Secretary School and College Program Overviews

Interested students are required to learn the basic secretarial tasks, including handling phone lines, maintaining correspondence and business communications, working with basic office technology and compiling spreadsheets. Find out what can be learned in an associate's degree program for future secretaries.

Essential Information

A 2-year associate's program in administrative support, administrative assistance or administrative science teaches students how to perform the basic administrative tasks necessary to land entry-level secretarial employment. Although not all companies require that administrative assistants and secretaries hold associate's degrees, it is becoming more and more frequent to hire educated professionals for office support positions.

  • Program Levels in Administrative Positions: Associate's degrees
  • Prerequisites: A high school degree of GED is needed. Most programs require the applicant to be at least 16 years old, and need a one-year or two-year commitment from incoming students.
  • Program Length: Two years

Program Coursework

Courses in administrative support programs focus mostly on the practical skills required of secretaries. These courses include the following:

  • Typing, and other office technologies, including Microsoft Office Suite
  • Recordkeeping and basic accounting
  • Business computing and document processing
  • Communication
  • Integrated office systems
  • Electives specializing in medical or legal offices

Employment and Career Outlook

The job growth rate for secretaries was expected to increase 12% between 2012 and 2022, which is an average growth rate, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Turnover in the field is high, as many individuals begin as assistants and work their way up. As office technologies continue to evolve, individuals with higher education will be more likely to gain employment. In 2014, office support professionals earned a median annual salary of $33,240, according to the BLS (www.bls.gov).

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