What Are the Responsibilities of a Personal Assistant?

If you are the type of person who takes direction well, has a caring nature, and responds to life positively, then a personal assistant job might be right for you. Personal assistants, often referred to as PAs, work for disabled individuals or individuals who need someone to take care of day-to-day tasks around a home or office. Keep reading to learn more about the duties you'd have as a PA. Schools offering Administrative Assistant degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Overview

As a personal assistant, you perform a wide range of tasks that help the individual you work for to be more productive. Your responsibilities will be dictated by the setting in which you work; as a PA for a disabled individual, you may provide some personal care, while PAs in a company setting handle more business-related affairs. Because every employer is slightly different, your exact job duties will vary.

Important Facts About Personal Assistants

Median Salary (2015) $39,403
Required Education High school diploma, or equivalent
Professional Certification Certified Executive Personal Assistant (CPEA)
Similar Occupations Administrative assistants, executive secretaries, legal assistants, office administrators, office managers

Source: PayScale.com

Working for Disabled Individuals

One common role for a personal assistant is that of assistant to a disabled individual. In this role, you'd assist the individual with everyday tasks, including cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, getting dressed, and running errands. You might provide transportation, taking the individual wherever he or she needs to go. In some instances, you'd perform medically necessary tasks, such as bathing, bladder care, and motion exercises, according to the Progress Center for Independent Living (http://progresscil.org).

As a PA to a disabled individual, you would be hired privately by the disabled individual or one of their family members, or you may be referred by an agency. Once hired, you may spend time training and learning about the individual's special needs and routine. To make your transition into this position smoother, you might clarify with your employer your exact tasks and role.

Your employer will be dependent on you, and it'll be your job to understand the importance of his or her needs. To make sure these needs are being met in a timely, professional, and caring manner, you might reside in the individual's home part-time or full-time.

Working for a Family, Individual, or Business

Personal assistants also commonly work for families, individuals, small business owners, and other business professionals. When you work for a family or individual, your responsibilities might include preparing correspondence (such as letters, memos, and invitations), running errands, managing other household staff, taking care of the home(s), making travel arrangements, and paying bills. You might also work in a business setting, where you'd perform many of the same tasks, usually with a focus on making your employer's business dealings and life run more smoothly.

When you work in these settings, you most likely will not live with your employer. Your work will usually be completed in the daytime hours, but there might be instances where your employer will need you on a weekend or in the evening. Your position could be either full-time or part-time, depending on the needs of your employer.

Abilities and Traits

In your role as a personal assistant, you'll have many tasks to juggle. Certain traits can help you perform your PA duties smoothly. They include:

  • Good communication skills
  • The ability to take direction well
  • Promptness and dependability
  • Honesty
  • The ability to accept feedback
  • A willingness to try new things
  • Strong organizational skills
  • A flexible schedule

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