How to Become an Executive Assistant?

Are you thinking of becoming an Executive Assistant or already started your career and planning the next step? Learn how to become an Executive Assistant, what skills you need to succeed, how to advance your career and get promoted, and what levels of pay to expect at each step on your career path. Explore new Executive Assistant job openings and options for career transitions into related roles.

Steps to Become an Executive Assistant

Executive assistants provide and coordinate high-quality administrative support to an executive team. Specific tasks may include occasionally supervising staff members, preparing research reports, and analyzing documents. They are an indispensable and integral part of an office and are typically found in various industries including recreation, hospitality, retail, education, and more. Here are five steps on how to become an executive assistant:

Earn your high school diploma or equivalent.

To make it into an entry-level position as an executive assistant, you'll first need your high school diploma or equivalent education, such as your General Education Development certification (GED). This will help you learn basic mathematics, economics, computer skills, and English, which you'll need in your new work environment. If your school offers typing or office administration classes, you can take this to help you better navigate the job.


Advance your education by getting a degree in a relevant field.

Once you've completed your basic education, some employers will prefer that you have at least a bachelor's degree before beginning work as an executive assistant. Business administration will help prepare you for work and courses in finance, accounting, information management, human resource management, and operations management. These classes will teach you how to solve business-related problems and how to communicate effectively and efficiently. Various degrees you might pursue include:

  • Bachelor's degree. You can earn a bachelor's degree in any subject to become an executive assistant, but you might consider studying business, communications, business administration, or a related field.
  • Master's degree in Office Administration. This master's program can equip you with an advanced understanding and skill set to be successful as an executive assistant.
  • Ph.D. in Administration. If you want to further your education by earning a Ph.D., consider studying administration to prepare you to apply your knowledge to your work.

What type of degree should you pursue to become an Executive Assistant?

72% of people working as an Executive Assistant earned a Bachelor's Degree

Based on resume data from Glassdoor users who reported working as an Executive Assistant in the United States.

Seek employment in places like nonprofit organizations and government agencies.

After obtaining the necessary education, you're ready to begin seeking employment at an entry-level. Getting real-world experience as an executive assistant will help you gain the skills necessary to complete your job successfully. Consider seeking employment here:

  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Government agencies
  • Large private companies
  • Educational institutions
  • Entertainment companies

As an executive assistant, you'll need strong interpersonal, writing, and organizational skills. You'll have job responsibilities, including responding to faxes, emails, letters, and calls in a prioritized way. You'll also supervise clerical staff, help prepare documents, and manage travel and schedules.


Earn a relevant certification.

While not always necessary, there are certification opportunities available to help you broaden your skillset and make yourself a greater asset to employers. General executive assistants can obtain different types of certifications. They are designed to test your knowledge of record management, human resource, financial functions, organization, planning skills, and other skills related to the profession. These certifications include:

  • Certified Professional Secretary (CPS).
  • Certified Administrative Professional (CAP).
  • Advanced Certificate for the Executive Assistant (ACEA).

Focus on advancing your career.

Once you've obtained the necessary education, work experience, and certifications, you can focus on advancing your career as an executive assistant. Certain companies will allow you to progress and gain a higher position within the same company. You may need to begin an outside search to find a career opportunity to match your newly acquired skills and education.

When preparing your resume, highlight accomplishments and skills relevant to the position. You may also wish to take certification courses and highlight these on your resume when applying for your new executive assistant job. Tailor your cover letters to be job-specific to provide a more personalized approach to the interview process.

Executive Assistant Career Path

Executive Assistant

2 - 4Years of Experience
$52K - $79K /yrMost Likely Range
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16% advanced to

Senior Executive Assistant

2 - 4Years of Experience
$68K - $101K /yrMost Likely Range
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Lead Executive Assistant

5 - 7Years of Experience
$59K - $85K /yrMost Likely Range
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Total Pay Trajectory

Executive Assistant Career Path

Executive Assistant I
Executive Assistant
Senior Executive Assistant
Lead Executive Assistant
Principal Executive Assistant
Head Executive Assistant
Executive Executive Assistant
Chief Executive Assistant
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Related Careers in the Administrative Industry

Interested in other Administrative careers? Below are occupations that have high affinity with Executive Assistant skills. Discover some of the most common Executive Assistant career transitions, along with skills overlap.

0% skills overlap
10% transitioned to Secretary