In office technology associate's degree programs, students gain management skills and receive instruction in current business software. In some cases, programs in specialized areas, such as medical or legal office administration, may be offered as concentration options within broader office technology programs or as standalone options. Some broad office technology programs may cover either or both of these areas without a concentration option. Obtaining an associate's degree could take up to two years, and can be done in part online. A high school diploma or GED is required for admission. Certain applicants might also need additional classes in English, typing and mathematics. Graduates may pursue voluntary certification in office technology as well as further their education with a bachelor's degree in the field.
Associate's Degree in Office Technology
Office technology programs could offer internships so students may apply what they've learned in a workplace setting. Students could also have the opportunity to learn more about global business while building their critical thinking and problem solving skills. Individuals studying medical or legal office technology may complete coursework in subjects specific to those areas, such as terminology or legal aspects of those fields. Other program coursework for office technology programs could include:
- Desktop publishing
- Word processing
- Social sciences
- Office management
- Information systems
Popular Career Options
As office environments in a variety of industries begin to use more and more technology, qualified and trained workers may become more valued by employers. An associate's degree in office technology could prepare an individual for positions performing a variety of clerical work as secretaries or administrative assistants. These office workers perform accounting, business communications, office management, keyboarding and spreadsheet tasks. They can work in various settings, including:
- Business offices
- Medical offices
- Legal offices
Employment Outlook & Salary
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected the employment of secretaries and administrative assistants will increase by 3% from 2014 to 2024 (www.bls.gov). According to reports from May of 2015, the BLS estimated the median yearly salary of legal secretaries was $43,200. Medical secretaries averaged $33,040, and all other secretaries and administrative assistants received an annual median wage of $36,500.
Continuing Education and Certification Information
Office technology programs can allow students to transfer general education coursework to 4-year institutions, but these programs may not be designed for transfer into higher education. Advancement in the field can be gained through work experience, specialization in an area of study or software program, or certification.
Certification for administrative assistants working with office technology can be earned through a wide variety of organizations, including the National Association of Legal Secretaries or the International Association of Administrative Professionals.
An associate's degree program in office technology prepares students for administrative or clerical job positions in various work environments, such as legal or medical fields. Upon completion, graduates can choose to enter certificate programs or transfer to a bachelor's degree program in administrative assistance.