Office management certificate programs are available entirely online or in a hybrid format, where about half the courses are delivered remotely and the other half are taken on site. These programs provide a mixture of administrative courses covering customer service skills, communication and business writing combined with technical courses focused on word processing, keyboarding, spreadsheets and Internet functions. Prior to admittance into some of these programs, students may need to have completed certain prerequisite coursework.
Office Management Certificate
Office managers are tasked with juggling a variety of administrative and business skills. By strengthening their abilities in organization, communication, time management and office software, individuals can adequately prepare for careers in office administration. Some office management certificate programs require applicants to have completed certain prerequisite courses, such as business writing or keyboarding.
Certificate programs in this field may claim to train office specialists or office professionals in general. Others focus on the leadership aspects of office management in particular. However, some programs focus strictly on mastering the software that is commonplace in a professional environment; these programs typically take less time to complete.
Program Information and Requirements
Online office management certificate programs typically take a full-time student 2-3 semesters to complete, depending on the program type. Schools deliver lectures in live or text format through their website. Students interact with peers online, where they also go to work on exercises and take quizzes upon logging in to course management software.
Learning online is easier if students have their own up-to-date computers with an Internet connection. Typically, if individuals regularly browse the Web and send e-mail, they have the right software to take online courses. However, some schools request that students install plug-in software to run Java-enabled software or read PDFs. Aspiring office managers may also be required to have the software that they're learning to use.
Courses generally are divided into two types, technical or functional. Examples of technical classes include training on use of the Internet, word processing software and office hardware. Functional courses provide instruction on subjects such as interpersonal communication, time management and business writing.
To learn how to use a spreadsheet program such as Microsoft Excel, students start out with basic features, such formatting and printing worksheets, managing cells and cell data, and creating workbooks, graphics and charts. Intermediate lessons cover relative and absolute referencing, formulas, templates, financial functions and collaborative editing.
Business Communication Skills
This course prepares students to communicate effectively verbally and in writing. Students practice skills in public speaking, pronunciation, conflict management and listening. Grammar and editing skills are emphasized, and students learn the basics of preparing business letters, e-mails, reports and presentations.
Introduction to the Internet
The Internet is presented as a tool to enhance business communication and research. Students are also introduced to uploading and downloading files, effective search methods and setting up remote conferences. The course also explains the basic steps for creating websites, including HTML, backgrounds, graphics, links and colors.
Career titles that a graduate with an office management certificate can pursue include secretary, office assistant, administrative support specialist, executive assistant and office manager. October 2016 information from PayScale.com shows that secretaries (except legal, executive or medical) earned a median annual salary of $30,064, and office managers earned a median annual salary of $44,126. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 3% job growth for secretaries/administrative assistants and an 8% rise in jobs for administrative services managers from 2014-2024 (www.bls.gov).
Continuing Education Information
After achieving an office management certificate, a graduate can pursue further education in this area through an associate's degree program in administrative support. These degree programs are available online, though their program titles vary. Some schools may allow graduates to apply the credits earned from their certificate program toward an associate's degree program. In addition, a student at this level may be able to choose an area of focus, such as global trade, applied management, marketing or financial services.
Online office management certificates can help students build their technical and functional office skills so that they can work more effectively in administrative jobs. Graduates can also pursue associate's degrees, which may allow the transfer of certificate-level credits.