How Can I Earn a Degree in Secretarial Studies?

A degree in secretarial studies will prepare you for a career as a secretary or administrative assistant. Learn about degree options, what a degree will do for you, possible coursework, specialty programs and online options. Schools offering Administrative Assistant degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Degrees Do Secretaries Earn?

If you are interested in a career as a secretary, you can consider entering a program in administrative assisting, secretarial studies or office administration. While these programs have different titles, they typically cover similar material with the aim to prepare you for a secretarial career. In any of these programs, you will learn how to use a variety of important office software programs, as well as effectively manage an office environment.

If you would like to earn a degree, the most common one that you will be able to earn is an associate's degree. If you don't want to commit to a two-year associate's program, you may want to consider a certificate or diploma program. These educational programs are generally shorter than degree programs; usually, they can last from a few semesters to a year, depending on the number of classes you take per semester.

Degree Options Diploma, certificate or associate's degree in administrative assisting, secretarial studies or office administration
Course Topics Records management, editing and proofreading, organizational behavior, business computer applications
Specialty Programs Law and medical specializations are available
Online Availability Online certificate and associate's degree programs are available
Median Annual Salary (2015) $53,370 for executive secretaries and executive administrative assistants; $43,200 for legal secretaries; $33,040 for medical secretaries; and $33,910 for all other secretaries and administrative assistants*

Source: *U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Classes Will I Take?

The classes that you take in a secretarial degree program can prepare you for a variety of tasks that you will perform daily in an office environment. The classes typically cover a range of topics and may include:

  • Business computer applications
  • Records management
  • Organizational behavior
  • Editing and proofreading

You may also take more specific classes if you are planning in specializing in certain professions, such as medical or law.

Can I Enroll in a Specialty Program?

There are degree programs that are more appropriate if you are interested in specializing in a specific area. Two professions in particular that often require specialty training are law and medical secretarial work. In a law secretary degree program, you may take specialty classes such as:

  • American government
  • Law and ethics
  • Law office management

While in a medical secretary program, some classes you may take include:

  • Medical office management
  • Medical terminology
  • Medical coding

Can I Earn My Degree Online?

Online certificate and associate's degree programs are available in general secretary training, as well as medical or law office training. Typically, online classes are identical to their on-campus counterparts. You'll need a computer and a high-speed Internet connection to access your classes. Depending on the program, you may have to provide your own office software in order to complete some of the required coursework.

How Can a Degree Help Me?

Employers are increasingly looking for secretaries with training in office procedures, software programs and equipment. If have formal training in these areas, you may put yourself at an advantage in the job market. A college degree may also make you eligible for a higher position, such as executive secretary, or a promotion. According to a 2015 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report, the median annual salary for executive secretaries and executive administrative assistants was $53,370 (www.bls.gov). Legal secretaries earned $43,200, medical secretaries earned $33,040 and general secretaries and administrative assistants earned a median of $33,910 a year.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

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  • Strayer University

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  • Capella University

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  • Grand Canyon University

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  • College of Westchester

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  • Independence University

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