Have you thought about earning a professional certification? Here’s what you need to know about one of the top options for administrative professionals — the IAAP Certified Administrative Professional®.
People seek professional certifications for many reasons. They may become inspired by a certified co-worker or friend, strive to meet a professional goal determined by an employer or simply want to validate their skills and knowledge. In any case, earning a certification can be very rewarding and self-fulfilling.
Professional certification is a distinction that sets you apart from others. It’s an investment in your career that shows employers, customers and co-workers that you are committed to the profession. If you enjoy your job and are good at what you do, why not back that up with the Certified Administrative Professional® (CAP) designation from IAAP, the premier association for administrative professionals?
Here is what the IAAP CAP certification can do for you:
• Improve your professional qualifications
• Build invaluable personal and professional confidence
• Open new doors in the job market
• Advance your career to the next level
• Allow you to become the “go-to” resource in your office
• Give you the potential to earn a higher salary or receive a promotion or bonus.
More benefits to professional certification
Why else should you consider taking the IAAP CAP exam? The IAAP CAP is the only recognized professional certification program in the administrative profession that encompasses all areas of the office. Candidates are tested in areas such as communication (verbal, nonverbal and written), scheduling and meeting planning, research and report writing, document production, records management and financial functions. In addition, candidates must be proficient in office equipment, have strong technical skills and general knowledge in human resources.
IAAP CAP holders have the option of taking an additional exam to earn a specialty in the area of Organizational Management (OM). This exam covers content in the areas of organizational planning, advanced communication, advanced administration and team skills.
Qualifying for the IAAP CAP exam
To qualify for the IAAP CAP exam, you must have education and/or current administrative experience. Without a college degree, four years of administrative experience is required. The experience can be reduced to three years if you have a business-related associate's degree, or two years if you have a bachelor’s degree or higher in a business-related field.
Preparing for the exam will vary with each individual. Some people can prepare for the exam in a few months; others may require more time. Your experience, current knowledge of the content and study habits are all factors to consider. The first step is making the commitment. For most people, it’s probably been awhile since they've had to study for a college-level exam. Scheduling time to study and developing good study habits will be important. Most individuals prepare for the exam on their own through self-study. The recommended study materials are college references provided in the IAAP CAP Study Guide. These materials are used in creating the exam questions. Although not managed by IAAP, candidates may also find it helpful to form or participate in local study groups. For members of IAAP, the IAAP Community is a great place to connect and network with other exam applicants.
Continuing education for administrative professionals
Once you've passed the exam, there's one more step left: continuing education. Employers expect administrative professionals to stay abreast of trends in the industry and to adapt to changes, and this can be verified by the continuing education necessary to maintain the IAAP CAP certification. Continuing education ensures your skills remain current and fresh, and that you’re equipped with the knowledge to meet new challenges. IAAP recertification is required every five years for an individual to keep their professional certification status. CAP holders can earn recertification credit by holding office, chairing a committee and by earning other professional or technical certifications, such as Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS).
Don’t wait — apply for the IAAP CAP today. Visit IAAP for more information.
Are you a Certified Administrative Professional®? What advice would you give to others preparing for the exam?