Administrative professionals, also known as administrative assistants, executive assistants, legal assistants, and secretaries, can gain certification to prove their expertise in the field. Getting certified can also set them apart from other job applicants. Several kinds of certifications ranging from a general, comprehensive certification, to specialty certifications for legal administrative professionals or those who want to showcase their technical skills are available to administrative professionals.
Educational Requirements and Job Duties
For some basic administrative jobs, a high school diploma may be enough to gain a job. More specialized administrative roles often require an associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree. Administrative professionals have a variety of job responsibilities that vary from job to job. They may include simple and routine tasks such as filing, answering emails, and making photocopies, to more advanced work such as spreadsheet and database development and maintenance, supervision of lower level clerical staff, organizing corporate meetings and events, and preparing reports.
The Certified Administrative Professional
The International Association of Administrative Professionals created a certification known as the Certified Administrative Professional. This certification is attained by taking and passing an exam that measures knowledge of office systems, technology, administration, and communications. Once someone attains this certification, there is a specialty certification called the Technology Applications specialist designation that can be added on after meeting certain requirements. This optional addition requires that the candidate take three of the Options Technology programs offered by the IAAP, and attain Microsoft certification in one of those three areas. All of the IAAP exams are offered at testing centers around the country on specified dates.
Legal Administrative Professional Certifications
The National Association of Legal Secretaries has three distinct certifications for administrative professionals in the legal field. The Accredited Legal Professional is the basic, entry-level certification for new legal administrative support professionals. The Professional Legal Secretary certification is for experienced legal secretaries with at least three years in the field. The Professional Paralegal certification is for administrative professionals who do paralegal duties and have either several years of experience or formal education in paralegal studies. All of these certifications require candidates to take exams that are administered at different times of the year at designated testing sites across the country.
Professional Administrative Certificate of Excellence
Although not a certification, there is another way for administrative professionals to show competency in the field. The American Society of Administrative Professionals developed the Professional Administrative Certificate of Excellence. The process of attaining this certificate shows that the administrative professional is knowledgeable and dedicated. The certificate requires coursework that blends live training, online classes, and self-study. Credit can also be attained through corporate in-house training, attendance at professional conferences, and community college courses. There is no exam and the certificate is awarded upon completion of the required education and training.
Amy Whitmyre has been a writer for more than 10 years. Her career experience also includes work as an educator and market researcher and a librarian in the legal and medical fields. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Master of Science in library science and is currently working on a Master of Science in education.