Certifications give professionals the skills and verification of their competence to work in a given job. Administrative assistant certifications can significantly add to your resume and help you stand out in a crowded industry. The following article covers what you need to know about the best certifications for administrative assistants.
We’ll also look at free administrative assistant certifications for those on a budget. But first, let’s take a deeper look at what an administration certification is and how much of a difference a certification can make to your future annual wage.
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What Is an Administration Certification?
An administration certification is a formal credential designed to tell employers of your competencies, skills, and abilities to perform administrative tasks. As an administrative professional, you’ll need to have some professional experience before enrolling in most certification programs. Also, some administrative assistant certifications require holders to satisfy specific requirements to maintain their certification credentials.
How Much Can You Earn With an Administrative Assistant Certification?
Certified administration assistants, such as those who are CAP (certified administrative professionals) holders, earn an annual salary of $62,000, according to PayScale. In contrast, PayScale estimates that the average salary for an executive assistant is $40,609 per year. This shows that earning professional certifications increases your chances of earning higher salaries.
Why Is an Administrative Assistant Certification Important?
An administrative assistant certification is important because it increases your eligibility for ‘better’ administrative roles that pay significantly higher salaries. You’ll also gain many advanced skills, including time management, organizational communication, business writing, documentation, file management, and project management. The main reasons are further explored below.
Career Growth Opportunities
Certifications are a great way of demonstrating your competencies and skills to an employer. Promotions at the workplace are given based on experience, the value created, and level of education. Earning a certification demonstrates to an employer that you are committed to professional development by creating value for them through your newly acquired essential skills.
Broadened and Strengthened Skillset
Certifications, unlike degree programs and certificates, are issued to professionals in recognition of an individual’s skills and knowledge as opposed to results from an educational process. By earning one, you’ll be future-proofing your key skills and career goals. Some certifications might even help you prepare for your next administrative assistant interview.
Makes You More Marketable
Earning a professional certification enhances your credentials on your resume and overall career trajectory. After earning your certification, be sure to highlight it in your resume. This solidifies your skill claims and gives you a competitive edge in a highly competitive job market.
Best Certifications for Administrative Assistants at a Glance
|Certified Administrative Professional (CAP)||$375 (members),
|To be eligible for this professional program, you need to meet any one of the three requirements:
A bachelor’s degree with two years of work experience, or
No college degree with four years of work experience
|Professional Administrative Certification of Excellence (PACE)||$375 (Basic enrollment option), $595 (Premium enrollment option)||No prerequisites|
|Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS)||$100 per exam||No prerequisites|
|Administrative Assistant Certification (CAA)||$175 (certification exam), $19.95 (practice exam)||This certification is available to everyone with formal training and work experience|
|Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)||$225 (members), $300 (non-members)||To be eligible for this certification, you’ll need a high school diploma or associate’s diploma and 23 hours of project management education completed by the time you sit down for the exam|
|HR Certified Professional (IPMA-CP)||$999 (members) or $1,299 (non-members) for the public sector essentials course, $100 for the IPMA-CP certification exam||No prerequisites|
|IPMA-HR Senior Certified Professional||$350 (members), $400 (non-members)||You must demonstrate you fulfill an HR role in your agency, have worked 1 year in the public sector, and have human resources work experience ranging from 2 years to 8 years depending on your level of education|
Top Administrative Assistant Certifications: A Closer Look
Certified Administrative Professional (CAP)
The Certified Administrative Professional (CAP) is a professional program designed for the administrative or office professional. It’s accredited by the National Commission For Certifying Agencies (NCCA), one of the nation’s most respected accreditation agencies. Having this certificate is an excellent way to show that you are serious about your role and have the skills to show it.
The certification exams cover six areas, including organizational communication, business writing, and document production, technology and information distribution, office and records management, event and project management, and operational functions. It’s three hours long and has approximately 225 multiple-choice questions.
Professional Administrative Certification of Excellence (PACE)
The PACE program was designed to help administrative professionals support executives in today’s evolving business climate. With over 2,900 certifications issued, this is easily one of the most popular online programs mentioned in this list.
The skills you’ll pick up include interpersonal communication, project management, meeting planning, video conferencing, business writing, internet security, and problem-solving. You don’t need any relevant work experience or a bachelor’s degree to enroll in this program.
Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS)
Close to one million businesses in the United States use Microsoft Office products, according to Statista. This means that you are likely to use Microsoft Office applications as an administrative professional, wherever your career journey takes you.
For this reason, it would be in your best interest to pursue certifications in this field. Earning a Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) certification means earning technical skills that come in handy when interacting with office applications.
Administrative Assistant Certification (CAA)
The Administrative Assistant Certification (CAA) is a professional program delivered by the National Career Certification Board (NCCB). Earning this certification demonstrates your abilities to perform as an administrative assistant/ secretary across a wide range of professional settings.
Students are free to take practice exams before taking the main certification exam, which comprises 80 questions. You’ll receive online training and take the exam online. You’ll be able to perform clerical duties and other administrative duties after completing this program.
Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)
This is an entry-level asset designed to distinguish you from others in your field while enhancing your credibility working in project teams. Issued by the Project Management Institute, you can take this program online or at the office 24/7. Project management is the core of this certification. However, you can expect to pick up other essential skills, including leadership and organizational skills.
HR Certified Professional (IPMA-CP)
You should consider this certification if your career goals include pursuing the knowledge and skills necessary to take your human resources (HR) career to the next level in the public sector. It is designed for both beginners and experts working in HR in the public sector. Holding this certification is key to unlocking a wide array of career benefits, including promotions and an increase in your average salary.
IPMA-HR Senior Certified Professional
If you are a seasoned worker with many years of experience, consider earning this certification. It is delivered by the IPMA-HR institution, which allows professionals to make their applications online and take their exams online as well.
Free Administration Certifications Worth Your Time
- Office Administration (Short Course). With over 59,000 people enrolled in this program, HSC’s free online office administration certificate program is designed to help those on a tight budget to take their business careers to the next level.
Are Administrative Assistant Certifications Worth It?
Yes, administrative assistant certifications are worth it, especially when considering the immense value they place on your career’s trajectory. Earning a certification solidifies your claims as a skilled executive assistant with the documentation to prove it. Earning these credentials also puts you in a favorable position to land promotions or ‘better’ jobs as you’ll stand out from others in this competitive field.
Best Certifications for Administrative Assistants FAQ
The top three skills of an administrative assistant are time management skills, interpersonal skills, and organizational skills. These skills are cornerstones of the role of administrative assistant, and all need to be strong to be successful in the position.
The best degree for becoming an administrative assistant is an Associate Degree or Bachelor’s Degree in Business, Communications, or Education, according to the Occupational Outlook Handbook by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, a degree is typically not required to work as an administrative assistant. On-the-job administrative assistant training and prior work experience are more highly valued for this role.
The best way to improve your administrative skills is through training. Online professional courses are very popular among professionals in the administrative field as they allow professionals to study at their own convenience. Certification programs are ideal as they unlock many career doors, including promotions and increased salaries.
The best career path for administrative assistants starts by earning a high school diploma, followed by a two or four-year degree, and then pursuing professional certifications.
According to BLS, there are over 3.3 million administrative assistants in America, making it a competitive field to land a job. This means that earning degrees and certifications will help you stand out during your job search.
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