Online Clerical Certification
|Online Availability||Hybrid and fully online programs are available|
|In-Person Requirements||On-campus classes may be required by some programs|
|Program Length||Less than 1 year|
|Licensure/Certification||Voluntary certification available|
Vocational certificate programs for clerical occupations, such as administrative assistants and medical records assistants, are available as fully-online programs or hybrid programs that require attending some classes on campus. Typically taking less than a year, these certificate programs may prepare students for professional certification, and credits can transfer to associate's degree programs.
Students in online clerical certificate programs learn skills for communication, administrative support, customer service, accounting, and office management. Coursework in the certificate program usually can be applied to a degree program's credit requirements, and may also fulfill educational requirement for administrative professional or secretarial certification through a professional certifying body. A background in office education is helpful, but not a prerequisite for entry. Some programs offer a bilingual English-Spanish curriculum.
Clerical certificate programs consist of 4-5 courses and can usually be completed in under a year. All classes are offered entirely online, but some schools offer a hybrid format combining distance education with on-campus attendance. Some schools have open enrollment and do not require an application for entry into their program; students register for each course separately. A reliable Internet connection and personal computer are necessary for access to classes. Most offer access any time, and some courses are offered in real-time allowing students to view a class while it is being facilitated.
Online coursework in clerical certificate programs covers office management and administration, accounting, keyboarding, communication, and technology. Professional career development may also be a portion of the program.
Office Administration and Management
An office administration and management course emphasizes office procedures including records management, time management, teamwork, ethics, and consumer service. Students also learn presentation and document creation, file storage and retrieval, meeting preparation, telecommunications, and travel arrangements.
Principles in business communications and the application of them are the focus of an office communications class. Writing business letters, memoranda, reports, and customer service-related documents are also studied.
Keyboarding and Office Technology
Students of a keyboarding and office technology class learn to type by touch via the Internet. Basic features of word processing including creating tables, memos, reports, and letters are also part of the coursework.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage of general office clerks overall was $32,730 in May of 2018. Employment is expected to decline by 4% between 2018 and 2028 and is largely dependent on consolidation of tasks in the industry, use of technology, and office automation.
Additional clerical training is available through both vocational schools and colleges. Several associations offer general and industry-specific clerical certification, including the International Association of Administrative Professionals, International Virtual Assistants Association, and National Association of Legal Secretaries (NALS). Clerical associates who pass an exam and meet experience requirements can earn the designations of Certified Administrative Professional (CAP) or Certified Professional Secretary (CPS).
Online clerical certificate programs are available both fully online and as a hybrid program. These programs can prepare students for certification or further education.