Business Office Specialist Certificates: Program Summaries

Business office specialist certificate programs cover basic office skills, administrative procedures, database management, and other relevant topics for secretaries.

Essential Information

Certificate programs familiarize students with office and administrative skills and prepare them for work in the administrative field. Some of these programs are designed for students who are interested in entering the field for the first time. Other programs may require students to have some previous, relevant work experience. Students may have the option to focus on specific areas of the field, such as accounting assistance or legal office assistance.

Business Office Specialist Certificate Programs

Programs are commonly designed to be completed in one semester or one year of study. However, in some cases, students may be able to complete non-credit training certificate programs in business technology in a shorter amount of time. Applicants to these programs may be given the choice of taking classes during the day, on weekends, or part-time in the evenings. Some programs are also available online.

Commonly, programs consist of about 18-42 credit hours of study, and they can include coursework that focuses on both office and computer skills. Students can be trained in document creation, Microsoft Office programs, and keyboarding, as well as:

  • Web page authoring
  • Databases
  • Customer service
  • Administrative support systems
  • Administrative procedures
  • Business writing

Popular Career Options

Graduates of an office specialist certificate program can be qualified for positions in various settings, including corporate offices, medical offices, and government agencies. Duties typically include word processing, filing, customer service, and business records maintenance. Graduates may find work in positions such as:

  • General clerk
  • Data-entry clerk
  • Receptionist
  • Transcriptionist
  • Typist

Salary Info and Job Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS,, the median annual salary earned by secretaries and administrative assistants (excepting legal and medical assistants and secretaries) was $33,910 in May 2015. The BLS also reported that executive secretaries and executive administrative assistants earned median salaries of $53,370 a year in 2015. Those secretaries and assistants not working for executives are expected to see jobs increase by about 3% from 2014-2024.

Continuing Education and Certification Information

In some cases, a certificate program may allow a student to transfer directly into an associate's degree program in office administration. An associate's degree program could offer additional experience or more advanced administrative concepts, as well as general education courses, which could be useful to students planning to transfer to four-year programs.

Individuals working with specific software programs may also gain advancement by earning certification in that program, which could be available through the software vendor. Voluntary certification could also be gained through various organizations, such as the International Association of Administrative Professionals.

Both aspiring and experienced office workers and secretaries can hone their administrative skills by earning a business office specialist certificate.

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