Those seeking formal education in administrative assisting commonly pursue associate's degrees in this field to develop required communication and typing skills. Online administrative assistant associate's degree programs are relatively easy to find in a fully online format. However, blended programs, which combine both online coursework and on-campus labs, are also available. Some programs require students to meet minimum typing speed requirements before enrolling. Prospective students may also be required to have experience with specific software, such as the Microsoft Office Suite.
Administrative Assistant Associate Degree
College degree programs for aspiring administrative assistants typically last two years in duration. Candidates for these programs must be high school graduates. While a background in office work is not generally necessary, some schools require incoming students to have the ability to type at least 30-35 words per minute (WPM). Aspiring administrative assistants can major in the areas of office administration, business technology or professional office technology.
Information and Requirements
Online administrative assistant programs focus on developing administrative, management and organizational skills. Programs are generally offered entirely online, though some schools offer the blend live courses with distance education.
Some administrative assistant programs require students to have access to a high-speed modem, a specific operating system a specific version of required software, such as Microsoft Office. Specific processing speeds, memory and plug-ins might also apply to some programs.
List of Common Courses
An associate's degree program for future administrative assistants combines general education requirements with courses focusing on office equipment, office systems, computer applications and document processing. Associate degree-level general education requirements might include basic or introductory courses in English, math, sociology and psychology.
The curriculum for online administrative assistant degree programs will generally vary from one school to another. Some programs might also include internship requirements, to be completed at local businesses.
Administrative assistant students typically develop skills in a variety of word processing functions. Classes address formatting, printing and sorting along with creating templates and merging documents.
Students are given the opportunity to strengthen organizational skills by planning and creating specific projects. In this type of course, students set objectives, form plans, schedule deadlines and create a project timelines.
An office management course provides students with the opportunity to develop a variety of administrative office skills. Topics addressed in this type of course include meeting planning, time management, office supply ordering, office communication and business travel arrangements.
Those who complete an online degree program for administrative assistants are eligible to work as administrative assistants, receptionists or office assistants. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected job growth of 3% for administrative assistants and secretaries between 2014 and 2024, which is slower than the national average for all occupations. The BLS reported administrative assistants and secretaries earned a median annual salary of $36,500 as of 2015.
Continuing Education Information
Continuing education may be needed for administrative assistants in the areas of computer applications and management. Many colleges and universities offer online courses addressing updated computer programs and management techniques. Some of these programs consist of preparatory coursework to help students prepare for certifications, such as the Certified Administrative Professional (CAP), which is offered by the International Association of Administrative Professionals.
There are multiple online associate's degree programs that can prepare students for work as administrative assistants and secretaries. Through virtual classes, students can build the technical skills needed for success in an office environment.