Distance learning certificate programs for aspiring office assistants are widely available. Courses can be completed entirely online, but some programs might include an internship and in-person proctored testing requirements. Students pursuing an online office assistant certificate will learn about word processing, business communication, spreadsheets, keyboarding and computer technology. Prior to enrollment, prospective students need to have rudimentary typing skills.
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Office Assistant Certificate
Students in an online office assistant certificate program develop the typing, communication and computer skills needed for success. Some schools require students to have rudimentary typing skills before being admitted to the program. Some programs offer students the opportunity to pursue a specific type of office assistant certificate, such as those for medical office assistants or legal office assistants.
Program Information and Requirements
An online office assistant certificate program can generally be completed in one year. Basic technical requirements might include high-speed Internet connection and an updated version of a Web browser. Students might also need to have recent versions of software programs like Microsoft Office.
The curriculum for online office assistant certificate programs focuses on keyboarding, word processing, office procedures and business communications. Some programs might also include courses in business math, customer service, accounting and bookkeeping.
Basic and advanced keyboarding courses address typing speed, accuracy and key-touch techniques. Formatting methods for reports, memos and business correspondence might also be covered.
Techniques relating to filing, meeting planning, supply ordering, management and customer relation skills are emphasized in an office procedures courses. Students might also learn about the use of common office technology.
Business communications courses focus on fundamental and advanced writing skills. Punctuation, spelling, grammar and business vocabulary are all likely to be addressed in these courses.
Earning an online office assistant certificate can qualify graduates for entry-level positions as receptionists, secretaries or administrative assistants. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports expected job growth of 3% for secretaries and administrative assistants between 2014 and 2024, which is slower than the national average, and a median annual wage of $33,910 as of May 2015.
Continuing Education Information
Graduates of an online office assistant certificate program might elect to pursue an associate's degree in business technology or office administration. In some cases, individuals seeking careers as legal or medical office assistants might be required to possess a degree prior to employment.
Those holding an online certificate for office assistants can choose to pursue voluntary certification after gaining four years of experience. The International Association of Administrative Professionals offers Certified Professional Secretary (CPS) and Certified Administrative Professional (CAP) credentials to working office assistants.
Online office assistant certificate programs help students develop basic secretarial skills. They also provide an educational foundation for more advanced degrees or professional certifications, which can improve job prospects in an increasingly competitive field.