Associate of Arts (AA): Administrative Professional Degree Overview

Oct 21, 2019

An associate's degree in an administrative professional program introduces students to the skills and knowledge needed to support others in a modern office environment.

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Essential Information

Administrative professional programs may be offered as an Associate of Arts (AA), Associate of Science (AS) or Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree. They may also be called office administration programs. These programs enable students to develop the skills necessary to qualify for entry-level or advanced administrative positions in business settings, possibly in customer service or management. Specialization options include administrative office management, administrative professional and business administration.

Associate's Degrees for Administrative Professionals

In addition to teaching basic skills such as keyboarding, administrative professional associate's programs train students to work with a variety of office technologies and computer applications. Common courses include:

  • Business mathematics
  • Business writing
  • Desktop publishing
  • Keyboarding
  • Microsoft applications
  • Practical business applications

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary of nonspecialist secretaries and administrative assistants in 2018 was $36,630 ( Medical secretaries had a median annual income of $35,760, while in the field of law, secretaries earned a median annual wage of $46,360. Executive assistants were the highest paid group, earning a median annual salary of $59,340. The BLS also stated that the overall employment of administrative assistants and secretaries is anticipated to decrease by 7% from 2018-2028, which is slower than average compared to other job sectors.

Continuing Education and Certification Information

Although most training for administrative professionals is done on the job, a bachelor's degree could give job-seekers an advantage in the field. With experience, administrative professionals who specialize in law may be able to obtain certification through one of several professional organizations. For all administrative professionals, certification can be obtained through organization such as the International Association of Administrative Professionals or the Association of Executive and Administrative Professionals.

There are multiple associate's degree options for students who want to become administrative professionals. These programs help students develop general office skills so that they can become secretaries in diverse industries.

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