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 qualification in business administration or office skills like:

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

You'll usually need to be employed in a junior administration role or be willing to do voluntary work or a work placement.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

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

More information


You could take an intermediate or advanced level apprenticeship in business administration before working your way up to a PA 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), usually including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship

More information


You could get 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 work your way up to a personal assistant role.

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

Other routes

Private training providers also offer short, intensive courses.

More information

Further information

You can find out more about professional qualifications in this area from the Institute of Administrative Management (IAM). 

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
  • you will be expected to use a computer confidently as part of this job.

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.

Training opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Office Administrator / Accounts/Tax Assistant/ Apprentice - Level 3

  • Wage : Competitive salary
  • Location: Seahouses NE68 7BB

Medical Business Administration & Support Apprentice

  • Wage : £250.00 - £280.00 Weekly
  • Location: Didcot OX11 0BB

Courses In England

"Business Administrator Diploma in Business Administration Level 2"

  • Provider: East Berkshire College
  • Start date: 21 January 2019
  • Location: Egham

Business Administration Pearson Level 1 Award

  • Provider: Richmond And Hillcroft Adult And Community College
  • Start date: 30 April 2019
  • Location: Richmond

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