In computer application specialist certificate programs students learn to use personal computer (PC) programs and business software that are essential in today's modern office environment, and a practicum is sometimes included. Certificate programs for computer applications specialists teach students keyboarding, data entry and the basic PC skills needed for entry-level positions in a variety of business settings. These programs can also help prepare students for certification exams, such as the Internet and Computing Core Certification (IC3).
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Computer Application Specialist Certification Overview
The required coursework for computer application specialist programs varies by program, with some curricula including more advanced information technology courses than others. Some of the general computer application skills that are covered include word processing, information processing, email communication and business administration.
Some programs offer concentrations in specific areas, such as office technology, PC applications support and administrative support. Students can expect to take some general education courses in math, communications and English, as well as some of the following courses:
- Microsoft Office applications (Excel, Word, PowerPoint)
- Computer ethics
- Programming, databases
- Desktop publishing, web design
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
Through the 2014-2024 decade the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects employment of secretaries, administrative assistants and general office clerks will have an average growth of 3%. The need to replace employees who advance to other occupations will result in openings each year. The BLS notes that having software skills can improve job prospects for these workers.
In May 2015, the BLS reported annual median wages of $37,610 for word processors and typists and $36,500 for secretaries and administrative assistants (except legal, medical and executive secretaries and assistants).
Computer applications specialist certification can provide a competitive edge for those seeking entry-level employment in office environments.