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Top 10 Executive Secretary Certifications

This article outlines the top executive secretary certifications available, including their requirements and benefits.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 18 min read

Certifications are important for an executive secretary in the job market because they demonstrate a certain level of knowledge and skill. They can also be used to prove that an individual has the qualifications necessary to perform a wide range of tasks, from managing executive calendars to coordinating meetings and events. Certifications provide employers with assurance that the individual is prepared to take on these responsibilities, which can make them more attractive candidates for positions. In addition, certifications may also open up opportunities for advancement as well as access to higher salaries.

The purpose of this article is to provide information on the best certifications available for Executive Secretarys and how they can help advance their careers.

What are Executive Secretary Certifications?

Executive secretary certification is a professional designation given to individuals who have completed a specialized training program and achieved a certain level of expertise in the field. This certification provides a valuable credential that demonstrates an individual’s knowledge and experience in the role of an executive secretary. It is designed to help those interested in pursuing a career as an executive secretary, as well as those already in the profession who are looking to advance their careers.

The certification program covers topics such as office administration, organizational skills, communication techniques, and computer technology. By completing this coursework, individuals gain the knowledge and skills necessary to effectively manage their responsibilities as an executive secretary. The program also helps professionals stay up-to-date on the latest industry trends and best practices.

Having executive secretary certification can provide numerous benefits to individuals seeking employment or advancement opportunities. A certified individual can demonstrate their expertise in the field, which will make them more attractive to potential employers or promotions within their current organization. Additionally, many employers prefer candidates with certifications because it shows that they have invested time and effort into their professional development. Furthermore, having this credential may help increase salary offers when negotiating new positions or promotions within an organization.

Pro Tip: Before pursuing an executive secretary certification, make sure to do your research on the different types of certifications available and their requirements. This will help you understand which certification is best suited for you and your career goals. Additionally, be sure to review the cost of the certification, as well as any prerequisites or continuing education requirements that may need to be met in order to maintain your certification.

Related: What does an Executive Secretary do?

Top 10 Executive Secretary Certifications

Here’s our list of the best certifications available to Executive Secretarys today.

1. Certified Professional Secretary (CPS)

Certified Professional Secretary (CPS) is a professional certification program administered by the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP). The CPS designation is recognized globally as an indication of excellence in administrative and office management skills. It certifies that those who have earned it possess the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to perform their job duties effectively in today’s business environment.

To become certified as a Certified Professional Secretary, you must meet certain eligibility requirements and pass an exam. To be eligible for the CPS exam, you must have at least two years of full-time work experience in an administrative support role or a combination of education and work experience totaling at least four years.

The CPS exam consists of 200 multiple-choice questions covering topics such as office technology, communication, customer service, project management, problem solving and decision making, finance and accounting principles, human resources management principles and practices, legal issues affecting the workplace, and organizational behavior. The exam takes approximately four hours to complete.

The cost to take the CPS exam varies depending on your IAAP membership status. For non-members it costs $295 USD; for members it costs $195 USD; for student members it costs $95 USD; and for retired members it costs $50 USD.

2. Certified Administrative Professional (CAP)

Certified Administrative Professional (CAP) is a professional certification program administered by the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP). This certification is designed to recognize individuals who demonstrate excellence in their administrative roles. It is one of the most widely recognized and respected credentials for administrative professionals.

It typically takes between six months and two years to complete the CAP program, depending on your individual learning style and experience level. The program consists of four courses: Business Communication & Writing, Technology & Information Systems, Leadership & Management, and Organizational Behavior & Human Resources. Each course requires approximately 40 hours of study time and includes an online assessment at the end of each course.

To get certified as a CAP, you must first become a member of IAAP and then register for the CAP program. Once you have completed all four courses, you must pass the CAP exam with a score of 70% or higher in order to be certified.

The cost for the CAP program varies depending on your membership status with IAAP. If you are already an IAAP member, you can expect to pay around $800 for the entire program including all four courses and exam fee. If you are not yet an IAAP member, then you will need to pay an additional fee for your membership before registering for the CAP program which brings the total cost up to around $1,000.

3. Certified Executive Secretary (CES)

Certified Executive Secretary (CES) is a professional certification program that recognizes the knowledge and skills of executive secretaries, administrative assistants, and other support professionals. The program is administered by the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP).

The CES certification requires applicants to demonstrate their knowledge in areas such as communication, problem solving, time management, technology, customer service, and business writing. Applicants must also pass a comprehensive exam that covers topics related to office management.

It typically takes about two months to complete the certification process. To get started, applicants must first submit an application to IAAP along with a fee of $295 USD. Once accepted into the program, applicants will receive access to online study materials and practice exams. After studying for the exam, applicants can register to take the exam at one of IAAP's testing centers around the world.

The cost for taking the exam is $195 USD and it typically takes about three hours to complete. Upon successful completion of the exam, applicants will be awarded their Certified Executive Secretary (CES) credential.

4. Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS)

Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) is a certification program that validates an individual’s skills in the Microsoft Office suite of products. It is designed to help individuals demonstrate their proficiency in the use of Microsoft Office applications such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Access. The MOS certification is offered by Certiport, a Pearson VUE company.

It typically takes between 2-4 hours to complete the MOS exams depending on the level of expertise you have with the application being tested. To get certified, you must pass one or more exams for each application you wish to be certified in. Each exam consists of multiple-choice questions and performance-based tasks that measure your ability to complete specific tasks within the application.

The cost for each exam varies depending on where you take it and which version of Microsoft Office you are testing for. Generally speaking, each exam costs around $100 USD. Additionally, there may be additional fees associated with taking the exams at certain locations or if special accommodations are required.

Once you have passed all necessary exams for each application you wish to be certified in, you will receive a digital badge from Certiport that verifies your achievement as a Microsoft Office Specialist. This badge can then be used to demonstrate your proficiency in Microsoft Office products to employers or other organizations.

5. Certified Legal Secretary (CLS)

A Certified Legal Secretary (CLS) is a professional certification that recognizes the knowledge and skills of legal secretaries. The certification is offered by the National Association of Legal Secretaries (NALS), which is an organization dedicated to providing education, resources, and support to legal secretaries.

The CLS certification requires that applicants have at least two years of experience in the field of law, as well as a high school diploma or equivalent. Applicants must also complete a series of courses and pass an exam administered by NALS. The courses cover topics such as legal terminology, office procedures, document preparation, and ethics.

The entire process typically takes about three months to complete. The cost for the program varies depending on the number of courses taken and whether or not you choose to take them online or in person. Generally speaking, it costs around $500-$600 for all materials and fees associated with obtaining the CLS certification.

6. Certified Professional Administrative Assistant (CPAA)

Certified Professional Administrative Assistant (CPAA) is a professional certification program designed to recognize administrative professionals who have demonstrated a high level of expertise in their field. The CPAA certification is offered by the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP).

The CPAA program consists of three levels: Certified Professional Administrative Assistant (CPAA), Certified Professional Executive Assistant (CPEA), and Certified Professional Virtual Assistant (CPVA). Each level requires the successful completion of an exam and a portfolio review.

To become certified, applicants must have at least five years of experience in an administrative role, or two years of experience if they hold an associate's degree or higher in a related field. They must also complete an application form and submit it to IAAP for review.

It typically takes six months from the time you submit your application until you receive your certification. During that time, IAAP will review your application and portfolio to determine if you meet the criteria for certification.

The cost for the CPAA program varies depending on which level you are applying for. The fee for the CPAA level is $395 USD; the fee for CPEA is $495 USD; and the fee for CPVA is $595 USD. The fees include all materials needed to complete the program as well as access to online study resources and practice exams.

7. National Association of Legal Secretaries Certification (NALS)

The National Association of Legal Secretaries (NALS) Certification is a professional certification program designed to recognize legal secretaries who have achieved a high level of knowledge and experience in the legal field. It is an independent, non-profit organization that provides recognition and credentials to those who demonstrate their proficiency in the areas of legal terminology, court systems, document preparation, legal research, and other related topics.

To obtain NALS certification, an individual must have at least two years of full-time work experience as a legal secretary or paralegal. The applicant must also pass a comprehensive exam that covers all aspects of the legal profession. The exam consists of multiple choice questions and essays on various topics related to the practice of law.

The process for obtaining NALS certification typically takes about three months from start to finish. After completing the application form and submitting it along with supporting documentation (such as proof of work experience), applicants will receive an email notification when their application has been approved. Once approved, applicants can then register for the certification exam which is offered twice per year in April and October.

The cost for taking the NALS certification exam is $200 USD plus applicable taxes and fees. This fee includes access to study materials prior to taking the exam as well as access to online resources after passing the exam. Additionally, there are additional fees associated with maintaining your certification status such as annual membership dues and continuing education requirements.

8. International Association of Administrative Professionals Certification (IAAP)

The International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP) Certification is a professional certification program for administrative professionals. It is designed to recognize and validate the knowledge, skills, and abilities of administrative professionals in the workplace. The program provides an opportunity for administrative professionals to demonstrate their commitment to professional development and excellence in their field.

IAAP Certification is offered in three levels: Certified Administrative Professional (CAP), Advanced Certified Administrative Professional (ACAP), and Master Certified Administrative Professional (MCAP). Each level requires a certain number of hours of continuing education and/or experience, as well as passing a comprehensive exam. The exams cover topics such as business communication, customer service, project management, office technology, and more.

It typically takes around two years to complete the IAAP Certification program. In order to get certified, you must first become a member of IAAP by paying an annual membership fee. Then you must complete the required coursework or training for each level of certification. Once you have completed all requirements for your desired level of certification, you will need to register for the exam and pay the associated fee.

The cost of IAAP Certification varies depending on which level you are pursuing. For example, CAP certification costs $195 USD plus a $50 application fee; ACAP certification costs $295 USD plus a $50 application fee; and MCAP certification costs $395 USD plus a $50 application fee.

Overall, obtaining IAAP Certification can be beneficial for administrative professionals who want to demonstrate their commitment to professional development and excellence in their field.

9. American Society of Administrative Professionals Certification (ASAP)

The American Society of Administrative Professionals (ASAP) Certification is an industry-recognized certification program that provides professional development and recognition for administrative professionals. It is designed to recognize the knowledge, skills, and abilities of administrative professionals in their field. The credential is awarded to those who demonstrate a mastery of essential core competencies as well as specialized knowledge in their chosen area of expertise.

To obtain the ASAP certification, applicants must complete an online application and submit official transcripts from an accredited college or university or a recognized training program. Applicants must also pass a comprehensive exam covering topics such as office management, customer service, communication skills, technology skills, project management, and more. The exam consists of 150 multiple-choice questions and takes approximately three hours to complete.

The cost of the ASAP certification varies depending on whether you are taking the exam at a testing center or online. If taken at a testing center, the cost is $295 USD plus any applicable taxes and fees. If taken online, the cost is $245 USD plus any applicable taxes and fees.

Once you have passed the exam and received your certification, it will be valid for three years from the date you earned it before needing to renew it through continuing education activities or retaking the exam.

10. Project Management Professional Certification (PMP)

Project Management Professional (PMP) Certification is a globally recognized certification program for project managers. The PMP certification is administered by the Project Management Institute (PMI). It is designed to demonstrate that an individual has the knowledge and experience necessary to successfully manage projects of any size and complexity.

The PMP certification process requires applicants to have a minimum of three years of project management experience, as well as 4,500 hours leading and directing projects, 35 hours of formal project management education or training, and successful completion of an exam. The exam consists of 200 multiple-choice questions covering topics such as project integration management, scope management, cost management, quality management, human resource management, communication management, risk management, procurement management and stakeholder engagement.

It typically takes four to six months to complete the PMP certification process. During this time period you will need to gather your work experience documentation and complete the application process with PMI. You will also need to register for the exam and begin studying for it.

The cost of obtaining a PMP certification varies depending on whether you are a member or non-member of PMI. For members it costs $405 for the application fee plus $405 for the exam fee. For non-members it costs $555 for the application fee plus $555 for the exam fee.

Overall, obtaining a PMP certification can be a rewarding endeavor that demonstrates your commitment to professional excellence in project management.

Do You Really Need a Executive Secretary Certificate?

The answer to this question depends on a variety of factors. First, it is important to consider the type of job for which you are applying and the requirements for that position. If an executive secretary certificate is required for a particular job, then it is essential to obtain one in order to be considered for the position. If, however, an executive secretary certificate is not required but would be beneficial to your career prospects, then it may be worth considering obtaining such a certificate.

Executive secretary certificates can provide valuable knowledge and skills that are necessary for success in the field. Such certificates typically include courses in office management, administrative support, customer service, computer applications and communication skills. In addition to gaining knowledge and skills related to the day-to-day tasks of an executive secretary, these courses also provide training in leadership and problem-solving abilities that are critical when taking on managerial roles or working with executives or other high-ranking personnel. Furthermore, having a certificate can demonstrate your commitment to professional development and demonstrate your desire to stay current with industry trends and best practices.

Ultimately, whether or not you need an executive secretary certificate will depend on your specific goals and needs as well as what is required by any potential employers. If you are looking for a competitive edge over other candidates in the job market or if you want to broaden your skill set and take on more responsibilities within your current organization, then obtaining such a certificate may be beneficial.

Related: Executive Secretary Resume Examples

FAQs About Executive Secretary Certifications

1. What is an executive secretary certification?

Answer: An executive secretary certification is a professional qualification that recognizes the expertise and knowledge of individuals who work as secretaries or administrative assistants in executive roles. The certification is designed to demonstrate competence in areas such as communication, organization, and problem-solving skills.

2. What are the requirements for obtaining an executive secretary certification?

Answer: Requirements vary depending on the certifying body, but typically include passing an exam, having relevant work experience, and completing a certain number of continuing education hours. Some programs may also require completion of coursework or additional training activities.

3. How long does it take to obtain an executive secretary certification?

Answer: The amount of time required to obtain a certification varies depending on the program, but most programs can be completed in 6 months to 1 year.

4. Are there any prerequisites for earning an executive secretary certification?

Answer: Yes, some certifying bodies may require applicants to have specific educational qualifications or job experience prior to applying for the certification program. It is important to review the requirements of each certifying body carefully before beginning any program.

5. How much does it cost to obtain an executive secretary certification?

Answer: Cost varies depending on the certifying body and other factors such as location and study materials used, but typically ranges from $500-$2,000 USD.