What Is a Certified Administrative Professional?

A certified administrative professional has demonstrated their excellence in office management through earning a voluntary credential. Continuing read to learn more about this field the the requirements for becoming certified. Schools offering Administrative Assistant degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Defined

A certified administrative professional is a secretary or administrative assistant who has earned a voluntary credential from the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP). Earning the designation demonstrates to potential employees that you have professional skills in general office procedures and practices, communications, and technology. The certification also shows that you are willing to improve upon your skills to work as an administrative assistant, secretary, or office manager.

Important Facts About This Occupation

Key Skills Integrity, organizational, and interpersonal skills
Work Environment Full-time, typically in an office setting
On-the-Job Training Typically a few weeks in duration
Similar Occupations Court Reporter, Information Clerk, Legal Assistant, Receptionist

Earning the CAP Credential

To achieve certification through the IAAP, you need to fill out an application, submit fees for the exam, and select a testing location. You also need to submit proof of a high school diploma and any college transcripts from courses you may have taken. The organization provides a study exam booklet that includes information on office terms, concepts, and procedures.

While you don't need a college degree to take this exam, the IAAP does require you to have administrative experience. The amount of experience depends on the level of education you have completed. Experience requirements range from two to four years and must be documented by an employer. For example, if you have no postsecondary training, you need four years of experience, and if you have a bachelor's degree, you need two years of experience. Recertification is required every five years, and you must complete continuing education classes.

Test Prep Courses

If you already have experience in the administrative assistant field and are preparing for the CAP exam, several colleges and universities offer prep or refresher courses. These programs provide a review of the material found on the IAAP exam, including topics in office administration, office technology, and management techniques.

Job Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov) indicates that having a CAP certification is a prominent designation. Many employers promote from within, so having this sort of certification can help you move up through the office ranks. In May 2014, the BLS indicated that the mean annual wage for secretaries and administrative assistants was $34,500, and that employment for this field is expected to increase by 3% between 2014 and 2024.

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