Administrative Office Technology Associate Degree Program
Learn the employment outlook and average salary for secretaries and administrative assistants. Find out about degree programs and professional certification options. Schools offering Microsoft Office degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
What Is an Administrative Office Technology Associate's Degree?
An associate's degree in administrative office technology can prepare you for a position as a secretary, executive secretary, administrative assistant or executive administrative assistant. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that you may only need some basic office skills and hold a high school diploma to qualify for an entry-level position in office administration (www.bls.gov). The BLS also states that even though you can develop skills through on-the-job training, more and more employers are looking for people who hold an appropriate college degree.
Many community colleges and vocational schools offer programs leading to an associate's degree related to administrative office technology. The National Center for Education Statistics lists over 500 postsecondary institutions where you might earn a related degree in office administration or secretarial science (www.nces.ed.gov).
What Makes Up a Program?
Depending on the school, a program can take you 18-24 months to complete and consist of 60-96 credits. Most often, the program leads to an Associate of Applied Science in an area such as administrative office technology or office systems technology. If your goal is to work in a medical or legal office, you must pursue specialized courses in the medical or legal field.
Typical courses you might encounter in a general office administration technology program include database and file management, administrative systems and procedures, information processing software and applications, keyboarding, office procedures, accounting, finance, interpersonal communication and word processing. During your final semester, a school may offer you the opportunity to complete an internship with a school-partnered employer.
Though not a legal requirement, certification can advance your career. Graduation from a degree-granting program can help you qualify to sit for a certification examination. Certification exams are administered by professional organizations, such as the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP) or the Association of Executive and Administrative Professionals (AEAP).
What Are Some Online Possibilities?
Schools may offer you a chance to complete some or all courses in a program online. While a program may be designated as online, school policy may include some in-person requirements. For instance, if a program includes an internship or practicum, you must complete that portion of the program either on campus or at a school-approved external facility.
In addition, the IAAP and AEAP each offer online individual courses. Courses can prepare you to sit for certification examinations, such as the Certified Professional Secretary (CPS) or Certified Administrative Professional (CAP). You may also be able to earn specific certifications through Microsoft Office Applications.
What Is the Occupational Outlook?
In 2010, the BLS made the projection that employment opportunities for secretaries and administrative assistants would increase 11% from 2008-2018. Employment for executive secretaries and executive administrative assistants was expected to increase 13% over the same time period.
The most recent pay statistics are also from 2010. At that time, the BLS determined that the mean annual wage for secretaries and administrative assistants was $32,000. At the same time, the mean annual salary for executive secretaries and executive administrative assistants came in at $45,860.
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