I work for a national non-profit in a large-scale camp setting. I have a direct report who serves as the administrative assistant overseeing our HR/ Hiring process. He also does general office management tasks such as answering phones, etc. He has been with our organization for almost two years and had no prior experience doing this specific type of job. One of his professional development goals for the year was to attend a training that would give him tools to take his job performance to the next level. We have an in-house training offered - the Star Achievement Series Training for Administrative Staff / Certified Executive Assistant Professional; however, due to the physical distance from our national office and travel requirements involved (8 separate 1-day sessions over two years) it doesn’t seem like a financially practical thing for us to do considering the flights, hotel rooms, etc. that would be involved. I have poked around a bit and looked for alternative options, but I wasn’t sure if there were certifications I should be looking for or online courses that might be worth doing. I am a newly hired first-time manager myself.

I have considered suggesting a David Allen “Getting Things Done” course as I have found this very useful, but if there is an executive assistant type certification out there that would be more specific to his role I would prefer to send him through that type of training.


miller_sacramento's picture

There’s an older forum discussion and two podcasts on EA’s where Mark lays out solid task expectations for their success-


I do not know of any specific EA courses or certifications one could take for that role.  However, I do interact with assistants and executive assistants every day.  I do not have one of my own, though, so my recommendations are from a manager who gets to leverage only some of their skills.  Rather than focusing on a single course or short series of courses, I recommend getting the EA involved in reviewing a targeted list of the materials available within this website and others:

For starters, Foundations of Presenting Mastery shows what’s involved in presenting.  This helps an EA make their boss look good-

Follow that with the nuts and bolts of creating a presentation-

…And two more about the tech behind presenting-


Next, everyone claims to have expertise in MS Office, but it really (REALLY!) pays off to go through the available online courses.  I recommend MS Outlook in particular for assistants.

That can be followed up with courses in Word and Visio, and even on into Excel.  I mention Excel, because reporting is such a huge advantage in an EA. 

This is a sample of a training program I would build for my own assistant.  I’d follow the above with courses on Task Management, Time Management, and Creating Effective Reports (and graphs), and build on from there.  There are 'behind the scenes' podcasts on Manager-Tools that talk about how they prep and setup their own conferences that are great to leverage, too! I know I wasn’t able to provide specifically what you’d asked for, but I hope this helps!