Personal assistant

Alternative titles for this job include PA, executive secretary, executive assistant

Personal assistants carry out support tasks for individuals and managers including administration, diary management and event planning.

Average salary (a year)

£18,000 Starter


£50,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

37 to 40 a week

You could work

evenings occasionally

How to become a personal assistant

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working your way into the role
  • specialist courses run by private training organisations


You could do a business-related foundation degree, higher national diploma or degree.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 1 or 2 A levels for a foundation degree or higher national diploma
  • 2 to 3 A levels for a degree

More information


You could take a college qualification to help you get a job as a junior personal assistant. Courses include:

  • Level 2 Certificate in Business Support
  • Level 3 Diploma in Business Administration

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D) for a level 2 course
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) for a level 3 course

More information


You could do an intermediate or advanced level apprenticeship in business administration before working your way up to a personal assistant position.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, for an intermediate apprenticeship
  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship

More information


You could find a temporary job to get administration experience. You could then apply for permanent roles.

If you're already working as an administrator or secretary, you could become a personal assistant through company training and promotion.

To get work, you'll usually need GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) in English and maths, A levels, or equivalent qualifications.

Other routes

You could do training courses with a private training provider or through a professional body like the Institute of Administrative Management.

More information

Further information

You can find out more about working and training in business administration from the Institute of Administrative Management.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • administration skills
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to work well with others
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • knowledge of English language
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • active listening skills
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

In this role you could be

  • screening telephone calls and handling enquiries
  • organising your manager's diary and making appointments
  • dealing with letters and emails
  • arranging meetings
  • organising and maintaining office systems
  • taking notes at meetings
  • making travel arrangements
  • looking after visitors

Working environment

You could work in an office.

Career path and progression

With experience, you could move to a larger company or work for a more senior manager.

You could also move into an executive assistant (EA) role with more responsibility.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Travel Agency Apprentice

  • Wage : £180.00 Weekly
  • Location: Bedford MK40 1AL

Apprentice Business Administration Assistant

  • Wage : £307.00 Weekly
  • Location: Manchester M1 5ES

Courses In England

BTEC Level 5 HND Business Administration

  • Start date: 23 September 2019
  • Location: LONDON

Apprenticeship in Business Administration L3

  • Start date: 01 October 2019
  • Location: Harold Wood

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