Difference Between an Administrative Assistant and Executive Assistant

There is a big difference between an administrative assistant and executive assistant. In general executive assistants make more money, and enjoy a more prestige than administrative assistants. This is because executive assistants serve executives. They are essentially the right hand of the people in power...people like CEOs, CFOs, presidents, vice presidents, and others.

Administrative assistants, on the other hand, generally deal with the mundane tasks associated with keeping a business in order. In other words, filing, answering phones, scheduling meetings, greeting visitors, etc. This isn't to say you won't do these types of things as an executive assistant...in fact, you probably will. However, as an executive assistant, you'll probably be called on to do a lot more duties that require more finesse and greater sensitivity to time and require you to have a certain degree of business acumen.

Differences in Salaries

The Bureau of Labor and Statistics reported in May of 2011 the median salary for executive assistants was $16.66 an hour. Compare that to administrative assistants, who made $23.13 an hour. If we look at this in yearly figures, administrative assistants make over $13,000 a year more than executive assistants. The totals being $48,120 a year for executive assistants and $34,660 a year for administrative assistants.

Differences in Education

Administrative assistants need a high school diploma with basic office and computer skills to qualify for entry-level administrative assistant positions. Employers of executive assistants, on the other, generally prefer candidates with a four-year degree in business or related field.