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Administrative Specialist Certificates: Program Summaries

Learn about administrative specialist certificate programs. Find out about courses, career options, salary trends and continuing education for graduates.

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Essential Information

An office administrative specialist certificate program can help students enhance their skills in communications, scheduling, customer service and common office computer applications. Most programs are short-term and require the completion of around 18 credits. Students interested in completing an administrative specialist certificate program may choose a program that focuses on general office administration or medical office administration. Schools usually require a high school diploma or equivalent for admission to a program.

Course Topics

The business-focused curriculum of an administrative specialist program commonly covers office topics such as computer applications and written communication. Additionally, courses can cover topics related to interacting in an office environment, such as human relations and interpersonal communications. Other topics covered in a program may include:

  • Business math
  • Computer applications
  • Keyboarding
  • Word processing
  • Office systems

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected that employment rates for secretaries and administrative assistants were expected to increase by 12% from 2012-2022 ( In May 2012, the BLS reported that the median annual salary for administrative assistants and secretaries working outside of executive, legal or medical specializations was $32,410. In the same year, executive secretaries and administrative assistants earned a median annual salary of $47,500, according to the BLS.

Medical Office Administrative Specialist

An administrative specialist program that focuses on medical office administration prepares students through teaching them medical topics and office topics. Work in a medical office requires some specific medical-related skills that are not taught in a general administrative specialist program. Upon completing a medical office administrative specialist certificate program, students can gain an understanding of how a medical office functions, general knowledge of medical terminology and an understanding of how to function efficiently as part of a medical team. Graduates can also become knowledgeable about legal and ethical issues that are unique to the medical field. Programs usually require a high school diploma or equivalent.

Course Topics

The curriculum of a medical administrative specialist certificate program is comprised of medical topics and office topics. Programs also usually include a medical office internship that allows students to learn hands-on about functioning in a medical office. Students study some basic office concepts, such as computer applications, communications and information management. Medical courses usually make up the bulk of the curriculum and cover topics such as:

  • Medical terminology
  • Medical coding
  • Medical billing
  • Anatomy
  • Electronic medical record management
  • Healthcare documentation

Popular Career Options

Graduates of a medical administrative specialist program can be prepared to work in healthcare settings that include hospitals, dental offices, medical offices, laboratories, insurance companies and other healthcare organization offices. Possible job titles include:

  • Medical secretary
  • Insurance specialist
  • Medical coder
  • Medical transcriptionist
  • Hospital admissions receptionist

Continuing Education Information

Some programs may prepare students to transfer into an associate degree program after graduation. Students may choose to complete an associate program in business administration or management.

According to the BLS, voluntary certification is available from multiple professional organizations for administrative specialists. Organizations such as the International Association of Administrative Professionals and the International Virtual Assistants Association can offer professional designations that are earned through passing an exam that tests the individual's knowledge of office procedures.

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