Associate-level programs in office administration educate students in business operations, human relations, records management and administrative procedures. These programs train students to plan schedules and appointments, manage electronic files and handle travel arrangements. Students may attend full- or part-time classes, depending on their scheduling needs. A high school diploma or GED certificate is required to enter a program. Some programs are available via distance learning.
Associate Degree Programs in Office Administration
Courses provide basic business, accounting and business networking skills. They also aim to develop students' critical-thinking, organizational, analytical and communication abilities. Some schools offer courses that delve into principles of desktop publishing, human resources or records management. Students can learn to manipulate spreadsheet, word processing and graphic presentation software. Common courses include:
- Database management
- Business communication
- Personnel management
- Administrative systems
Popular Career Options
Associate degree graduates can gain familiarity with office organization and the technical expertise to draft documents and reports, negotiate with vendors and purchase supplies. They can pursue work in education, business, non-profit organizations, government, retail, healthcare and other service-providing industries. Potential job titles include:
- Administrative secretary
- Executive secretary
- Office manager
- Medical secretary
- Legal secretary
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job opportunities for secretaries and administrative assistants are expected to increase by 3% from 2014 to 2024 (www.bls.gov). May 2015 estimates from the BLS show the median annual salary for executive secretaries was $53,370. Legal and medical secretaries earned $43,200 and $33,040, respectively. All other types of secretaries and administrative assistants received $33,910 in median compensation.
Certification and Continuing Education
Graduates of an office administration degree program can take the Certified Administrative Professional (CAP) exam offered by the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP). Exam applicants with an associate degree must have at least three years of administrative job experience. The written exam consists of several sections, including communication, organization and records management (www.iaap-hq.org). According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, CAP certification might help increase job qualifications and salaries. Administrative assistants interested in further education could choose to complete a bachelor's degree program in office administration.
Business management associate degree programs prepare graduates to work in a variety of business positions, such as office manager or medical secretary. Additional education at the bachelor's degree level and certification is available.