Administrative Assistant Degree Program Information

The most common administrative assistant degree program awards an associate's degree, and specializations are available in the medical and legal fields. Administrative assistant degree programs prepare individuals to run an office efficiently.

Essential Information

Students in a general administrative assistant associate's degree program learn about office computer applications, accounting, customer service, transcription and database management.

Those interested in working in a medical or dental office may pursue an associate's degree in medical administrative assisting. This type of program includes specialized classes in medical terminology, medical law and ethics, insurance coding and medical transcription. Students interested in becoming legal administrative assistants can pursue a specialized degree that covers legal transcription, legal presentation preparation, court procedures and paralegal duties.

Administrative Assistant Associate's Degree

An administrative assistant associate's degree program instructs students in effective and professional communications, keyboarding, proofreading, telephone etiquette, customer service techniques and record keeping. Students are also taught to prioritize tasks, transcribe documents, schedule appointments, prepare budgets, maintain databases and report to tax agencies. In some offices, administrative assistants are responsible for maintaining the company's website or preparing the company newsletter.

Prior to enrolling in an administrative assistant associate's degree program, students must have earned a high school diploma or general education diploma (GED). Students should also achieve a satisfactory college entrance examination score. In addition, it is beneficial for students to have taken previous courses in keyboarding or word processing. Students enrolled in this program typically take classes in office management, computer applications and office etiquette. Additionally, network security procedures, desktop publishing, word processing, and transcription procedures are topics that may be explored in the curriculum. Some of the common program topics include:

  • Accounting and bookkeeping
  • Database management
  • Customer service practices
  • Spreadsheet applications
  • Effective presentations

Medical Administrative Assistant Associate's Degree

Medical administrative assistant degree programs are designed to train students to manage a medical or dental office. These programs often combine clinical and administrative courses in order to give students a broader background. Students are trained to help put patients at ease, exhibit professional behavior, manage information discretely and confidentially, schedule office and laboratory appointments, oversee filing and transcribe medical documents.

Students interested in enrolling in a medical administrative assistant degree program should submit high school or GED transcripts, previous college transcripts and college entrance exam scores. Students enrolled in this program take many of the same courses as students in a non-medical administrative assistant program; however, they also take specialty classes including insurance coding, filing procedures, and medical assisting. Additional topics may include:

  • Computer applications in the medical office
  • Medical ethics
  • Medical law
  • Medical transcription

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Legal Administrative Assistant Associate's Degree

Legal administrative assistant associate's degree programs emphasize the importance of accuracy, integrity and productivity in the legal field. Students learn to properly prepare legal correspondence, engage in legal research and review attorney timesheets for billing purposes. Legal administrative assistant degree programs also teach students how to prepare evidence for trial. A high school diploma or GED and satisfactory college entrance exam scores are required to enroll in a legal administrative assistant associate's degree program. Some school programs may require students to have a laptop.

Legal administrative assistant degree programs teach the same types of classes in non-legal administrative assistant programs, but additional specialized classes are offered, such as legal transcription, website maintenance, court procedures, and paralegal responsibilities. Common course topics may include:

  • Employment law for legal administrative assistants
  • Medical terminology for use in the law office
  • Legal administrative assistant procedures
  • Preparing legal presentations

Popular Career Options

Administrative assistants are trained for a number of office positions, including:

  • Executive assistant
  • Office manager
  • Administrative Secretary
  • Support Specialist

Students who have earned a medical administrative assistant degree typically choose a profession, such as:

  • Dental office manager
  • Medical office manager
  • Insurance office support person
  • Hospital administrative assistant

Students with a legal administrative assistant degree find employment in the following positions:

  • Legal administrative assistant
  • Legal secretary
  • Law office receptionist
  • Deputy court administrator
  • Judicial secretary

Continuing Education

Students wishing to receive a broader education may wish to enroll in a bachelor's degree administrative assistant program. These programs are often joint programs between 2-year colleges and universities, which allow the student to transfer credits and take additional classes in order to earn an administrative assistant degree specializing in legal administrative assisting, medical assisting or business management.

The associate's degree program for administrative assistants has its own curriculum, as well as two specialty concentrations: medical administrative and legal administrative. Regardless of the specialty chosen, students will be skilled in office procedures and organization in their respective fields.

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