Many colleges offer online associate's degrees in office management. While some programs may provide just a few online courses and include a number of classes on campus, many others are totally online, allowing students to watch video lessons, communicate with teachers and classmates and turn in assignments from home. Students do need computers equipped with popular office software such as Excel and Word.
Courses in these associate's degree programs include office procedures and business communication. Students gain mastery of the technology required to manage an office. They learn to use software to create a business presentation and operate electronic filing systems. Basic office skills such as accounting and keyboarding generally are covered, along with business ethics.
Graduates of these programs can earn various types of professional certification to demonstrate their knowledge to employers. Many companies, including Microsoft, offer certification in their software, while professional organizations may offer credentials for office management skills. Credits from an associate's degree can usually be applied to bachelor's degree programs.
Associate's Degree in Office Management
Successful office managers know how to use popular business computer software, understand basic accounting principles and can manage an administrative staff. An online Associate of Science degree program in office management teaches students about specific software, business communication and management through readings, exercises and discussion. Often offered by community colleges and technical schools, online office management programs are geared toward office professionals and those planning to enter the field. Students also take required general education courses.
Program Information and Requirements
Online associate's degrees in office management typically take about two years to complete. Both fully online and hybrid programs are available. Increasingly, online schools are creating interactive, virtual campuses that allow students to communicate with classmates and professors. Virtual campuses also enable other tasks typically done in person, like researching in a library, participating in discussions and taking timed exams.
Office management coursework includes instruction in programs like Microsoft's Excel and Outlook, which makes it important for students to have access to these and other popular office tools. Students also need access to high-speed Internet for many programs that include multimedia presentations in their teaching methods.
Associate's Degree Office Management Courses
Courses required in an online office management associate's degree program cover accounting, electronic filing, keyboarding and communications. Many programs require general education courses like economics, public speaking or literature.
A business communications course teaches office management students about interacting with clients and co-workers. Students also explore communications technology, using telephones, computer software, personal digital assistant devices and voice recognition technology. Business writing is also a component of many communications classes.
The Association of Records Managers and Administrators (ARMA) provides rules for managing records and indexes. An electronic filing course teaches students to use technology to keep proper records as an office manager. Some electronic filing courses for office management students include using the keyboard to perform mathematical calculations.
Office management students in an online associate's degree program take a presentations course to learn how to effectively assemble data, text and graphics into a clear and concise slideshow, typically using Microsoft's PowerPoint program. Many presentation courses also discuss appearance, speaking techniques and professional behavior.
A business ethics course teaches office management students about common business practices, legal issues and consequences of workplace behavior. In an online business ethics course, students might be required to participate in online discussions via message boards and e-mail.
Online office management classes in spreadsheets teach students how to utilize programs like Microsoft Excel to create templates, analyze data and print worksheets. Students extensively manipulate and create spreadsheets and workbooks in an online spreadsheets course.
Intense competition for office management positions is predicted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), and applicants who hold an associate's degree in office management can expect to be hired for entry-level jobs. The BLS says that many companies hire office managers from within, and many employers are hiring office managers who possess a bachelor's degree. The number of administrative service management positions in the U.S. will grow about 8% from 2014-2024, says the BLS, which is about as fast as all other occupations. According to Payscale.com, office managers with associate's degrees and 1-4 years of experience earned a median wage of about $32,000 per year as of April 2016.
The International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP) offers a credential called Certified Administrative Professional (CAP), which is appropriate for aspiring and existing office managers. The IAAP also offers online training, recertification and online computer software certification through the Madison Area Technical College, based in Wisconsin. Other options for office managers who wish to pursue online certification and training include the Association of Professional Office Managers, online colleges and other professional organizations.
In online office management associate's programs, students get a general education and build the technical office skills they need for entry-level jobs. Graduates may also be prepared for voluntary certification.