No two days in an executive assistant’s life look the same. What they do, and what they’re expected to learn how to do, might change as often as the temperature in your office building. Executive assistant training can prepare them for anything they may be asked to do, which is to say everything.
When talking with The Assist, a trusted resource among the executive assistant community, we learned that training remains top of mind for countless assistants because their profession requires a high level of adaptability.
Why is executive assistant (EA) training important in 2021?
Executive assistant training is important because the EA skills in highest demand shift constantly. The current year’s executive assistant courses help EAs round out their competencies with tips, tricks, and how-tos based on the latest industry research and best practices.
Plus, tons of people want to be executive assistants, making the job market competitive. (The executive assistant role comes along with many benefits, and it is, after all, the U.S. News & World Report’s #25 pick for “Best Business Jobs.”) Knowing everything (or at least a little bit of it) and also committing to constantly learning more will help both hopeful and current EAs get ahead and meet their loftiest goals.
“You need to be a lifelong learner,” one EA told U.S. News & World Report. “Certifications help you to develop and embrace technology.”
What are the benefits of executive assistant training?
The benefits of executive assistant training are…
- Demonstrable expertise, especially in the case of executive assistant certifications.
- Competitive edge. EAs who list training on their resume, talk about their professional development during interviews, and also humble brag during their annual reviews will stand out from the crowd.
- Pay increases, as they demonstrate again and again their capacity to translate new classroom skills into accomplishments and business value on the job.
- Confidence that comes with the acquisition of new knowledge and new abilities.
- Enhanced effectiveness and efficiency as opportunities to apply learned skills and know-how arise during their day-to-day EA responsibilities.
Explore the list of executive assistant training programs below to open doors to growth, learning, and goal-achieving nirvana.
Low Cost Or Free Executive Assistant Training & Learning Resources
Low-cost executive assistant training includes the efficient, cut-right-to-the-point programs that make up for what they lack in bells and whistles with plenty of skill-building.
Low-cost executive administrative assistant classes may be especially helpful for EAs exploring what skills they may want and need to develop before they commit to a long-term executive assistant diploma course or certification program.
Online Free Executive Assistant Training & Learning Resources
Training description: The Assist is a humorous weekly email newsletter that delivers tips, tricks, and advice assistants need to knock out more essential to-dos while also developing personally and professionally.
Each issue features carefully curated, to-the-point takeaways on technology solutions, empowerment resources, assistant strategies and so much more. Plus, with personal stories and insights sourced directly from a thriving EA community, the Assist also provides a thriving support network. Simply sign up for the newsletter at jointheassist.com and then look forward to receiving issues every Tuesday.
Approx time to complete: 10 – 15 minutes every Tuesday
Training description: Need a hotel recommendation or advice on how to negotiate a raise? Look no further. When the founders of Cabinet were Executive Assistants, they wished for a tool and a community to share ideas, get answers, and make their days more efficient. Unfortunately, nothing like that existed. So they built it.
Cost: Free (to join the community); $50/month for access to the tool.
Approx time to complete: Ongoing
3) Coursera – University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign – Strategic Leadership and Management Specialization
Training description: This online training course gives students an understanding of leadership frameworks and also delivers tools and strategies for effectively analyzing business situations. Executive assistants will learn how to strategically manage people and processes to maximize business value.
Good for those trying to improve their ability to manage individuals, teams, and processes.
Cost: Free (to read and use all the course content)
Approx time to complete: 8 months
Training description: The course dives into the theories behind a variety of communication techniques, giving students a well-rounded understanding of the human psyche. Participants will depart with an understanding of how to use persuasive communication skills to motivate people.
Good for those trying to improve their communication skills for the purpose of better navigating office and industry politics.
Approx time to complete: 1.5 – 3 hours
Training description: This class covers all the individual components that work together to create resourcefulness. Participants get an overview of how they can better assess the resources at their disposal and make strategic decisions.
Good for those trying to improve their ability to use what skills and EA tools they have on hand to the best advantage.
Approx time to complete: > 1 hour
In-Person Free Executive Assistant Training
Training description: These events bring together experienced EAs, skilled administrative assistants, and other office professionals to exchange ideas, get inspiration, and maybe even help each other continue on the path toward their goals.
Good for those trying to improve their networking skills and also expand their professional network.
Location: 6 cities across the United States
Approx time to complete: Varies
Paid Executive Assistant Training
Paid executive assistant training often goes into more depth on more specialized skills than its free counterparts. Designed with comprehensive and structured learning plans, paid training courses provide more than just an overview, often helping EAs gain mastery in specific areas such as project management, time management, and so much more.
Online Paid Executive Assistant Training
Training description: This lesson gives EAs more in-depth Gmail how-tos than any online roundup ever could. Participants will learn how to do things they may already be doing, such as using inbox labels and filters, but in even more strategic and streamlined ways.
Good for those trying to learn how to use Gmail like an absolute master.
Approx time to complete: 2 hours
Training description: This class dives deep into the art of decision-making. The instructor provides plenty of context on specific situations to explain proven strategies that will empower students to confidently make decisions ever after.
Good for those trying to improve their decision-making frameworks, and as a result, the outcomes of their decisions.
Approx time to complete: 1-2 hours
Training description: This MasterClass features former Disney CEO Bob Iger, discussing his extraordinary personal experiences while making each lesson applicable to those of all career levels in all industries.
Good for those trying to enhance their overall leadership mindset.
Cost: $15 monthly subscription
Approx time to complete: 2-4 hours
In-Person Paid Executive Assistant Training
Training description: Packed with a speaker lineup of experienced administrative masters, this conference helps EAs round up skills in anything and everything they need to know, including creating Excel project dashboards, managing calendars and schedules, and even understanding design thinking.
Good for those trying to improve their overall EA excellence by hearing about both new and time-tested strategies and techniques for getting work done.
Location: San Antonio, Texas
Approx time to complete: 3 days
Training description: This course provides enlightening leadership training designed to show ambitious executive assistants how they might take command of their positions, manage changing duties, negotiate with confidence, and improve constantly and strategically.
Good for those trying to improve their overall managerial prowess as it applies to people, processes, projects, and anything else.
Location: 6 cities across the United States
Approx time to complete: 3 days
Training description: This specialization turns students into administrative triple threats with advanced skills in finance, communication, and business writing. It also touches on additional competencies, including public relations and human resources, to complement the foundation skills.
Good for those trying to improve their ability to provide exemplary administrative support. It’s also perfect for those following an administrative assistant career path who are looking to take the next step in their career or to achieve specific goals.
Location: Santa Clara, California
Approx time to complete: 6 months
Comprehensive Executive Assistant Courses
A comprehensive executive assistant course is one that covers a vast constellation of skills essential to the executive assistant role in all its names and iterations. These courses are ideal for beginners — for those hoping to become executive assistants, those hoping to learn all the skills while also setting themselves up to nail the interview.
Online Comprehensive Executive Assistant Training
Training description: This continuing education certified and ICOES (International Council for Online Educational Standards) accredited course helps students develop organization, multitasking, prioritization, and communication skills. Students also learn how to be adaptable in tricky situations and how to accomplish more by applying a direct leadership style.
Good for those trying to learn all the essential skills necessary to be the go-to problem-solver, decision-maker, and strategic consultant.
Approx time to complete: 2+ days
Training description: The strengths targeted in this course — including hard computer skills, soft interpersonal skills, and organizational skills — will prepare anyone to launch, advance, or elevate their EA career. (They’ll even end with a certificate to prove it.)
Good for those trying to learn all the timeless essential skills they need to be effective office leaders.
Approx time to complete: 1-2 years
Training description: This program helps EAs develop their mastery of essential office technologies such as Microsoft Word, Excel, Outlook, and PowerPoint while they also round out their foundational business skills.
Good for those trying to prepare for the Microsoft Office Specialist Master certification.
Approx time to complete: 4 months
In-Person Comprehensive Executive Assistant Training
Training description: These events are all about long-term vision. Attendees hear from hyper-successful administrative professionals, learning strategies they can use to future proof their skills for industry changes, and even start anticipating what’s coming up next.
Good for those trying to enhance their big-picture view of their career trajectory and vision.
Location: 3 international locations
Cost: $ 1,899+
Approx time to complete: 2 days
Training description: This event is packed with inspirational speakers, in-depth workshops, and oodles of networking opportunities to help EAs make connections, get ideas, and improve their practice.
Good for those trying to enhance the support they offer CEOs, COOs, CIOs, and CFOs by deepening their technology, project management, and critical-thinking skills.
Location: Chicago, Illinois
Approx time to complete: 2-5 days
Executive Assistant Certification Training
An EA certification is a program of study or training regimen that usually culminates in a final examination. Those who meet the exam-score expectations will be awarded a professional certificate. Many certifications remain valid for a handful of years, requiring professionals to go through a recertification process.
Online Executive Assistant Certification Training
17) American Management Association – Partnering with Your Boss: Strategic Skills for Administrative Professionals
Training description: This EA and administrative assistant training bring participants closer to goals like developing partnerships, building trust, and even anticipating the boss’s needs.
American Management Association issues continuing education units (CEUs) for this course through its accreditation from the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET).
Good for those trying to improve their high-level people skills and become more persuasive, more influential, and more indispensable.
Approx time to complete: 2 days
Training description: Perfect for those striving to achieve the next level in their career development, this certificate helps take the guesswork, charisma, and intuition out of the idea of leadership and ground this often abstract characteristic within evidence-based frameworks.
Good for those trying to improve their leadership skill sets by applying practical frameworks and techniques to their interactions.
Cost: About $485.30, for the examination only. (Prices of preparation courses vary per provider.)
Approx time to complete: 2 – 7 days
Training description: This is a test to become certified proficient in your choice of over a hundred languages. It is not a program of study to learn the language. To become certified, simply select your language, your certification type, and schedule an in-person or remote exam.
Good for those trying to enhance their skills in international business, translation, and more.
Cost: Contact for pricing.
Approx time to complete: Varies, depending on current proficiency in the chosen language.
In-Person Executive Assistant Certification Training
Training description: This certification backs up your claims that you’re a savvy project manager. You must have a few prerequisites to even take the exam: participating in 23 hours of project management education, such as the institute’s project management basics online course, and possessing a secondary degree, such as a high school diploma or associate’s degree.
Good for those trying to improve their chances of leading large projects and gaining team confidence.
Location: Exam proctor locations vary
Approx time to complete: 3 hours (exam time)
Training description: The institute says this certification is perfect for “non-HR managers who manage people,” which is basically EAs in a nutshell. The certification is designed to verify a professional’s knowledge in human resources operations, employee relations, recruitment, and more.
Good for those trying to gain a comprehensive understanding of HR from outside the HR office.
Location: Pearson VUE testing centers across the country
Cost: $400 (exam and application)
Approx time to complete: 2 hours and 15 minutes (exam time)
Training description: This program covers both the training and certification. With just one program, you can pick up skills in business analysis and then test your way to a certification that provides crystal clear evidence of your skills. The business analysis certification covers the entire analysis cycle — analysis, monitoring, and planning.
Good for those trying to learn to make decisions and plans they can back up with data gleaned from self-analysis.
Approx time to complete: 21 professional development hours and 1 hour (exam time)
People Also Ask These Questions About Executive Assistant Training
Q: What qualifications do you need to be an executive assistant?
- A: Executive assistants need to have extensive qualifications in both hard and soft skills, including communication, technology, and leadership competencies. They can develop and maintain their qualifications through a comprehensive training regimen.
Q: What skills do you need to be a successful executive assistant?
- A: You need a strong foundation of resourcefulness, critical thinking, and emotional intelligence to be an executive assistant. Beyond that, the specific knowledge and skills executive assistants need are constantly changing. Learn how training programs can keep current and hopeful EAs up to speed.
Q: Which courses should executive assistants take?
- A: Executive assistants should take courses in skill areas for which they’ve observed a need or in which they want to develop in. A full list of courses that will benefit practically all executive assistants is available here.