Online Office Assistant Certificate Program Info

Office assistant training can be completed through a combination of educational and on-the-job instruction. In some cases, no formal degree is required and an office assistant certificate is all that's needed to gain employment. This article outlines what you can expect to learn during an online office assistant certificate program.

Essential Information

There are a variety of online office assistant programs available. Distance learning programs for aspiring office assistants may be completed entirely online, though some programs might include an internship. Some colleges also administer tests at proctored sites rather than online. The program usually provides individuals with all the preparation they need to apply for office assistant and secretarial positions. Students will learn about word processing, business communication, spreadsheets, keyboarding and computer technology.

Related Program Options

There are online certificate and associate's degree programs offered that are similar to office assistant programs. These programs also focus on business, administration and technology:

  • Certificate in Business Administration
  • Associate in Business Technology
  • Associate in Office Administration

Online Office Assistant Certificate Overview

Students in an online office assistant certificate program develop the typing, communication and computer skills needed for success. Some schools require students to have rudimentary typing skills before being admitted to the program. Some programs offer students the opportunity to pursue a specific type of office assistant certificate, such as those for medical office assistants or legal office assistants.

Online Program Information and Requirements

An online office assistant certificate program can generally be completed in one year. Basic technical requirements might include high-speed Internet connection and an updated version of a Web browser. Students might also need to have recent versions of software programs like Microsoft Office.

List of Common Online Office Assistant Certificate Courses

The curriculum for online office assistant certificate programs focuses on keyboarding, word processing, office procedures and business communications. Some programs might also include courses in business math, customer service, accounting and bookkeeping.


Basic and advanced keyboarding courses address typing speed, accuracy and key-touch techniques. Formatting methods for reports, memos and business correspondence might also be covered.

Office Procedures

Techniques relating to filing, meeting planning, supply ordering, management and customer relation skills are emphasized in an office procedures courses. Students might also learn about the use of common office technology.

Business Communications

Business communications courses focus on fundamental and advanced writing skills. Punctuation, spelling, grammar and business vocabulary are all likely to be addressed in these courses.

Career Information for Graduates

Earning an online office assistant certificate can qualify graduates for entry-level positions as receptionists, secretaries or office assistants. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports an expected job growth rate of 11% for secretaries between 2008 and 2018 ( The BLS reports that yearly salaries for office assistants vary depending largely on employer type, with a median annual salary range between $28,000 and $32,000.

Continuing Education Information

Graduates of an online office assistant certificate program might elect to pursue an associate's degree in business technology or office administration. In some cases, individuals seeking careers as legal or medical office assistants might be required to possess a degree prior to employment.

Those holding an online certificate for office assistants can choose to pursue voluntary certification after gaining four years of experience. The International Association of Administrative Professionals offers Certified Professional Secretary (CPS) and Certified Administrative Professional (CAP) credentials to working office assistants.

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