Are administrative certifications necessary for landing an admin job? Can a certification advance your admin career?
Administrative training courses can boost your resume to help you stand out in a crowded field. They help you maintain the required admin skills and adapt to the current expectations of the industry.
In this post, we’ll cover why you might choose to gain an administrative certification as well as what you need to know about the top certification programs.
Are Admin Certificates Worth It?
There is no clear answer to whether or not an administrative certificate is worthwhile. It depends entirely on your previous education, experience in the industry, skills, as well as the requirements of the jobs you plan to apply for.
A certification may be the difference between you or your competitor landing a job, or it may not make a difference in the hiring process at all. It’s best to assess your own skills and relevant experience when choosing whether or not you need a certification. Even if you have years of experience, you may be missing something on your resume, or you could lack the technical skills needed to manage a 21st century office.
Do You Have Common Administrative Requirements?
Office admins perform a wide range of clerical duties. They oversee administrative staff and complete tasks related to the management of a business. The flexibility of the role means there are a number of skills required to fulfill the position in any given office.
Take a close look at the common requirements of administrative roles. This will help you understand what gaps you may have in your own education or experience. Look at the required skills listed on open administration positions, even if you don’t plan on applying for that job.
Do you have these skills? How much experience do you have completing relevant admin duties?
Some commonly required skills include:
- Microsoft Office Suite
- Online Calendars
- Data entry
- Budget management
- Answering phones
- Printing, photocopying, faxing
- Event planning
- Office inventory management
Some office administration positions, such as jobs in health organizations or legal offices, require additional knowledge of the specific industry.
If you are missing relevant skills or don’t feel comfortable with common admin requirements, it may be time for a certification to get yourself up to speed.
Do You Lack Previous Experience?
If you are just getting started as an office administrator, you may not have the hands-on experience employers are looking for. You can supplement your lack of experience in the industry with an admin certification.
Achieving an admin certification will show potential employers that you possess the most up to date knowledge of each requirement needed to fulfill an admin role.
Are You Having Difficulties Finding a Job?
Not landing the jobs you want? If you are having a tough time getting a job in administration, it may be time for additional training through a certification program.
Added training may be exactly what you need to fill in the missing aspects of your resume. A certification program can boost you above the competition to help you land that admin position.
Have You Adapted to Technological Advancements?
You may have years of experience in an administrative field, but have you kept up with technological advancements in the office? If you don’t have the required technological skills for your position, you may be falling behind in your job or you may find it difficult to land another.
A certification can help you improve your skills in your industry so that you never fall behind the current office standards.
Top Administrative Certifications
Professional Administrative Certification of Excellence (PACE)
The PACE Certification helps people master their core skills in communications, project management, people management, and digital technology. The PACE Certification is developed and authorized by the American Society of Administrative Professionals (ASAP)—the largest international association of its kind with more than 75,000 members.
The PACE Certification can increase your career options and earning power. It’s widely recognized as a career achievement, and once certified, office admins can add the PACE designation to their signature to signify their achievement.
The PACE program offers a Study Plan, Study Guide, Training Videos, as well as four Training Modules covering 31 knowledge areas that students can access online anytime year-round in preparation for taking the test. In other words, you make your own schedule, so you can take the training at your own pace. That said, the exam must be completed within one year of enrollment. Everyone is eligible to complete a PACE Certification, regardless of educational background.
The PACE program and certification costs $375. Recertification costs $75 every two years and requires 12 hours of training per year.
Certified Administrative Professional (CAP)
The Certified Administrative Professional (CAP) Certification is an NCCA-accredited credential designed specifically for admin professionals. The NCCA is the credentialing arm of the Institute of Credentialing Excellence (ICE) and verifies that the CAP meets national and international credentialing industry standards for certification programs.
The CAP works a little differently than the PACE Certification. It’s only available during two three-week-long windows per year—one in the spring and one in the fall. It’s also not available online, so participants will need to take the exam at a testing center. Another difference is participants need to have some education and work experiences to qualify to take the exam.
The exam is based on a blueprint called the Body of Knowledge (BOK) and covers six domains and 47 Performance Outcomes (PO). The exam itself takes three hours to complete and consists of approximately 200-225 multiple choice questions. It is computer-based and taken in person at an approved proctored testing center.
They also offer the CAP (ip), or the Certified Administrative Professional In Progress. It’s specifically designed for students who graduate from an office professional program with a 2-year degree but lack the necessary years of professional experience to find a job.
The CAP costs $375, but study materials and textbooks are an additional cost available through the IAAP. Recertification requires 12 hours of training per year and costs $100 every three years.
Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS)
A Microsoft Office Specialist certification (MOS) shows your knowledge and experience with today’s technical roles and requirements. A MOS certifies your expertise with a specific Office program—demonstrating to prospective employers that you know your stuff when it comes to Microsoft Office. Holding a MOS certification can earn an entry-level business employee thousands more in their annual salary than their uncertified coworkers.
A typical exam takes about 90 minutes. They are taken in-person at a Certiport Authorized Testing Center. The exams are performance-based and conducted in a simulated environment. After you’ve earned that certificate, you can move on to a MOS Expert or MOS Master certification by passing additional exams.
Project Management Professional Certification
Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)
The Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) is designed to enhance your credibility and effectiveness working on or with project teams. It’s an important exam to consider if you’d like to expand your responsibilities and add project management to your resume.
The CAPM exam is available to take online. The price of the exam for members is $225, and $300 for non-members. The exam takes about three hours to complete and has 150 questions. To maintain a CAPM, the exam must be retaken every five years. Prerequisites include a high school diploma (could be an associate degree or global equivalent) as well as 23 hours of project management education fulfilled through their Project Management Basics online course.
Administrative Assistant Associations and Communities
The American Society of Administrative Professionals (ASAP)
The American Society of Administrative Professionals (ASAP) is the largest international association for Executive Assistants and Administrative Professionals, with more than 75,000 members. They are dedicated to addressing the changing roles and increasingly demanding responsibilities of office administrators. They provide year-round access to articles, webinars, topic-based training packages, as well as the PACE certification program mentioned above, all designed to advance the admin profession.
International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP)
The International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP) is a non-profit professional association serving the administrative profession. The organization is dedicated to helping office and administrative professionals advance their careers in a demanding environment that’s always evolving. They provide a community for administrative professionals with shared goals, responsibilities, strengths, and challenges.
OfficeNinjas is a community of administrative professionals and workplace operators—aka: Office Ninjas—committed to leading valued and fulfilling professional lives. OfficeNinjas provides a community that supports admins with industry-specific content and connections to tech resources, educational content, career development opportunities, networking events, and trusted vendors.
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