The only thing worse for businesses that take on an incompetent employee is taking on one who’s not prepared to learn.
Despite the seemingly small title “assistant”, executive assistants are key to the smooth running of a business, making sure that everything is properly and accurately recorded for all who need to see it.
So if this is the area of work you want to get into, you should read articles like this one that highlights the best courses around for upskilling as an executive assistant to give you that competitive edge.
In this article, I’m going to present you with 5 different courses that will make you stand out from the crowd.
I’ll provide my personal experience of each course and summarize the pros and cons of each of them.
Then I’m going to give you a handy buying guide, walking through the different points to consider before you enroll, before topping off with a section where I answer your most commonly asked questions on the subject of “Courses for executive assistants”.
(Quick note – this article is going to concentrate solely on online courses.) And without further ado, let’s get straight to it!
If there’s any skill that’s important in the workplace it’s communication and interpersonal skills, which is the focus of this university-accredited course, which gives you the opportunity to practice and master strategies that will improve your relationships with your colleagues and help you to excel in your role as an executive assistant.
There are 4 online courses in the specialization, and they are as follows:
- Emotional intelligence and social intelligence
- Critical thinking and organizational skills
- Administrative professional development skills.
- The growth mindset
- Adaptability and resilience
- Networking opportunities
As the course progresses, you will also develop your communication skills in problem-solving, decision-making, brainstorming, and planning.
These essential skills will greatly help your administrative professional development effectiveness, because it’s based on actual workplace scenarios, and helps to ensure that you can solve issues.
Adapt to changing circumstances, and make tough decisions even while demonstrating that those you’re interacting with are being heard.
The course is very interactive, and rather than merely passively reviewing the free online course material, you will be required to carry out activities, assessments, reflections, and quizzes.
The course has a user rating of 4.7 stars out of 5. And once you complete each course in the specialization, you will earn a certificate.
There is financial aid available, and you can enroll for free as part of the 7-day free trial.
My experience of the course: I felt that this specialization did exactly what it set out to do, and having completed the course, I now feel much more confident about using those all-important skills.
It did take quite some time to complete though, but on the flip side, this is demonstrative of just how comprehensive the course is and how much it has to offer.
- Suitable for beginners, with no entry requirements
- You will earn a certificate on completion of the course
- It’s taught on a flexible schedule with flexible deadlines
- The course is highly rated by users with a 4.7-star rating
- You will have to put a lot of time in, and 3 hours per week over the course of 4 months is recommended
This is an officially credited course, straight from the desk of the Institute Of Executive Assistants And Administrators.
It is recognized by an international association, and this is the Level 5 version, which is as advanced as it gets. The course is composed of 3 compulsory modules and will provide online training, which is as follows:
- PA certificate course (you may be exempt if you’re already experienced)
- Executive PA course
- Microsoft Office Diploma for an EA
Then you get to choose 3 different specialist administration online courses from a choice of 13 different options, including various soft skills, bookkeeping and finance, social media and digital marketing, virtual assistance, report writing, minute taking, events management, and project management.
It’s taught through interactive online learning via a virtual classroom where students can engage directly with the course tutor.
Who, by the way, has many years of experience as executive assistant training students at a high level.
There are also work-simulated practical sessions and tests available to really maximize your learning and deeply embed the skills and knowledge being taught.
My experience of the course: I was already familiar with some of the topics covered in the course, but there was also a lot that I was unfamiliar with, and I really felt like I learned a lot.
- The course covers everything you need to know about being an executive assistant
- You can get an exemption from some of the courses if you already have relevant experience
- The course is very interactive with plenty of student-tutor engagement
- It takes 6 months to complete, and virtual classroom time is within business hours
- This diploma costs way more money than you’d pay for a cheap Udemy course. It’s a premium product at a premium price
The Microsoft Office suite still remains the most commonly used business software, and every executive assistant ought to be not just familiar with it, but confident in it.
This course is particularly good for a would-be administrative assistant who expects to use the full suite of software, or at least a good portion of it because rather than focus solely on one app, it covers several of them.
More specifically, it covers some important topics:
It’s suitable for beginners, and there are no entry requirements, but the course goes through both beginner level and intermediate level right the way through to the advanced level.
It’s divided into a whopping 162 separate sections, featuring 550 lectures, with almost a whopping 68 hours of course material.
The course content covers a lot of tasks typically required of an executive assistant, from Excel formulas, to mail merge, filtering results, creating graphs, and presentations, using features like autofill, and much more.
There have been well over 7,000 students on the course so far, and the course has an impressive user rating of 4.7 stars out of 5.
It’s also a very affordable course, available at a bargain price, and if you’re lucky you might even catch one of Udemy’s occasional offers.
What’s more, the course is even covered by a 30-day money-back guarantee if for whatever reason you’re not entirely happy with it.
My experience of the course: OK, I’m going to level with you here. I didn’t actually go through with the whole course, because not all of it was relevant to my role.
But the parts I did do I found very useful and very easy to follow. I would recommend it.
- Bargain affordable price tag – even without a discount
- An incredibly comprehensive course covering everything you need to know
- It’s one of Udemy’s best-selling online courses, with a user rating of 4.7 stars
- It can be useful for many users, including beginners through to advanced
- Unfortunately, you do not gain a certificate on completion of the course
- It would take a long time to go through all of the course material
For many small businesses, management may not have a sufficient budget to employ a dedicated manager to oversee and ensure project management.
Thus, it may fall to an executive assistant to oversee the projects instead.
And in such an instance, it would not be appropriate to take a project management course that takes several months to complete.
After all, in business time is money, and the sooner a project is completed, the sooner it starts to make money.
And the great advantage of this course is just how quick it is to complete. It will take a mere 3 hours and 20 minutes to complete and achieve the goal.
Yet it still manages to cover 11 sections from the introduction through to the conclusion.
It covers everything from the fundamentals of project management and establishing project goals and objectives right up to closing the project at the end.
Along the way, you will also learn how to develop the project plan and build a schedule, work with teams, and monitor and control progress and performance.
The course is not mere passive video watching, and you will be required to practice, and test your knowledge in 9 quizzes.
You can download the course onto your smartphone or tablet using the LinkedIn Learning app, which is available on both iOS and Android devices.
On completion of the course, the successful executive assistant will earn a LinkedIn Learning certificate, which you can download, print out, and share as an image online to demonstrate your skill
My experience of the course: This course was really easy to follow, and I liked being able to access the course material on my smartphone.
It is really helped me to fit the course around my busy schedule