jobs will become available to you, so it is important to learn as many related skills as possible.
People who report the greatest satisfaction with personal assistant training programs have a clear career plan in mind and understand the primary purpose of this role is to support the executive. That said, this career is often portrayed in the media as somewhat lower in rank than an administrative assistant. In fact, due to the increasing number of professional woman rising to executive ranks, the personal assistant is playing an increasingly important role.
The support staff of an executive is critical to the ability of that person to achieve the requirements of the position. Professionalism, skill, and dedication are all required in this important role. Managing the schedule, ensuring that all correspondence is answered appropriately, and making sure the executive has the correct materials for each meeting is critical in high-pressure positions.
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