A certificate program in computer studies usually takes less than one year to complete and can be found at community and vocational schools. Aspiring computer office specialists might gain computer literacy skills and acquire knowledge of software applications such as word processing, spreadsheets and database management. Upon completion of this program, associate's degree programs are available in computer studies.
Prospective certificate students should have good keyboarding skills; some schools recommend a typing speed of 26 words per minute. Students must have a high school diploma or GED certificate and be familiar with personal computers; if not, they should enroll in a basic computer class.
Certificates in Computer Studies
Some computer office specialist certificate programs focus exclusively on developing computer software skills, while others include courses in related areas. Some programs allow students to choose elective courses. As a result, the program may consist of 20-30 credit hours depending on the curriculum. Course offerings may include:
- Microsoft PowerPoint presentations
- Creating a website
- English composition
- Accounting basics
- Microsoft Excel
Popular Career Options
The training found in these programs is beneficial in many occupations where personal computers are used to conduct business. Some potential careers are:
- PC help desk advisor
- Filing clerk
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected job opportunities for receptionists will increase by 10% from 2014 to 2024 (www.bls.gov). General office clerks can expect to see growth of 3% during that same time period. Based on BLS data from May 2015, receptionists and general office clerks earned median yearly salaries of $27,300 and $29,580 respectively.
Certification and Continuing Education
A computer office specialist program often prepares students for certification exams for the Microsoft Office Specialist designation in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access and Outlook. These certifications demonstrate to employers that you have the personal computer skills needed for an office job.
Students who complete these programs often continue on to earn associate's degrees in office systems or management information systems, areas in which this training would be useful.
A 20-30 credit hour certificate program in computer studies will prepare graduates with the skills needed to be efficient in an office job. Students will be able to further pursue an associate's degree in office systems to open up more career opportunities.