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Written by:
Martin Barrett
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Courses For Executive Assistants

5 Best Courses For Executive Assistants in 2023

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!

Professional Skills For The Workplace Specialization Course With Coursera

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.

Professional Skills For The Workplace Specialization Course With Coursera


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Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • You will have to put a lot of time in, and 3 hours per week over the course of 4 months is recommended

Executive Assistant Diploma With The Institute Of Executive Assistants And Administrators

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.

Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • 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

Microsoft Office 2016 Essential Training: 9 Courses Bundle From Udemy

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:

  • Excel
  • PowerPoint
  • Word
  • OneNote
  • Access
  • VBA

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.

Microsoft Office 2016 Essential Training: 9 Course Bundle From Udemy


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Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • 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

Project Management Foundations Course From Linked In Learning

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

Project Management Foundations Course From Linked In Learning


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Pros

  • It’s very easy to follow and quick to complete
  • Suitable for both the beginner and the intermediate
  • There’s interactive content such as quizzes and exercises
  • You can access the course on iOS and Android devices
  • On completion of the course, you will earn a certificate

Cons

  • It’s not a particularly detailed course, and its strength is in how quick it is to complete
Must-Have Skills (Training) For Virtual Assistants In 2022 Course From Udemy

Must-Have Skills (Training) For Virtual Assistants In 2022 Course From Udemy

Since 2020, companies around the globe are acknowledging the great benefits of remote (and hybrid) working environments.

It’s an attractive way of working for both employees and employers. And the majority of the tasks carried out virtually by an administrative assistant.

However, your clients typically won’t have the own time or the human resources to train you on basic tasks, and you will typically be expected to hit the ground running.

Which is why it’s worth looking into VA courses. And when I saw what’s included altogether in this course, I knew it was worth checking out!

It covers online training in the most frequently requested tasks of a virtual assistant, hones your skills, and standardizes your work.

Specifically, it covers the following topics:

  • Calendar Management
  • Inbox Management
  • Expense Reporting
  • Social Media Maintenance
  • Research
  • Lead generation
  • Event planning
  • Travel booking
  • Photo/Presentation Editing
  • Making purchases

And it also covers some other really handy things besides, such as:

  • How to store client data securely
  • How quickly you should aim to respond to client emails
  • What are the best online tools for virtual executive assistants
  • How to create lists of potential clients’ positions to approach
  • How to manage company budgets, and more.

What’s more, it even comes with a free delegation e-book for you to give to your clients. There are no entry requirements for this course, and anyone is eligible.

Thousands of students have taken this course, and the course has been awarded an average user rating of an impressive 4.7 stars out of 5.

My experience of the course: It was great to have so many handy templates and scripts to work with, especially the spreadsheets.

It was such a great and effective time management course and meant that I didn’t have to overthink every step of the work. It was also surprisingly quick to complete.

Must-Have Skills (Training) For Virtual Assistants In 2022 Course From Udemy


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Pros

  • Free-to-use templates to help you work smarter not harder
  • The course content is all easy to digest and follow
  • It’s available to buy at a bargain price – especially if you manage to grab an offer

Cons

  • Unfortunately, this course does not teach you how to find clients

Best Courses For Executive Assistants Buying Guide

As promised, here’s your buying guide. Let me walk you through the key points to consider when choosing a course to build on your skills as an executive assistant.

Course Content And Its Relevance

The role of an executive assistant can be incredibly varied, and you may be expected to carry out a wide variety of tasks, depending on whether you’re an executive assistant to senior management, or within a particular department.

Thus, executive assistant courses can also be just as varied.

So, if you’re taking a course you’re already in or aspire to be in, you may wish to assess whether there are any gaps in your knowledge or skill base that you need to address and single out what course content you most need, and choose your course accordingly.

If, on the other hand, you don’t have a particular end goal in mind, you can focus on broader-reaching course content.

Please bear in mind that some skills required as an executive assistant cannot be taught through online learning, such as soft skills, how to manage people, and some other skills.

Teaching Methods

In today’s age, it is quite common for many online courses to consist primarily of passive learning through watching videos.

And although this can often be very valuable, learners often gain more by learning in a more hands-on fashion, whether it’s through carrying out projects or simply by answering questions in a quick quiz, either at the end of a course or at different stages throughout.

Recognition And Certification

The body that the course is held with has implications for how it is received by employers and would-be employers.

For example, paid-for courses run by universities typically carry more weight with employers than free courses.

You may also wish to know whether you will be presented with a certificate on successful completion of the course.

Duration And Flexibility Of The Course

If you feel that you need to take a course such as this before going into employment, you may be hoping for a course that’s short and sweet, so that you can get on the employment ladder as soon as possible.

If you are already working, however, you may prefer the idea of a course that fits your schedule.

This is particularly valuable for those who are on zero contracts and don’t really know in advance when you’ll be free.

Value For Money

Your knowledge and skill base are worthy of investment, and paid courses typically have more value for learners than free ones, as discussed earlier.

But on the flip side, you don’t want to be paying any more than you have to, and you should price up the courses you’re interested in when deciding which one to go for.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Preparation Does It Take To Become An Executive Assistant?

The truth is that there is no clearly defined route to becoming an executive assistant.

However, most job postings for the executive assistant role specify that they only wish to see candidates who have at least 3 years of experience in an administrative role.

What Are The Top 3 Skills Of An Executive Assistant?

Executive assistants often have a broad range of tasks to perform, so they require adaptability because they may be involved in one type of task at one moment, and then be doing something completely different the next.

They also have to have superb communication skills, since they will be in frequent communication with colleagues throughout the business and occasionally clients as well.

They also have to be exceptionally well organized, because they may be asked to find specific documents within a moment’s notice and be in charge of the calendar of senior colleagues, and may have to fit quite a lot into a very tight schedule.

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