Professional Secretary: Online Diploma

Research online professional secretary (also called administrative assistant) courses and programs. Find out what you can learn in these courses and what you'll need in order to participate in online learning to determine if it's right for you.

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Essential Information

Aspiring professional secretaries can earn an administrative assistant diploma completely online. Students in these programs can study office procedures, business communications, transcription and customer service skills. The program prepares graduates for entry-level secretarial positions in office settings. Some programs require students to prove their keyboarding aptitude before starting courses, and they often need standard word processing software as well. A few programs also offer work experience credits for individuals who find willing employers.

Overview of an Online Administrative Assistant Diploma Program

Online administrative assistant diploma programs can qualify students to work in a variety of business, law and healthcare offices. Online programs in this field address oral and written communication, computers and office procedures.

Program Information and Requirements

An online administrative assistant diploma program can be completed in less than one year. Students can usually start their program at any time and at their own pace. Students will need a computer with access to the Internet and word processing software. All coursework is online, but some schools may offer students the opportunity to get course credit for work experience related to the program.

List of Common Online Courses

Online administrative assistant diploma programs may require general education courses in math, biology, history and humanities. Coursework combines business, technical and administrative topics.

Word Processing

Students will learn how to use software for basic word processing applications. They'll prepare business documents such as memos, letters and reports. The course will also cover document editing and filing skills. Keyboarding speed and accuracy skills will be emphasized.

Office Procedures

This course provides an overview of the responsibilities of an office professional. Students will learn proper telephone etiquette, customer relations, leadership tasks and project coordination. Students may also learn research skills and perform database and spreadsheet tasks.

Information Management

This course focuses on management of information storage and retrieval systems. Students will become familiar with filing procedures and various aspects of electronic and paper records management and control. Students may complete hands-on computer projects.


Career Information for Graduates

Graduates with an online administrative assistant diploma may find employment in offices of large corporations, law firms and healthcare facilities. With an average salary of $35,200, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported there were approximately 2,281,120 secretaries and administrative assistants employed in the U.S. as of May 2015 (www.bls.gov). The BLS also predicted that the number of secretaries and administrative assistants would grow by 3% between 2014 and 2024.

Continuing Education Information

Students interested in additional education can find online certificate programs and associate degree programs in office administration and office systems technology. Graduates can obtain certification for proficiency in office skills through several organizations, such as the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP). With experience, secretaries and administrative assistants can earn designations such as the Certified Professional Secretary (CPS) or the Certified Administrative Professional (CAP) through IAAP.

Individuals who want to become secretaries need to acquire basic office skills, and online diploma programs can provide the necessary instruction. Those who finish one of these programs can apply for entry-level secretary jobs in a variety of industries, or they can advance to undergraduate degree programs in related subjects.

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