Executive Administrative Assistant Careers: Job Description & Salary

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An executive administrative assistant's mean annual salary is around $53,590. Is it worth the education requirements? See real job descriptions and get the truth about career prospects to find out if becoming an executive administrative assistant is right for you.
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An Executive Administrative Assistant Career: Pros and Cons

Executive administrative assistants provide senior management assistance in research, information management, scheduling, and more. Consider these pros and cons if you are thinking about a career as an executive administrative assistant.

PROS of an Executive Administrative Assistant Career
One of the largest occupations (just over 873,900 jobs in 2014)*
Possible specialties in growing industries (medical, legal and technical)*
Usually requires only a standard 40-hour work week*
Possibility of earnings above average wages (executive assistants working for securities exchanges earned an mean annual wage of $68,980 as of May 2014)*

CONS of an Executive Administrative Assistant Career
Requires above-average computer skills*
Possibility of stress-related injuries to eyes and hands*
Employers often require some experience in administrative support or business (1-5 years)**
Can be limited advancement opportunities (Executive administrative assistant can be highest administrative position in many companies)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **Monster.com.

Career Information

Job Description and Duties

Executive administrative assistants work closely with a business's top executives. In this position, you serve as the main contact for all communications to and from the executive you work for. You manage office communications, schedules and documents. You might also organize meetings, plan events and handle any tasks your boss may assign you. Tasks could include creating business materials, making phone calls or arranging travel plans. You'll use computers, multi-line telephones and other office equipment, such as fax machines and copiers, in your daily work. You might also manage office employees, including hiring, firing and training. All the tasks that you handle allow you to provide direct support to your boss.

Career Specializations

You may work in a general office environment or choose to work in a specialty area. Medical offices offer an opportunity for those who have a medical background and knowledge of medical terminology, billing and scheduling. If you have a legal background or training, you may work as an assistant in a law office. Other specialty areas include technical positions in fields such as engineering, education or science.

Job Growth and Salary

According to the BLS, executive secretaries and administrative assistants just over 873,900 jobs in May 2014. From 2012-2022, the field will show about 12% growth. Some areas, such as healthcare and education, might see higher growth. Those with advanced computer skills and previous experience in office administration are expected to have the best job prospects.

The BLS reported that executive secretaries and executive administrative assistants earned a mean annual wage of $53,590 in May 2014. The 10th-90th percentile range for median earnings was $32,830-$77,150. Colleges, universities and professional schools offered the highest levels of employment and a mean annual wage of $50,370.

What Are the Requirements?

Education Requirements

For executive administrative assistant positions, employers usually prefer applicants to have a college degree, according to the BLS. Vocational programs that take 1-2 years to complete can provide basic skills, but 4-year bachelor's degree programs in a business-related field can provide a more extensive training that might appeal to a wider variety of employers. You might also seek a bachelor's degree in the industry in which you would like to work if you are seeking a technical position.

Skills

Employers can look for a variety of traits and skills in an executive administrative assistant, such as office skills like above average typing skills, communication skills and organizational skills. Other areas of proficiency might include customer service skills, proficiency with word processing software and the ability to multi-task. You should also be able to pay attention to detail and have the ability to work under pressure.

Job Postings from Real Employers

March 2012 job postings from employers seemed to want candidates who are proficient in computers, work well with others in a team environment and have the ability to perform under pressure. They wanted to hire someone who could handle many tasks at once without folding under the stress.

  • A financial company from South Carolina needed to hire an executive assistant that could easily learn new computer systems and programs and who had 3-5 years of experience in the business sector.
  • In Massachusetts, a healthcare company wanted to hire an executive assistant who had five or more years working with top level executives and was skilled at managing a busy schedule.
  • An Arkansas pipe manufacturer was looking for an executive administrative assistant with good technical writing skills and experience or training in business.

How to Get an Edge in the Field

The overall trend for this field seems to be that computer knowledge is key to securing a job. Since many of the daily tasks done by an executive administrative assistant involve computers, a person needs to be quick to learn new programs, understand commonly used programs and have skills in the different aspects of using computers and the Internet. Education is also a top qualification that employers look for in applicants, so a bachelor's degree can really allow you to step out from the crowd. Becoming knowledgeable about the industry in which you want to work is also a way to gain an edge over the competition.

Get Certified

You might also consider certification through a professional organization. General administrative assistant certification is available from organizations such as the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP). The IAAP offers the Certified Administrative Professional (CAP) designation, which can be obtained if you meet the requirements for education and experience. Once you earn the CAP, you are able to earn the Organizational Management Specialty designation.

There is also certification available for those working in the legal field from the National Association of Legal Secretaries and Legal Secretaries International, Inc. Designations available include Accredited Legal Secretary, Professional Legal Secretary and Certified Legal Secretary Specialist.

Other Careers to Consider

If getting a bachelor's degree doesn't appeal to you, there are other career options that you might consider which are similar to an executive administrative assistant position but require less education. Career options include bookkeeping, accounting or auditing clerk, all of which require only a high school diploma. Some employers might require an associate degree in business or accounting, but it's not common for any additional education to be required beyond that level.

If you don't mind getting an associate degree and would like a career that has a better job growth outlook, then you might consider becoming a medical records and health information technician or a paralegal or legal assistant. Medical records and health information technicians are expected to see a 21% growth in job opportunities from 2010-2020. Paralegals and legal assistants are expected to experience a 18% growth in the same decade. In any of these positions, you'll still work in an office environment and handle clerical tasks.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. Purdue University Global

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    2. Saint Leo University

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      • BA: Business Administration - Management
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      • Associate of Science - Business Studies
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    5. American InterContinental University

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      • Bachelor of Business Admin: Management
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      • Associate of Arts in Business Administration
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Featured Schools

Purdue University Global

  • Bachelor of Business Admin
  • BSBA - Investment
  • Associate: Business Admin.
  • Associate: Business Admin. - Office Mgmt

Which subject are you interested in?

Saint Leo University

  • BA: Business Administration - Management
  • BA: Business Administration - Logistics
  • AA: Business Administration

What is your highest level of education completed?

Full Sail University

  • B.S. - Music Business

What is your highest level of education?

Herzing University

  • Associate of Science - Business Studies

What is your highest level of education?

American InterContinental University

  • Bachelor of Business Admin: Management
  • Bachelor of Business Administration - Generalist
  • Associate of Arts in Business Administration

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Regent University

  • Master of Arts in Law - Business
  • Master of Business Administration - General Management
  • Bachelor of Science in Business
  • Bachelor of Science in Business - General Management

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Louisiana State University Shreveport

  • Master of Business Administration with a General Business Specialization

What is your highest level of education completed?

Grand Canyon University

  • MBA
  • Bachelor of Science in Business for Secondary Education

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