Administrative and Executive Assistant



You are More Than Your Job Title
Administrative and executive assistants support some of the largest, most profitable companies in Silicon Valley. The work you do behind the scenes can have a tremendous impact on the success of an organization. Our Administrative and Executive Assistant courses are designed to prepare you to communicate business needs, manage multiple projects and multiply your impact at work. Learn skills with immediate application course by course. Declare candidacy for a certificate to add a UC credential to your resume.

Silicon Valley Skills
Our courses are developed and taught by Silicon Valley veterans who have supported C-level executives at Cisco and Avaya and other high tech companies.

100% Confidence Boost
The AEA program validates your hard work and offers problem-solving techniques that will empower you to take the lead.

The Profession

“Shortly after graduating from the Administrative and Executive Assistant certificate program, I was offered a job at a multinational internet tech company. I firmly believe the certificate had everything to do with me receiving such a great offer.”

 Crystal Rose, Administrative Business Partner at Google and Alumna of the UCSC Extension Administrative and Executive Assistant Certificate Program

Behind Every Leader…Is An Assistant
From project management to business communications, event planning and meeting scheduling, administrative and executive assistants are now the executive's business partners in the corporate world. Our Administrative and Executive Assistant curriculum is designed to help you increase efficiency, navigate organizational change, and communicate business needs. Explore our courses to add needed skills to your job.

Average Earnings
The annual wage for executive secretaries and executive administrative assistants in the corporate world was $60,320 in May 2015. –Occupational Employment and Wages, Bureau of Labor Statistics

Market Relevance
Administrative assistant was the second most popular job for new college graduates. (U.S. News & World Report, 2018) 
How Administrative Assistant Jobs and Skills Have Changed (Robert Half, 2017)

Job Prospects
In 2017, the average increase for starting salaries across the administrative field in the US is projected at 3.5%. Compensation for senior executive assistants is expected to increase by 4.3%. –Robert Half Administrative Salary Guide


Program Objectives

As a graduate of the Administrative and Executive Assistant certificate program, you’ll have the skills to:

  • Plan and lead effective meetings
  • Manage complex projects
  • Analyze and evaluate financial statements
  • Communicate business needs in writing and presentations
  • Collaborate with diverse teams


At UCSC Extension, courses are developed by program chairs and faculty according to the rigorous University of California standards and designed to meet the economic needs of each industry. Our instructors represent the best of both worlds.

Program Co-Chairs


Bonnie Savage

BONNIE SAVAGE, program co-chair, is a founding board member of the Extension Administrative and Executive Assistant certificate program with more than 25 years' experience as a senior executive assistant in the high tech industry. She supports the president of the Life Sciences Segment at BD a global medical technology company. As leader of administrative teams, she has the talent and ability to organize and set up C-suite offices for CEOs and executives and provides resources and insight to improve overall company efficiency and teamwork. Previously, she supported the CEO of Avaya. She has held similar positions at at Agilent Technologies, Avaya, JDSU Corp., Aspect Communications, and Skystream Corp., and early-stage e-commerce and internet companies. Bonnie is a member of the Silicon Valley Catalyst Association, a group of executive assistants to Silicon Valley CEOs, and has been program chair for UCSC Extension since 2007.

Sherry Parsons

SHERRY PARSONS, B.S.B.M., program co-chair, is a founding board member of the Extension Administrative and Executive Assistant certificate program. She has more than 30 years' experience in the administrative field, including working as an executive assistant to several top executives—CEO, CCO, GM, and SVP—in Silicon Valley. Positions include executive assistant at Cisco, Avaya, Earthbound Farm, Network General, and Aspect Communications. A speaker at industry events, Sherry has served as an advisory board member for the Hilton Santa Clara and the Silicon Valley Admin Awards. In 2018, Sherry received the Colleen Barrett Award for Administrative Excellence at Silicon Valley Admin Awards. She has taught at Extension since 2006.

Advisory Board

Bonnie Savage, Senior Executive Assistant, Becton, Dickinson and Company.
Debbie Gross, Trainer and Coach for Administrative Excellence.
Sherry Parsons, Executive Assistant, Cisco.

Program Format

UCSC Extension’s Administrative and Executive Assistant program is offered at UC Santa Cruz Silicon Valley Campus, a beautiful facility located on the corner of Scott and Bowers in Santa Clara. Some courses are also available online. Choose courses according to your interest or declare candidacy in the certificate for a more comprehensive overview of the field.

Certificate Requirements

Total: 14.5 units

Required: 9 units

Elective: 5.5 units

GPA: 3.0, with a C or better in all courses.

Timeline: To earn the certificate, you must complete all minimum requirements within 3 years of declaring candidacy.

Transferring courses from other institutions: Courses completed more than 5 years prior to the date of certificate issuance cannot be used to fulfill requirements. Learn more about transferring credit here.

Required Courses

There are 5 required courses:

  • Administrative and Executive Assistants’ Practicum, 2 units
  • Business and Professional Writing, 2 units
  • Communication Skills for Administrative and Executive Assistants, 2 units
  • Finance for the Business Professional, 1 unit
  • Project Management for Administrative and Executive Assistants, 2 units


You must complete a minimum of 5.5 elective units to earn the certificate.

  • Applied Digital Marketing for Business: Tools, Technologies, Techniques and their Applications, 2 units
  • Business Communication, 2 units
  • Business Statistics I, 2.5 units
  • Business Statistics II, 2.5 units
  • Creating the Successful Team, 1.5 units
  • CRM: Customer Relationship Management Fundamentals, 2 units
  • Cultural Proficiency, 2 units
  • Facilitation Skills, 2 units
  • Interviewing for Success: Using Structured Interviewing Techniques, 0.5 units
  • Leading People Through Change, 0.5 units
  • Organizational Development and Change, Introduction, 2 units
  • Public Relations: Winning the Mindshare Battle, 1.5 units
  • Role of the Project Manager, 1.5 units
  • Schedule Optimization Techniques for Managers, 1.5 units
  • Social Media Marketing Fundamentals , 2 units


Want to learn more about our curriculum in person? Join us for a free Info Session to learn more about our courses, faculty, and program requirements. Learn more on our Events page.


The rough cost Administrative and Executive certificate is estimated at $5000.



No application is required to enroll in our courses or certificate programs. Information about our open enrollment process can be found on our Enrollment page. If you have any questions about our programs, please contact the UCSC Extension Outreach office by phone at 408-861-3860, or by email at

From the schedule below, click on a course title to see sections available for enrollment. You may view the full course schedule, or enroll in the course, by clicking the respective button. The course type offerings (classroom, online, blended) are guidelines and subject to change. A blended (hybrid) course has both classroom and online components.

Declaring Candidacy

If you intend to pursue a certificate, declaring candidacy establishes program requirements early in your studies, so any subsequent curriculum changes do not affect your progress. It does not limit what courses you can take; and it helps you structure your professional development program for maximum benefit to you. Go the declare candidacy page to establish your requirements for this program. Certificate program requirements must be completed within three years of declaring candidacy.

Course Schedule

1. Required Courses
2. Elective Courses
3. Required Certificate Review
classroom : Classroom
online : Online
hybrid : Blended
Offering Code Offering Units Fall Winter Spring Summer
O-CE0000 Administrative and Executive Assistant Certificate Completion Review Online Online Online Online