Online Schools for Professional Secretaries: How to Choose

There are a wide number of online secretarial programs available. Prospective students should consider the content and concentration of the program, what type of degree is awarded at the end, and whether or not they can complete the program entirely online.

How to Select an Online Professional Secretary School

Students aspiring to choose an online professional secretary school should take several points into consideration. Online professional secretary programs are offered in several different fields and can be completed entirely online with no on-campus study. Students will need to consider their career goals as well as their aptitude for independent online learning before choosing a program.

Career Goals

There are several professional secretary programs to choose from. These include online programs for administrative assistants, certified professional secretaries, legal secretaries or medical secretaries.

Online Learning Style and Aptitude

Most distance learning programs for professional secretaries are offered 100% online with little or no interaction with classmates; some programs do use e-mail, webinars and chat rooms to communicate frequently, but some programs are completed almost entirely independently. Before enrolling in an online program, students should be sure that they have the motivation and discipline needed to succeed in a completely online environment.

List of Online Programs for Professional Secretaries

Online Administrative Assistant Career Diploma

Online programs offering an online administrative assistant diploma can frequently be self-paced independent study programs; completion time depends on the student. Students are usually required to have a high school diploma or GED. Coursework may include keyboard skills, word processing, written communication and the use of office software programs. Additionally, students learn about:

  • Planning meetings and travel
  • Records management
  • Stress and time management
  • Interpersonal communication skills
  • Office management

Online Legal Secretary Career Diploma

Distance learning programs for legal secretaries are offered as self-paced courses. Students study topics like ethics for law offices, legal document preparation, legal citations, legal terminology, legal process and filing procedures. In addition to basic secretarial courses, such as records management, scheduling and computer basics, coursework may also include:

  • History of the American legal system
  • Conducting legal interviews
  • Legal research techniques
  • Filing techniques

Online Medical Secretary Diploma

Online medical secretary diploma programs prepare students to provide administrative support in medical environments. Courses can be completed entirely online and may include basic keyboarding, word processing, business communication and computer skills. Additional studies may include:

  • Body structures and functions
  • Medical machine transcription
  • Medical terminology
  • Medical office procedures
  • Business communication

Online Associate of Applied Science - Medical Administrative Secretary

An online medical secretary associate's degree program generally takes about 64 credits to complete. The coursework for a medical secretary degree is similar to that of a medical secretary diploma. In addition to basic secretarial skills and medical office information, students must also fulfill general education requirements in the liberal arts and sciences to earn an associate's degree. Coursework includes:

  • Disease conditions
  • Microcomputing intro
  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Word processing
  • Medical terminology in healthcare

Schools with Online Professional Secretary Programs

At the diploma level, there are a number of online programs that are split in various specializations, depending on the field in which you would like to work. For example, Minnesota West Community & Technical College offers an online Medical Secretary Diploma designed for individuals with no college experience who want to learn the appropriate protocols and procedures involved in being a secretary in the medical field.

Penn Foster offers an online Legal Secretary Career Diploma, which can be completed in six months. Students in the program are automatically eligible to join the NALS, or the association for legal professionals, for up to a year in which they can prepare for the NALS certification exam at the end of their studies. Penn Foster also offers an online Administrative Assistant Career Diploma, designed for individuals who want to work as a secretary in a variety of different fields. This program can be completed in five months and enrolled students qualify for membership to the International Association of Administrative Professionals organization.

For students interested in earning an associate's degree and working in the medical field, they could consider enrolling in a program from Minnesota West Community & Technical College. Their Medical Administrative Security A.A.S. program is designed to be completed in two years entirely online.

Students who want to work as secretaries can choose from earning diplomas or associate's degrees to increase their chances of being hired. Whether the program is specialized to the field they wish to work, or covers general administrative duties, programs in this field are available entirely online.

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