Online School for Clerical Training: How to Choose

Learn about important considerations when selecting an online clerical training school. Keep reading to get an overview of the program options, specialty focus, and common courses offered for the field of study.

Students interested in training as clerics should look for secretary or office administrator programs, which are widely available fully online. Important decisions include determining a time commitment, choosing a level of training, and selecting a program with coursework relevant to interests and career goals.

How to Select an Online Clerical Training School

Students considering online clerical training schools must make their decision based on several key factors. Clerical training programs are designed for those who wish to serve as secretaries or office administrators. Effective training can come from a number of degree and certificate programs offered by online schools, so students should choose a program that focuses on the area in which they are most interested. Some community colleges offer such training online, as do many online for-profit schools. Students should also factor in their own time requirements.

Program Focus and Career Objectives

Students who choose to train for a clerical position have a large number of education programs to choose from under the general header of office administration. Prospective clerks should review the classes that are offered in a particular degree or certificate program to ensure a good fit with a given career path before enrolling.

Time Requirements

Some online degree programs offer classes that require students to attend regularly via streaming video or voice conference. Others allow for a more flexible schedule, with no set assignment due dates or class times, and only require students to turn in all assignments and tests by a single class end date. In this type of asynchronous program, students usually communicate with instructors via e-mail and other students through message boards.

Online Program Options for Clerical Training

Office Administration Certificate

Students in an office administration certificate program take classes in word processing, spreadsheet use, dictation and transcription, office procedures and even in more advanced subjects such as desktop publishing and web page design. Two types of specialty administration certificates are those in legal office administration and medical office administration. These programs offer courses in areas like:

  • Legal terminology
  • Legal transcription
  • Medical billing and coding
  • Record and file management

Associate of Applied Science in Office Administration Technology

Often, online associate's degree programs in office administration provide flexible scheduling options for working adults who wish to enhance their career prospects. An associate's degree program in office administration covers many of the same subjects as a certificate program, but often goes beyond these areas and provides students with instruction in:

  • Project management
  • Business skills
  • Specialized computer applications
  • Database and spreadsheets

Schools with Online Programs in Clerical Training

Office administrator and secretary programs are widely available online at both the certificate and degree levels. Training in this discipline is useful because it prepares you for work in any industry. Online programs make it easier to get the training you need to start a career.

The most common degree for clerical training is in office administration, most frequently at the associate's level. Florida State College has both an on-campus and online Associate of Science program in office administration. If you have any other industry certifications, you may be able to receive credit toward this 60-credit program. Otherwise, certificates are a widely available credential for this discipline, such as at the U.S. Career Institute, which has a fully online office administrator certificate program that students can complete in as short a time as four months. The program is self-paced and program fees include all materials. Penn Foster Career School has a fully online diploma program for administrative assistants. If you attend this school, you qualify for free membership into the International Association of Administrative Professionals, and may enroll in a work experience option.

When looking into clerical training online, it is important to consider whether you want an associate's degree or simply a certificate or diploma in the discipline of office administration. Specialty programs may be available, though most programs cover the basic business and office skills required for the career.

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