Executive Assistant

Schools in the USA
Back to Career Search     

Executive Assistant


Executive assistants are usually senior clerical staff in an organization working directly for higher management officials, such as presidents, vice presidents and Chief Executive Officers (CEOs). Acting as the "right hand," they ensure that the information their employer receives is timely, accurate and relevant. They will review incoming mail and prepare outgoing correspondence.

Performing administrative duties is hardly the bulk of their job. Executive assistants co-ordinate administrative procedures, public relations activities and research and analysis functions for members of legislative assemblies, ministers, deputy ministers, corporate officials and executives, committees and boards of directors. Being at the top of the clerical hierarchy, their jobs are of a more personal, interactive nature.

Nevertheless, they still organize and control the day-to-day functions for their employer. They are the true supporting backbones of senior management officials and without them; most executives would be in complete disarray. The duties and functions of an executive assistant vary greatly from one organization to the next. Depending on their level of experience and area of speciality, the tasks will fluctuate from more administrative to more executive.

In the last decade, the role of the executive assistant has drastically evolved due to technological advancements. Computers have replaced and simplified some of the once-traditional tasks of the assistant. This has allowed executive assistants to take on more challenging projects and lead them to a wider range of responsibilities once reserved for managerial and professional staff. Functions such as training new staff members, conducting research on the Internet and operating new office programs such as spreadsheets and multimedia presentations are good examples of some newer duties.

They also perform a variety of administrative duties such as scheduling meetings and appointments, booking travel plans, organizing and maintaining paper and electronic files, managing projects, conducting research and providing information to managers and clients via the telephone and e-mail. Acting as the right hand to a senior executive, they are pretty much in charge of organizing their employer's lives.
View Schools for this Career: 
         Related Careers
arrow Accounting Clerk
arrow Accounts Officer
arrow Actuary
arrow [ view all related careers ]

Program Spotlight
Matching School Ad
UEI College

At UEI College, we want you to succeed. We’re like a family and we want you to be a part of it.

Programs Offered:
  • Business Office Administration (10-Month Diploma Program)



  Average Earnings  
Lowest 10% of Earners:
Median Salary:
Highest 10% of Earners:

  Interests and Skills  
Executive assistants have good oral and written communication skills because they constantly interact with many people on the phone and in person. They have good interpersonal skills, excellent organizational and time management skills, and have the ability to work independently or as part of a team. They should also enjoy using computer applications, and get comfortable with word processing and spreadsheets. Skills with numbers and bookkeeping can also be an added skill to help finding a job, and executive assistants have the ability to compile and organize large amounts of information.

  Typical Tasks  
  • Establish and coordinate administrative policies and procedures for officials, committees and boards of directors
  • Analyze incoming and outgoing memoranda, submissions and reports and prepare and coordinate the preparation and submission of summary briefs and reports to the executive, committees and boards of directors
  • Prepare agendas and make arrangements for committee, board and other meetings
  • Conduct research, compile data, and prepare papers for consideration and presentation by the executive, committees and boards of directors
  • Meet with individuals, special interest groups and others on behalf of the executive, committees and boards of directors to discuss issues and assess and recommend various courses of action
  • Liase with departmental and corporate officials and with other organizations and associations on behalf of the executive, committees and boards of directors
  • Executive assistants almost always work in office environments. A standard, 40-hour workweek is the norm for executive assistants unless they work part time. In some cases, longer hours may be required to meet deadlines, or when a boss works extremely long hours. A typical day often involves sitting for long periods of time in front of a computer, or talking on the phone. Some executive assistants travel to meetings and promotional functions with their employer.

  Workplaces, Employers and Industries  
  • Executive assistants are employed in every sector of the working world. They usually work in offices, assisting professionals in schools, hospitals, law offices, business services, government services, medical and social services, wholesale traders, retailers, communications companies and so on . . .

  Long Term Career Potential  
Experienced executive assistants often advance from performing more routine clerical tasks to a skilled speciality area such as database computing or research. Some sit at the top of the administrative chain of command in a larger organization and are in charge of the supervision of other office assistants. With experience, they can move into managerial positions within their organization. The organization and speciality area an officer administrator works for will really help determine the upward mobility of an administrator.

  Educational Paths  
There is no set path for becoming an executive assistant. A high school diploma is an absolute requirement often along with an undergraduate degree in public administration, political science or a related discipline. However, a university degree or college diploma is not absolute. Community colleges offer diplomas and certificates in administrative or secretarial skills, which can also be very helpful and give you a competitive edge when searching for a job. Many specialized executive assistants also have related administrative experience.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2002, http://www.bls.gov/oes/2002/oes_nat.htm

Featured Schools

Matching School Ads
UEI College

At UEI College, we want you to succeed. We’re like a family and we want you to be a part of it.

Programs Offered:
  • Business Office Administration (10-Month Diploma Program)

Matching School Ads
  Universities and Colleges
Clarkson UniversityColorado School of MinesDalhousie University
Oral Roberts UniversityPenn State HarrisburgTemple University
The University of HoustonThompson Rivers UniversityUNB Saint John
University of AlabamaUniversity of ArkansasUniversity of British Columbia
University of IowaUniversity of New BrunswickUniversity of Ottawa
York University
Agriculture and Bio-resources | Allied Health and Health Sciences | Applied Business Technology | Architecture
Business Administration | Computer Science | Cosmetology and Esthetics | Culinary, Travel &Hospitality | Dance 
Engineering Technology & Applied Technology |Engineering | Film | Fine Arts and Design | Humanities and Liberal ArtsJustice and Security
| Natural and Applied Sciences | Naturopathic and Holistic MedicineNursingPublic Administration & PolicyReligious and Theological Studies
Sport Sciences and Physical Education | Teacher Education | Theatre
Articles | College News | Videos | Feedback | Career Search
Home | About Us | Contact Us | Faq | Terms of Use | Privacy Notice | Site Map | Cities Site Map | California - Do Not Sell My Info

Copyright 2003- 2020 QuinStreet, Inc. All Rights Reserved.