Online Secretarial Science Degree Program Overviews

Dec 03, 2019

Many community and technical colleges offer online associate's degrees in secretarial science or a related field, like administrative assisting. To learn more about program requirements, common courses and the career outlook for administrative assistants, keep reading.

Essential Information

Online secretarial science programs at the associate's degree level cover fundamental business and office administration concepts. Some programs are available fully online, while others include a mix of on-campus and distance learning coursework. Graduates may seek entry-level work as administrative assistants; in some cases, they may also transfer credits towards a bachelor's degree.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), secretaries and administrative assistants may not need an academic credential beyond a high school diploma, so an associate's degree may not be necessary for this career. However, depending on the industry in which one works, formal postsecondary training in industry-specific terminology and skills may be important; this is particularly true of medical and legal secretaries.

Associate's Degree in Secretarial Science

Prospective secretaries looking for programs online can gain the skills and knowledge needed for a career by pursuing an associate's degree in secretarial science, business administration, office administration or administrative assisting. These online programs focus on professional operation and performance in an office setting, with an emphasis on co-worker relations and computer literacy. Students learn basic skills in economics, accounting, office communications and coworker relations. An Associate of Science and Associate of Applied Science are the most common degrees in the secretarial science field.

Information and Requirements

These online associate's degree programs usually take two years to complete. Many programs do not require any teaching or coursework in a traditional classroom setting, though some combine an online education with some on-campus requirements.

High-speed Internet access is recommended for the streaming of videos and downloading of class materials. Some assignments require Microsoft Office programs. Instructors and support staff can be reached by telephone or e-mail, but some programs offer immediate online visual and audio communication.

Common Courses


Accounting measures the financial health and success of a business. Students learn to understand the numbers and financial systems behind a business. Emphasis is placed on the decision-making needed to maximize financial benefits and limit losses.

Human Resources

A knowledge of human resources is key for office personnel management and optimum productivity. This course covers motivational, organizational and communications skills necessary for leadership. Team building and international relations are also discussed.

Business Communication

Students gain the composition skills useful in writing professional letters, e-mails, faxes, reports and other types of business communication. Other areas of practice include oral communications, public speaking and effective research.

Computer Applications

Much of modern business activity is conducted on a computer. This course provides instruction on common word processing, presentation, communication and data tracking software.

Career Information

Graduates of an associate's degree program related to the secretarial sciences may pursue job opportunities as secretaries, administrative assistants, typists and receptionists, among other positions. According to the BLS, secretaries earned a median wage of $36,630 per year as of May 2018, and secretaries and administrative assistants could expect job decline of 7% from 2018-2028. Many schools offer career development tools and counseling that are available for online learning graduates.

Continuing Education Information

Secretarial science programs are meant to prepare office workers for entry-level positions. Further education is beneficial for advanced professional standing. After earning an associate's degree in secretarial science or a related field, students can prepare for management and executive positions by progressing to a bachelor's or master's degree program in business administration at a 4-year college or university.

Associate's degrees in secretarial science are available both fully online and in a hybrid format. Common courses include accounting, human resources, business, and computer-based topics.

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